The changing face of Barkingside - Part Two

Barkingside High Street as you'll find it in 2019. Picture: David Martin

Barkingside High Street as you'll find it in 2019. Picture: David Martin - Credit: Archant

Following on from his previous column on the history of Barkingside High Street, David Martin of the Fairlop Heritage Group continues his retrospective

Entertainment options in Barkingside High Street were provided by three shops, Chapmans, record players and televisions, mainly Phillips brand.

Down the far end, Blows, mainly Televisions, but in the middle, paradise, in the form of Roylance, musical instruments and records.

The main highlight of the week in the 1960's when on Saturday night the shop would be cleared to make space for dancing.

Food shops were numerous.

Three butchers; Kingston's, Tuckers and Dewhursts. which in those days would sell liver, hearts, kidneys and tripe.

All good old fashioned food then, but try and buy them these days!

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One shop which was familiar to me was Eastwells - a greengrocer.

As part of my chores to gain pocket money, to my disgust I had to cycle to the High Street on a regular basis to collect seven pounds of King Edwards Potatoes.

On one occasion I stood in a queue of women waiting in turn for Mr Eastwell to serve me.

I noticed a lorry parked outside as a man unloaded bananas, which he placed down at the back of the shop, to be picked by an employee, to be taken to a storeroom.

One bunch had several tiers, or rings and as the driver turned to collect the next, I noticed movement on the floor.

To my horror, a large spider slowly staggered as it emerged into the light.

All remained quiet until one woman noticed its presence.

She gave out a short scream and fainted.

I reasoned that as long as there was a short distance between me and it, I was safe.

In a second or two I was the only customer standing, the rest had fainted.

The driver rushed back into the shop with metal tin box and in a flick of a wrist, the spider was inside complete with a lid.

In the pandemonium which followed, a police car arrived and an officer demanded that the metal box was handed over to him.

The lorry driver remained defiant telling the officer. "I can get 10 bob for that!" (10 bob was 10 shillings, now 50p).

Almost opposite Eastwells were two adjacent shops, very popular with all children on one hand and most adults and children on the other.

The first shop, Marments a toy shop. After the austerity of the Second World War, Marments was a ray of light.

During the war my toys were severely limited.

I can remember two and one I still have - a handmade wooden Spitfire!

The second shop, Rossi Bros -the best ice cream in the world!

I remember the cousins who started the shop and David a son, who retired last year.

But Rossi is now in the safe hands of Quidsavers owner Mukesh Patel.

Barkingside is still a busy shopping area, but as in 1959 when the environs was blighted by unsightly trolleybus overheard cables, today the blight remains in 2019, too much traffic.