Walkley History

News, events and discoveries of the Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars history project.



Inside Scholey’s ‘top shop’

Audrey Buxton talks about Scholey’s, a very popular shop on Burgoyne Road, then writes in more detail about this  three-part ‘department’ store at 154-158, Burgoyne Road was a haberdasherer, furniture and clothing store, and pawnbroker.

[audio http://audioboo.fm/boos/1472960-popular-scholeys-shop.mp3] Audio player for devices which don’t play Flash, such as iPad.

Q What about shopping, where did you do your shopping ?

Well, we used to shop local because we had a corner shop bang opposite, Harold Street was like split in the middle with Hardy Street which joined on to Otley Street so it was like an ‘H’  formation  with the three streets, and there was this little corner shop which was a beer-off, and we used to shop there for the odd little bits. For the main groceries Burgoyne Road, which ran at right angles at the bottom of Harold Street and  they’d got a really, really good selection of shops.  There was a greengrocers on one corner of Harold Street, a little wool shop on the other corner, and then there was two butchers, a tripe shop, a Post Office, there was even a little specialist tobacconist shop in Burgoyne Road in the 50’s, in the early 50’s, and of course the main shop was Scholey’s.  Well everybody knew Scholey’s because it was more or less a big general store.  It had got three great big plate glass display windows, the top one used to be set out with furniture, they sold quite a bit of furniture, the middle one which was the main entrance was like clothes and underwear and stuff like that and the bottom shop, which was what it was known for in the area, was a pawnbrokers.  And that, before the area was re-developed, I think it was the last pawnbrokers in Sheffield, I think it’s now been revived but it was the very last. And he also used to run, it was run by a family, the Scholey family.  Harry Scholey who owned it.

Q Was it a local family?

Well, his sisters who used to serve in the shop were, they lived in Hoole Street, he lived in Langsett Avenue ‘cos he made his… he made his money in pawn broking and he was a bit posh. I mean in the 50’s and 60’s it did change, the pawn broking business.  In the early days my great grandfather used to go to Scholey’s to pawn his waistcoat, he used to get thre’pence (3d) for it.

Q Didn’t they used to do that on a Monday and get it out on a Friday for the weekend?

That’s right. But in the 50’s when my mom worked at Scholey’s, the pawn broking business then, it had gone more up market, it was more jewellery, rings, cameras, watches, that kind of thing but it’s actually how he made his money.  When he died, I think it was probably the early 60’s when he died, I’m not quite sure about the date, but they published his will in the paper and he left £1/4 million, he left a lot, a lot, even now that’s a lot of money.

Scholey's will

Scholey’s will in the local news

Audrey Buxton, interviewed by Julie Clarke on 15th January 2013.

Audrey writes in more detail about Scholey’s.

This shop was the largest of a group of roughly 14 premises

It was a huge 3 storey 3-Windowed  Frontage Store selling a range of goods and providing a pawnbroking service from about 1910 until its closure and demolition sometime in the 1970s.

It was owned and run by Harry Scholey together with his 2 spinster sisters Hilda and Winnie.

In the 1950s it was very much the hub of the community selling just about everything but food.

As well as family members working there they also employed several assistants including my Mum who worked there for nearly 25 years.

Being built on a slope there were 3 distinct shops in one being linked by  a series of steps and slopes but the main shopping business was conducted in the “middle shop”.

It was like being in a time warp with no concessions to a changing modernising world. The whole downstairs area was floored with thick plain brown lino. Along the back wall were floor to ceiling cupboards and deep drawers all painted dark brown with a wooden step ladder at the side to access them all. The top cupboards held dresses, suits, coats  of all sizes whilst the drawers held shirts caps underwear including a vast range of women’s corsets invariably in white or salmon pink sateen heavily boned  and in a vast range of sizes.

The shop’s counter and till were opposite again heavy solid wood a glass panel underneath allowed customers to see the slip out drawers which held a range of haberdashery items and smaller goods like gloves scarves hankies stockings purses, etc.

At each end of the counter was a bentwood chair for customers to sit and wait their turn to be served  The waiting time to be served varied but at a guess was never much shorter than 1/2 hour a very long time at seven years old! It was also freezing the only form of heating for the entire shop was a metal cylindrical heater with a mesh over the top, the source of heating being a light bulb!

Standing in a corner of the shop in front of the wooden screen separating the window display from the shop proper was a wooden full sized women’s model. It was a flat piece of wood with a woman’s face painted on it in black paint. It stood upright like an easel and always had displayed on it  ladies pinafores of the functional variety either plain or checked in heavy duty cotton.

The “top shop” was the showroom for all the heavy furniture and carpets, above this on the next floor were smaller items of furniture drop leaf tables dining chairs wicker basket chairs mirrors bedding cushions, etc.

The photo above shows this part of the shop.

The shop assistant was Winnie Sedgwick serving a customer with what looks like net curtains. You can just make out the measuring stick that was used for measuring the lengths of curtain was a polished wooden rod graduated in inches and was a yard long each end capped in brass.

All the assistants had the same overall of Brown nylon except Mr Scholey who always had a long Grey overall.

The middle upstairs room was mostly more clothing but of a more serviceable nature. Men’s work trousers ladies cotton day dresses  jumpers  cardigans and  handbags and a full range of bedding

The attic rooms were not accessed by the customers and just before the store closed Mum and the other assistants began to clear them out. It was full of obsolete electrical items like bar heaters that were wired with the old round pin 15amp plugs and mountains of tinned goods like condensed milk tinned fruit, etc. that Hilda had hoarded since the outbreak of WW2.

Without doubt the pawnbroking business is what made Harry Scholey the businessman he was. Below is a copy of his will taken from The Star

The pawnbroking side began in the early 20th century with mostly the very poor taking in mainly suits this was usually conducted on a Monday for a few pence and redeemed on Friday when the men were paid and so they could go out to the pub, usually The Bath, at the weekend.

The customers who used this service did so with reluctance and shame My father remembered taking his Grandfathers waistcoat to Scholeys but not before it had been wrapped in newspaper and pushed under his coat. This was to prevent the neighbours knowing he was going to the Pawnbrokers even though the same neighbours were doing exactly the same. A waistcoat brought in the princely sum of 3d.

After the war and certainly in the 60s Pawnbroking became more acceptable and respectable the goods offered for loans changing dramatically with the likes of jewellery cameras medals etc. and instead of it being a local service customers came from all over Sheffield as the demise of other Pawnbrokers had started.


About Bill Bevan

Bill Bevan is an archaeologist, writer, photographer and heritage interpreter.

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This entry was posted on June 28, 2013 by in 1960s 1970s Life, Uncategorized.
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