News, events and discoveries of the Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars history project.
“I think I could tell you every shop that was on South Road in the 1960s as we used to walk up and down that road many a Saturday afternoon just looking in the shops. There was never any need to go into town as Walkley had everything.”
Walkley’s South Road, Burgoyne Road and Walkley Street, as well as the corners of almost every other road, provided all the shops and services for Walkley residents prior to the spread of the big supermarkets from the 1980s onwards.
The suburb’s shops, cafes, ice cream parlours and off licences are warmly thought of by people living here before the 1990s. Mention of any particular shop can spark a conversation that links individuals through remembered moments that help to define living in Walkley. Most of these shops were independent family businesses and, between them, catered for everyone’s needs so that residents rarely had to venture further afield whether they wanted groceries, meat, drinks, ice creams, clothes, shoes, haberdashery or hardware – the list goes on and on.
“Joyce [Blount] used to keep a vast array of chocolate & sweets and she used to ice & decorate loads of chocolate eggs at Easter, she also used to do sandwiches & tea for the bus drivers & conductors during their breaks at Walkley terminus, there was a bench in the shop where they used to sit & chat.”
We will rediscover Walkley’s past as a shopping centre where families supplied their households, children bought treats and people found employment. From individual remembered events, trade directories and photographs we will find out the types of shops and the range of goods bought and sold, and how people went about shopping before cars, supermarkets and out of town shopping centres changed the ways we do things. We will also build a bigger picture of the ways shops and cafes were fundamental to how people socialised with each other while going about their daily business, and how Walkley’s community was defined through the geography of its streets and buildings.
“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 Sundays).”
With the resurgence in local shops and produce, this is seems an appropriate time to look back with an eye to the future.
If you have any memories, photographs or documents you would like to share to help tell this people’s history of Walkley please use the contact form to get in touch.
Please also get in touch if you would like to be involved in local and oral history research.