Talk on Southwick shops opens the season

A. Isted the butchers
A. Isted the butchers

Former Herald columnist Ted Heasman, a popular and fascinating local historian, will launch the Southwick Society’s 2017 Heritage Talks season.

Southwick Shops and Shopkeepers is the subject for Ted’s illustrated talk at Southwick Community Centre, in Southwick Street, on Monday at 7.30pm.

A.E. Harris newsagent and stationers

A.E. Harris newsagent and stationers

Society secretary Nigel Divers said: “Ted is a true Wicker with a huge knowledge of local history and a fund of fascinating stories about local people and places.

“Life in Southwick has changed tremendously in the 50 years since Southwick was redeveloped and Ted will be recreating a lost world in his own inimitable style.

“The talk will be illustrated with many historic pictures from Ted’s superb collection. I have no doubt that this talk will be absolutely fascinating for everybody interested in Southwick’s history and heritage.”

Until the redevelopment of the 1960s and the building of Southwick Square, most of Southwick’s shops were in Albion Street and Grange Road.

Harrison Cash Stores

Harrison Cash Stores

They were mainly run by people from the town and many had a history going back nearly a century.

This first Southwick shopping centre was established in the 19th century and until the early 1960s, provided for residents’ everyday needs, with butchers and bakers, dairies, banks, clothing shops, grocers, chemists, barbers and ships chandlers, printers and toy shops, shoe makers and fishmongers, greengrocers and photographers.

Most people did not need to leave the town to shop and many of the shopkeepers were real characters.

Those of a certain age will remember George Waller’s hardware, tool and paint shop by the railway arch in Grange Road. Opposite, Bill Bennett ran a wet fish shop with his sister Mabel.

Just down the road, customers could buy clothes and shoes in the Southwick and District Trading Company run by the Guest family.

Next door was Ken Johnstone’s tiny television shop. He had opened it on leaving the RAF and the business grew as more and more people bought the ‘new-fangled’ screens.

Then there was Waters Stores, established as a grocer’s shop and doing a lot of business supplying the many ships which then berthed at the wharves in Southwick.

Before the Great War, Mr and Mrs Cabot ran the Post Office and did a nice sideline in selling china. Mr Cabot was said to be descended from the 16th century explorer John Cabot.

The talk is open to all. Admission is £4, or £2 for members of the Southwick Society.

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