14/02/2010

Old Grays shops recalled at Thameside exhibition

Posted in Local History at 11:06 pm by henrysgauntlet

If you are around Grays town centre in the coming week do call in at the Thameside Complex and have a look at the Exhibition now on in the foyer.   Entitled “Fond memories of Grays High Street”, it covers the history of shops, shopkeepers and businesses from 1900 to the 1970s.  

Museum Officer, Jonathan Catton, has put together a mix of photographs, advertisements and even some paper bags from the shops, and then there is a powerpoint display of various parts of the High Street “then” and “now”.   People have already shared their memories of the shops, and some of them are highlighted in the display.

When the writer was there, there was a group of about ten people who were chatting happily away together, all anxious to recall their memories of the old shops.

It occurred to the writer how marvellous it would be if owners/managers or their children from the old family businesses, now sadly all gone, could get together and record as many details as possible about those old businesses.

For example, in the 1950s and early 1960s, the Convent of La Sainte Union de Sacre Coeur, in those days an independent school for girls from 4 to 18, and boys from 4 to 8, numbered amongst its pupils the daughters, and a couple of sons, from Westwood the tailors, Jordan the chemist, Munt the butcher, Harris the coach company, Gurnett the jewellers, Simons from the Wharf Hotel, Crouchman the hardware shop, Burney the ladies dress shop, Walsham the builders, Eve’s the ladies and children’s dress shops, Baird the bakers, Wisbey the scrap metal merchant, Euin Steele the optician, and more.

The exhibition is really well worth a visit, and it is understood that it could be taken round to, for example, pensioners’ clubs where no doubt many more memories would be jogged.

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