Hinckley Liberal Club
Ron & Margery Milton
Down in the Borough and at the bottom of Stockwell Head, all round that area, there were little shops, well they’ve all gone long since. Little shops that we enjoyed going to. Along Regent Street there were individual shops. There’s a jitty up to Trinity Church and there was a little shop at the bottom there, Well’s shop, little sweet and general shop. That’s where ‘Bindy’ Wilber used to sit selling his newspapers. He lived up Hill Street and if you went in his house it was stacked out with newspapers…and all his money was under his mattresses – he reckoned he’d got no money but if anyone of any importance went in the house he’d make sure he was there.
Clarendon Road, Hinckley
The Co-op in Hill Street and then later the Co-op in Clarendon Road, which was built in 1923, there was a butchers there and the lad from the butchers used to come and get your order. At that time bread was delivered by horse and cart, milk was horse and cart, not in bottles, you’d have a basin for them to put the milk in. Used to come twice a day morning and evening ‘cos there were no fridges in those days. You’d got greengrocery rounds so I mean you didn’t always have to go up the street to get your food. Fish-men came round once a week, and the
tripe-man…that was quite an event, you’d go out with your jug and get your tripe with all the gravy, that was lovely. I can remember the scissors sharpening man with his pedal thing to make the wheel go round.
I remember having to follow the horse carts round, having to scoop up what they left behind – the manure for the gardens…I used to enjoy doing that, honestly!
In Regent Street, as you turn for Coventry, there used to be droves of horses all round there and a little way up Coventry Road to the Boot Inn. I can remember when I used to get up at six o’clock, sit on the railings where The Ritz is now in Regent Street, I’d sit there and watch all these horses all coming down. There used to be droves of them in rings, 20 or 30 to a ring and these here drovers used to go in amongst them if a buyer wanted one, he’d point it out to him, which one he wanted to see run up the street, and they used to run them up Regent Street and another fellow would be at the back with a flag, you know, flapping the flag, making it go. Not hitting it…he’d got it on a lasso sort of thing round its neck. It used to amaze me how they used to go amongst these droves and right in the middle to fetch out the horse what they wanted. That’s where the Horsefair started.
The streets were more or less slabbed, not so much tarmacked…a lot of them were cobbled. Along Regent Street there used to be so many slabs and then cobbles to the curb. There used to be trees along Regent Street. (see photo in ‘And Finally) Since then it’s altered a lot, Hinckley has. There weren’t so many buildings thatched. All I can remember is those thatched cottages up Church Walk. There were some others but I can’t remember where.
Before the war we didn’t go in pubs much. Pubs in our time weren’t like these. All the old men used to go in the tap room – with spittoons you know – and men didn’t want women in the bar because they wanted to do as they like, use bad language, and play games and we were a nuisance you see. Women used to go in the best room, called the lounge now.