Hawthorn Road shops

Memories of Hawthorn Road shops

Picture and information from Woolworths Virtual Museum

virtual.museum@woolworthsmuseum.co.uk
Woolworths Hawthorne Road

Woolworths Hawthorne Road. Source Paul Seaton

The self-service salesfloor at Woolworth’s 232-234 Hawthorn Road, Kingstanding, Birmingham 44, which opened on 28 October 1955

At the time it opened Woolworth was divided into four administrative regions, one of which was called ‘Birmingham District’ and was based in King Street, Dudley.  When they were looking for new locations they stayed close to home, building the chain to over fifty stores with Birmingham postcodes. The other Districts created the same saturation levels in London (two Districts based there) and Liverpool. The three cities accounted for over a quarter of the first 1,000 Woolworth stores in Britain and Ireland, and were later decimated when the business was taken over in 1982. The flagship branches in the Bull Ring and New Street, which were freeholds, were summarily sold and more than half of the suburban stores in Birmingham faced a similar fate. Intriguingly as the shutters came down elsewhere, the new owners modernised the Kingstanding store, reopening it with a new look on 19 May 1983. It was used as a test bed for many of their new ideas about how to revitalise the chain, after a computer model highlighted it as a ‘totally typical suburban store’.
The District was highly resistant to instructions from Head Office that they had to introduce Self-Service at Kingstanding; executives gathered and shared lots of feedback from shoppers saying they didn’t like it and were frustrated that they couldn’t buy some things stocked in every other branch (for example Pic’n’Mix) and missed the personal service at each counter that Woolworth offered in all the neighbouring stores. It was the first branch in the Midlands to operate the self-service principle. Ten years after it opened the brand new rebuilt superstores in the Bull Ring and in New Street were still designed to operate the old-fashioned personal service model. It seemed company bosses had learnt nothing from the experiment in Kingstanding, despite its above average sales per foot and a much higher net profit as a result of the lower labour cost.

Memories of Paul Hillcox

Photograph of Ken Hillcox at Tranters

Tranters ca 1960′s

Hawthorn Road shops in 1957. Copyright Paul

Memories of Alan Hitchman

I saved my paper round money and bought a red “Norman Invader” bicycle from Allens Cycle shop on the Hawthorn road around 1950, it was my pride and Joy.

Memories of David Mitchell

Shops during the 1960′s

Memories of Dennis

Yes there was a bakery, Wimbush’s next to Harris the cleaners, on the corner of Warren Farm Rd & Hawthorne Rd The Greengrocer was Roses next to Lathams a haberdashery shop on the corner of Hawthorne & Dyas Rd.

Memories of Peter Walker

I don’t remember all those shops in Hawthorn Road, but I do remember going into Peacocks just over 62 years ago, on 7 May, after we were let out early from school, and buying two Union Jack flags. Next day they were flying to celebrate VE Day.

Memories of Lynne Hart

Spent my life on Hawthorn (without an E) Road.  We lived at 160 which we have recently sold as my Father died last year (Ken Butler should anyone know him!).  The shops – Boots on the top corner, Wimbush, Wrensons, Littlewoods, Foster Menswear…. Fond memories of a sweet shop called The Cabin, Williams the Furniture shop (where else!), W J Taylor (with the record booth at the back), Leavers the ladies dress shop (which I could only afford in the sale), Miles the pet shop (still there), the Newbys at the Post Office, and in particular, Gwynnes the toy shop.

Memories of GG Jean

Rochells the butchers.  The mom and dad used to live up our road and the daughter opposite them.  They used to sell cows udder by the lb and it sold like hot cakes.  They had another family shop on the Kingstandin road   just down from Dyas road and my neice Helen [sky blue] worked there for a while.  I think she left after a compulsary visit to the abotoir.

Memory of Brumdelv

My grandparents lived in Hawthorn Road and my mother remembers going into the Anderson shelter during the war. She left school at 12 when the building was taken over for use by the forces. Her brother had a ladies and childrens clothes shop in the road also.

Memories of Morice Sellars

Hawthorn road I have seen no mention of the bike shop next door to Mattys and also who could forget the aroma that you got when you went into Corkings the hardware shop. Across the road from this shop lived the local midwife Nurse Cook, I was told by my mother that she delivered me in 1937, she also delivered my son in 1959 are there any records of how many babies she delivered and how many Tours de Kingstanding, Erdington and Great Barr did she do on her trusty bicycle from 1937 till she retired.Further along Hawtorn road backing onto Warren Hill road where Dr Massey the police surgeon lived was a shop that housed the Y W C A before it moved to Perry Common in the late 1950s. Some the members I remember were the Prince twins Ron and Charlie, Grace Guy, Maureen Bowen, Cliff ?, Jeff Smith (like myself now living in Australia) not to forget Pat Stanton who I married in 1958. The club mistress was a scottish lady Jo Cunningham.

