News, events and discoveries of the Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars history project.
From 1968/9 to 1975 my father George Barks (helped by my mum Hannah) ran the off-licence on the corner of Howard Road and Fulton Road. In those days supermarkets were still few and small, and the off-licence acted as a general store for many locals. It was open from 7am to 10pm (closed for two hours in the afternoon monday to saturday and 5 hours on suundays).
It sold bottled beers, spirits (not much call for wine in those days!) and returnable soda syphons (not for pop but serious spirit drinkers). It also pops (including real dandelion and burdock) in glass bottles with a deposit on them. Stones beer was on hand pump and locals would bring in all sorts and shapes of containers to get whatever volume they wanted.
It sold general canned goods and cheese and ham sliced to your size requirements and potted meat scooped out of a big dish. Also milk, dried goods and chocolates and the Star at night and sunday papers (not delivered).
We never closed … were open 365 days a week including a few hours in the morning on Christmas day for last minute needs. I remember seeing my dad serve and try to cut ham by hand in candlelight during the powercuts in the early seventies.
It was a real community shop with lots of people just chatting in the shop and using our telephone for emergencies.
We had an upstairs bathroom but only an outside toilet! And real coal fires – so there were two cellars with outside pavement access – one for coal and one for barrels of beer. We also had one of those wooden clothes drying racks on ropes in the kitchen which could be lowered and raised.
I was there form age 7 to 14. I went to Western Road Junior School, which then was renamed Westways Junior School, and then was given a place at King Edward VII school as part of the then council’s policy to mix up intake in the newly comprehensified schools.
This is the same off-licence Margaret Dwyer remembers from the 1940s – Sweets for Lent.
If anyone else has memories of the off licence on the corner of Fulton Road and Howard Road, please post them in the comments or contact us via our Contact Page. Please also get in touch if you have any photos.