Hawthorn Road shops

Memories of Hawthorn Road shops

Picture and information from Woolworths Virtual Museum

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.



  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

    • I lived with my parents John & Irene Kettley at numer 6 Westward Close, about W T baker the butchers, anybody remember them.

      • Barbara, I just picked up your post about number 6, Westward Close , only 4 years late. Yes, I delivered papers to that address. Up those really steep steps and hop over the walls until I got told off. Its ironic that the butchers, was Bakers.

    • Hi Jeff

      I have just found the Kingstanding site, your post is a couple of years old now.

      I too was a paper boy at Kirtons, “H” or ‘Arry was the proprietor / manager. He had links with Aston Villa. I believe the owner of the shop was Harry Kirton who used to play for the Villa at one time, but I never got to know if they were one and the same. This would have been between 1966 and 1969.

      Also I worked Saturdays at the Green Grocers next door, but for the life of me can’t remember it’s name, even reading “Roses” is not ringing any bells.

      Talking about bells, as soon as I read your name, a tinkling started in my brain. This was only 30 minutes ago, so plenty of time for things to fall into place.

      I also remember the “New Buses” starting, front loading doors, what a move forward, much warmer in the winter. They used to operate out of the bus garage at Wellhead Lane, Perry Barr if I remember correctly.

      • Hi Paul,

        Only a 4 months behind your comment. Did you live at 55 Hurlingham road? I think it was Harry Kirton’s dad, Billy Kirton who played for the villa. Oh happy days, getting tugged by the old Bill for riding bikes too fast down Knights Hill, Sutton.

        If you the same Paul Hayes, we used to roam all over the place. You had a really good trolly, a Moulton Standard bike, and subsequently, a Vauxhall Viva.

      • I think the greengrocers, between Latham’s drapers and Kirton’s was Clarks. I also well remember the shops in the small crescent on Warren Farm road. Browns/Days paper shop, Home and Colonial , (is that PC these day’s?)..Friends groceries, Ferguson’s veg , Betty’s, a tiny half-shop who sold nails, paraffin etc, the other half was Fred the cobbler. And kingstanding baths.
        Over the road were the local schools metalwork and motor vehicle training workshops. Next door was the dreaded clinic where many a small child was terrified by the school dentist. I can still recall the smell of the rubber mask, disinfectant and the brain-bursting mixture of Halothane and Nitrous oxide gas. In between the prefabs there was a path over the brook. In the middle was a beautiful crazy paved pattern of the Birmingham Coat of arms. Moy mom would point out the figures of the artist and blacksmith, and get me to spell out the banner “forward”. Little did I know then that i would find myself looking at that coat of arms every day, on the side of the buses, stooped down fixing brakes etc as an apprentice in Miller Street bus garage.

  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

    • Haha, I did wee myself looking in Gwynnes window. “Mom, can I…..?? The answer was predictable of course, Noooooooooo, too dear. Then, like you dragged to “joanziz” furniture shop. One day I knicked the lock off the roller shutters at the front. Well I had to have something from the trip didn’t I ? Half way down Warren Farm road, I proudly presented my find to my Mom. “Eeeeek! OMG, where did you get that from”? When I told her there was a swift about turn, back to Joanziz. I was made to hand the lock over, looking up at a man and say I was sorry. I got home a very very sullen and sobbing little boy.

    • Just read your post of 2 yrs ago. I delivered papers to 6 Westward close, up and down those really steep steps. I got told off for climbing over the walls between the yards.

      • Hi Jeff

        Blimey you have a good memory, you have me spot on, unfortunately, my brain cells are not quite so active. You certainly have stirred the old gray matter, but at the moment only going too fast on push bikes is coming up, and that vaguely.

        A private email with a bit more detail might unclog the blockage.


  11. I lived in the flat above WT Bakers the butchers the entrance being in Westward Close! Does anybody remember the sweet shop Mosely’s opposite and near to Scrivens the optitions?

  12. […] File Name : Hawthorn road shops | voices of kingstanding Source : kingstanding.wordpress.com Download : Hawthorn road shops | voices of kingstanding […]

  13. I was born and bought up in Charlton Road and remember the lower end of Hawthorn Road where the Co-op was divided into a number of different shops. Food, clothing (Where we got our Great Barr school badge and tie from- I think??), and the haberdashers where my god mother Jean Cashmore worked. Above it all was the Co-op youth club where my sister went to- I was too young to go. Further down was the Lady Bird childrens clothes shop owned by my mom’s German friend Gurder. There was the hairdressers- Richardo from Milano, a launderette and at the end was the ‘Outdoor’ where we used to go to get our dads soda siphon refilled for his whiskey. This shop latter became a joke shop

  14. Hi Paul,
    At 61, its not surprising that the grey matter is choked up; full of life’s rubbish and traumas. I have very fond memories of that time, all good lads running wild under the wide skys of Kingstanding. Yeah, we all had our scraps and squabbles as kids do, but never did and malicious or mental damage to each other, unlike some of the vicious stuff I saw when I was a copper for around 11yrs in Warwickshire police. I’m long retired from the Police but still work as a Driving Examiner for the DVSA. (Thats a laugh a minute).
    Some names might spark up the memory board: Arthur (foggy) Clayton, Tommy Perkins, Neil Parton (your cousin), Ray Turner, Malcolm Rainsford, Robin Dees, Mary Bunter (deceased). The list goes on. By all means drop me a private email jjegan@btinternet.com, I have a photo of Mr Martins class saved in docs somewhere. Happy to send it.
    I got in conversation with a few via facebook and friends reunited a few years ago.

    Well its sunday afternoon and time to pedal, yes pedal my bike down to my local in Towcester for a few beers in the garden.

    Speak again soon Paul.


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