Memories of Norma Grove

The whole of my childhood was spent in Kingstanding. I have never forgotten the cold winds that blow across Hawthorn Road in the winter the older family members used to say K/s was on a level with Russia in height and that was what caused them I have some other things you might like to know  if so write again and I will put them on for you. norma graves.

Responses

  1. I remember Hawthorne Rd it used to be the monkey run shops not mentioned was Toys the sweet shop , Tranters the jewellers.Reynolds the Gents outfits, Taylors t/v & radio, Phelps Taxi’s, there a Bike shop, a Pet shop, Broadbents the bakery, Matty’s T/V Hardware shop Gourkins ?

  2. I remember a home made pie shop opening ,not long after war finished,between Boots and Octogan library.Meat pies straight from oven were 8d and jam puffs as we called them at the time were 2d.Was at Cranbourne Rd.school with a lad whos parents ran the seed shop and the wife and myself bought our first furniture from Jones’s after we were married in the 1950s.also had to walk down Hawthorn Rd.en route to the Crossways so have a few happy memories of it.

  3. Hi standing85, I,m new to the laptop (a lovely Xmas present) but now living up north I am glad of any memories from Kingstanding. I was born in Twickenham Road 1933, at Dulwich Road school 1944/48, married at Trinity Road Church 1953, not to the boyfriend John Mason who lived at 63 Hawthorn Road but to a lovely Geordie lad I met at a party in Atlantic Road on Boxing Day 195O. Sadly I lost my lovely husband 15 years ago but I do still his wardrobe (I think they call them tallboys) we bought together from Jones the furniture shop on Hawthorn, had to part with the dressing table and other wardrobe when we had to move to somewhere suitable for his wheelchair (we had 47 great years together)..Would love to hear more from all of you voices of Kingstanding. I was Shirley Bartram|

  4. Just a little bit more – I would love Norma Graves to tell us more – I had great friends Ron Graves who lived in Aylesbury Grove (he had a sister Ann) any relation. Bye again – Shirley.

  5. [...] you recall Tranters on Hawthorn Road. If you do then please Read more… Inside Tranters ca 1960′s Like this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  6. I have posted elsewhere that I was born and bred in Peckham Road 1936 -early 1960`s left when my dad died., and went to Peckham road school, now called Kings Rise, so I understand.

    I had the choice of either the 29 bus from the Circle or the 33 from Finchley Road, sometimes had to change buses on the Hawthorn Road. and also travelled up to Hawthorn Road to get to the Perry Common Library, walking again…
    I worked at Jones Furnishers, owned by GUS as I recall from early 1960`s.

  7. I have fond memories of Hawthorn Road, i certainly remember Taylors Electrical store, think i spent most of my teenage years in there buying records off a guy name Philip !! happy days

  8. My most lasting memory of the Hawthorn Rd shopping area is of the Static Water Tank that stood on the corner Kingstanding / Dyas Rd it must have been about 6/7 feet high and probably 10 yds diameter goodness knows what was found in it when it was emptied and dismantled.?

    I suppose the Dispensary is still there at the top of Dyas Rd ? I remember being taken there by my mum, it had long benches like being in church a nurse would call you when it was your turn. I think you payed 5/- to see a Doctor that was before the NHS.

    Like someone has said Lathams was on the corner, and a Greengrocer
    Roses? then the paper shop Kirtons, Rochelles the butcher, I went to school with Johnny Rochelle.
    The only other shop along that stretch that I remember was a barbers shop, there was only one barber Mr Fisher, My memory of the barber shop was that of “singeing” the playing of a lighted taper over the cut ends of hair to seal them and so prevent colds ? what a terrible smell. Doesn’t happen today.

    After the shops the first house was the surgery of Doctor Reeves

    Where the 33 bus stopped was a sweet shop I new as the “Bon Bon”
    opposite was Foster Bros the gents outfitters alas no more
    Round the corner was an Opticians Scrivens I think and there was ” Douro Wines and Spirits”
    Over the road was “The Octogon” library and “Peacocks” department store, quite a parade of shops, on the corner with Stowell Rd was a furniture shop and seed merchants the rest is lost in time

    Moving towards Crossways and opposite Warren Rd there was Co-op ladies and Gents outfitters and shoe shops and further down on the other side in the first bungalow was a dentist Mr Renwick
    All that was 70 years ago

  9. I remember the wicked winter winds. That junction of Hawthorn, Dyas, Kingstanding and Warren Farm roads, was a bleak place on cold wet mornings.
    I had a paper round at Harry Kirton’s shop covering Westward close, Hawthorn road, Charlton and Dulwich roads. Bitter cold starry mornings, old buses on the 25 and 34 rush hour routes and newer buses on the 28 and
    33

  10. Lynn Hart.
    You need to know i nearly wee’d myself outside Gwinnes toy shop looking at toy red buses and rows of dinky cars. My mom dragging me off to jones furniture shop then to corkings where a was still craning my neck around the corner back to Gwynnes. Miles pet shop


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