Shopping Memories of Gainsborough

Our Coffee, Cake and Reminiscence morning at Gainsborough Library was well attended with lots of senior citizens who were more than happy to share their memories prompted by a wealth of historic photographs provided by the library, the heritage centre and several kind individuals.

We were also delighted to welcome Andrew Birkitt and Paul Kemp representing the Heritage Centre and shedding light on many of the images on show.

Our contributors for the reminiscences were a little shy of the cameras and oral recording equipment so we kept it to a lovely chat over coffee and cake, which has been transcribed for you he

The image below is the corner of the marketplace occupied by the site for the new Savoy Cinema it dates from the early 20th century and none of these buildings exist now.  From left to right we see Waterloo House, Hind’s the bakers, Salter & Salter, J M Inskip’s china shop and The Black Head Hotel.

‘I remember Hinds the bakers very well. (between Waterloo House and Salter and Salter).  Mrs Hinds always had beautiful cakes on display in the window at Christmas time.’

‘I got married in 1960 and we bought all our pots from Inskip’s.’ 

Jenny Hall, aged 85

This image shows us the Gaumont cinema which stood in the corner next to Hind’s the bakers a little later.

‘ When I was 7 or 8 years old I would spend every Saturday at the Gaumont Cinema junior club watching cowboy films like the Lone Ranger. 

If it was your birthday, they would get you up on stage and all sing happy birthday.  It was great. 

We would go into Hinds bakery afterwards and get a little mini Hovis loaf, fresh baked for a penny.

Rodney Jarman sharing his fond memories of Saturday mornings spent at the Gaumont Cinema and Hinds Bakery.

This is Constance Kirk’s tobacconist shop at 7 Market Place (currently one half of The Fabric Place). The image dates from the 1930s.

‘I remember Connie Kirk, she was a friend of my mother and was an excellent competitive swimmer, She was extremely slim.  She was always very kind to me.’

Jenny Hall, aged 85

The photo below shows Connie’s shop a few years later between Clark’s Dry Cleaners and Bomers Department Store.  Hind’s Bakers is still there, with the Gaumont cinema just visible in the corner.  To the far right is the Black Head Hotel.

‘Bomer’s was where my parents always bought my school uniform.’

Jenny Hall, aged 85

This photograph/postcard was kindly shared by Jane Littlewood from her family memorabilia. It looks from Market Street towards Lord Street in the early 20th century.

It brought back early childhood memories of the wartime bombing for Jenny Hall.

‘As a child I saw the plane that dropped bombs on Market Street in the war.  It was only 200 yards away and flying so low … then it dropped all its bombs.  My father took me the next day to see the devastation it had caused.’

This image shows Silver Street shops on the right hand side as you look towards the Market Place.  It dates to the beginning of the 20th century.

‘I remember Steven’s really well as I got my comics from there.  I got Eagle and The Girl.

Jenny Hall, aged 85

Jane Littlewood has fond memories of working at Fine Fare as a Saturday girl.

‘I remember Fine Fare as a lovely place to work when I began there as a Saturday girl at the age of 15. There were about 4 of us employed as Saturday girls and we weren’t old enough to operate the till, so we filled the shelves and helped people with their bags.  It was always nice and warm. Other youngsters worked on the market stalls as their Saturday job, or did paper rounds so they were very cold for some of the year.

I especially loved it when we got our wages and we would go next door to treat ourselves to a cream cake.  It was my first taste of independence.’

In this photo we can see a view into Silver Street from the Market Place.  To the centre right is the corner shop with its awning down and a horse and cart in front.  This is Public Benefit Boot Company, which was run from this location for over 50 years.

Edna Davies remembers working in one of Gainsborough’s four shoe shops in the 1950s.

‘ I worked in Blindell’s which was a company with lots of branches in this area.  They are now called Shoezone.  Altogether I remember there being 4 shoe shops in town, the others were Easyfit (opposite Lloyds Bank), Benefit ( in the premises shown in this photo), Freeman, Hardy &Willis who were on Market Street (currently the Meat Store, which still has the F, H & W mosaic pavement in its doorway).

This final photo/postcard was kindly shared by Jane Littlewood.  It shows Trinity Street at the beginning of the 20th century.

This prompted Edna and her friends to remember how back in the 1950s there were so many shops in areas such as Trinity Street and Bridge Street that it wasn’t even necessary to come right into the centre of town very often, and when you did come into town your mother always ensured that you were all turned out in your best clothes!

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