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The corner shop heroes of yesterday

PUBLISHED: 11:27 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:27 30 March 2020

Staff gather outside the L L Sansom fruiterer and florist shop in Beresford Road, Lowestoft in 1966
Sansom’s florist was established in 1946 by Rose Sansom at 9a Beresford Road. It moved 1969/70 to 6 Milton Road where it remained, despite changes of ownership, until last year

For Turning Back the Clock

Staff gather outside the L L Sansom fruiterer and florist shop in Beresford Road, Lowestoft in 1966 Sansom’s florist was established in 1946 by Rose Sansom at 9a Beresford Road. It moved 1969/70 to 6 Milton Road where it remained, despite changes of ownership, until last year For Turning Back the Clock

Archant

There was an art in standing outside your shop to have a picture taken in days of old.

Adcocks in Watton are celebrating their 101st Anniversary - A photo Ernest Adcock outside his shop in 1912. Picture: Matthew Usher.Adcocks in Watton are celebrating their 101st Anniversary - A photo Ernest Adcock outside his shop in 1912. Picture: Matthew Usher.

These men and women were more than shopkeepers. They were friends and they would go out of their way to help customers.

In these tough and challenging days we see queues of shoppers waiting to get into supermarkets and clear the shelves. People are worried. Life has been turned on its head.

But there are positive stories of people keeping an eye on each other and remember, not all elderly people have the internet.

Within their lifetime the way we live our lives has changed beyond all recognition – and so many of the corner shops, even if they weren’t on corners, have disappeared.

Mr Jack Shorten, soon to retire from his grocers shop in Amphill Street, is seen here with a tradesmens bike that is 50 years old. It is still used by the last of his errand boys.     pic taken March 1976     c11882   to be used in the edp 9th Feb 2009Mr Jack Shorten, soon to retire from his grocers shop in Amphill Street, is seen here with a tradesmens bike that is 50 years old. It is still used by the last of his errand boys. pic taken March 1976 c11882 to be used in the edp 9th Feb 2009

As the supermarkets opened people turned their backs on them. They couldn’t compete.

Take a walk down our streets in the city and in the towns and villages and you would have seen shops selling your everyday needs… and more.

The shopkeepers were proud of their establishments and their window displays were often works of art.

They were a statement. And what a better way to tempt you to step inside.

Ready for the off ? when motors replaced the horses at Cossey?s famous bakery in Norwich. Picture: Archant library.Ready for the off ? when motors replaced the horses at Cossey?s famous bakery in Norwich. Picture: Archant library.

While milk, bread, groceries, papers, post and the rest were delivered to our door the chances were there was a shop “down the road” run by friends.

They were people we treated with great respect and they played a leading role in community life.

And to have their photograph taken standing outside their premises they were so proud of was a great honour.

These pictures would have appeared in our papers over the years. Others were turned into post cards and sent all over this country and across the world.

Transport -- Horse Drawn / Norwich --  Streets -- S

A horse and cart belonging to S Nichols, general dealer and carter stands outside the Chocolate Shop on the corner of Silver Road, Norwich

Used in the Evening News Transport -- Horse Drawn / Norwich -- Streets -- S A horse and cart belonging to S Nichols, general dealer and carter stands outside the Chocolate Shop on the corner of Silver Road, Norwich Used in the Evening News "Do You Remember" 25 May 2004, Page 8 Dated -- Not Known Photograph -- c9972

Many of the shopkeepers were “celebrities” before the word was invented. Well, almost!

We had some wonderful photographers who would head out on their bikes to take pictures and return the next week to sell well.

One of the best was Tom Nokes (1869-1943). We will look at his wonderful work in weeks to come.

Staff outside Charles Dennis butchers, in Station Road in the late 1800s. Photo: Sheringham MuseumStaff outside Charles Dennis butchers, in Station Road in the late 1800s. Photo: Sheringham Museum

Thank you so much for all your response to our stories in recent weeks. That’s what makes our job so interesting – hearing from YOU our readers and our friends.

I really appreciated all your calls and emails to tell us it was actress Sheila Burnette who was in the picture with dear old Sid James and Leslie Crowther at Great Yarmouth which we used last week.

The photograph was taken at a carnival parade called Ride with the Stars, more to come on that later.

We will also be meeting the team who worked at the cinema in Norwich like no other.

Postmaster Henry Durrant and his wife with one of their children outside the shop in 1910. Picture: SUBMITTEDPostmaster Henry Durrant and his wife with one of their children outside the shop in 1910. Picture: SUBMITTED

In the meantime let us know if you have memories of your favourite corner shop.

You may also want to watch:

And please, keep an eye on each other during these difficult times.


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