Always on the look out for any “Local History Books” especially related to the Spen Valley, I came across this book on a general search for “Heckmondwike”, I had no knowledge of it’s existence prior to the search.
This book is a collection of memories of growing up in the Spen Valley (Cornmill Lane) in the 1930’s. I started reading it and read it in one sitting, not because it is short (158 pages) but because it is well written and fascinating.
My interest was heightened by the fact that she lived only a few hundred yards from my shop and home, less than 100 yards from where my mother was born (in 1919). She also went to the same junior school (Millbridge) and secondary school (Heckmondwike Grammar). I could recognise all the places she was referring to. Even without the local connections the book is a great read, I don’t know why I had not come across it previously as it was published in 1996. It was published by a Welsh Publisher and printed in Derbyshire.
I was more than pleased to find her description of a visit to my shop (in it’s original form that is).
A visit to the Berry Hill Co-op Branch (now “Not in Heckmondwike Book Shop”) in the 1930’s, as described by Mavis Roberts in her book “ Call Back Yesterday”
Inside the store were huge keg-shaped blocks of butter, lard and cheese, all open to the air and enough to give present day hygienists a collective heart attack. From these, the assistants would cut the required amount and wrap it in grease proof paper. They did not go to the lengths of slapping the butter into shape, as did the manager of the Maypole Store.
There was a stack of faded-blue paper bags, into which sugar, loose tea and dried fruits were weighed out. There were also huge sides of bacon to be sliced to the customer’s preferred thickness, on the lethal, red bacon-slicer with its rotating blade. Biscuits were also sold loose from large, square tins with glass windows on the lids, so the contents were easily identified.