The local streets

Refer to North Ormesby Houses & Market map.

Opposite the Market Place, on the corner of High Street and Charles Street, was Alecks the greengrocer. Next door was ‘The Starving Barber’ where Tommy and I had to go for an ‘all off’. The shop next door was Bob’s Haberdashery. He sold an odd assortment toys and bric-a-brac, including lead soldiers, dinky toys and matchbox cars. We never failed to stop to wistfully search the window for items to be included in our Christmas requests.

Dad had severe bronchial asthma and survived on a regular intake of pure ephedrine tablets. Tommy, Coral or I were often sent to the Co-op chemist to pick up his weekly prescription. We were well known to the chemist and were never refused the small phial of the precious tablets.

Most of the weekly shop was done at Grayson’s, the corner shop. Everything was ‘on tick’ until pay day. Butter came in a barrel and was sliced and weighed into greaseproof paper. Candies, biscuits and sugar were bought loose by the ounce. Our favourite sweets were dolly mixtures or a stick of ‘Spanish’ (liquorice)1. Dry sticks of untreated liquorice twigs could also be purchased, which were chewed and the juice sucked out.

Skeets McDonald – ‘Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes’  1953
Don’t let the stars get in your eyes
Don’t let the moon break your heart
Love blooms at night
In daylight it dies
Don’t let the stars get in your eyes
Or keep your heart from me
For some day I’ll return
And you know you’re the only one I’ll ever love

Across the road was the Co-operative Store or the Co-op as it was more commonly known. On the corner of Alfred Street, opposite the church, stood the Albion Pub. After the war the Albion was re-named The Green Howard by the new publican, Stan Hollis. He was the only Briton to be awarded a Victoria Cross (VC) for acts on D-Day. The Green Howards were the local Yorkshire infantry regiment.

The Holy Trinity Church of England was still there. At least the clock tower was familiar. The rest of the church had been re-built, courtesy of  two small boys who  in 1977 started a fire that consumed most of the original structure. The Crown and Mitre on James Street looked pretty much the same. I was surprised to see that Harrison Street still existed, at least by name.

Smelly Layton lived on the corner. He was in my class at school. His real name was Frank, but all the kids called him Smelly. Thinking back, he probably wet the bed like I did but wore the same clothes to school. Other kids used to touch  him and ‘infect’ others. I never taunted him, but I’m still guilty of standing back. However, I was pretty small then and had to contend with my own personal bullies.

Further along the street, past the ghosts of Aunty Myra and Aunty Vangie, is the spot where I spent a great chunk of my early years in Grandma’s house, next door but one to the school. I attended Derwent Street Primary school Infants, situated on the corner of Harrison Street, so I was pleased to see it still standing, serving the community as a library and Community Hub.

Next: Derwent Street School 1946-1947

Previous: The ticket man

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-1661,00.html