|Having just passed my ninety first birthday, I am reminiscing about my early years and my visits in my pram to the local shops. I'm sure at only a few days old I would have been tucked up and wheeled down to the Co-op grocers on the corner of Barfield and Kingsland Road. I was born in the front bedroom of No.6 Barfield Rd and mum did most of her shopping at the Co-op. I remember the manager Albert Lee and two young girls Cynthia Cudmore and Lorna Mills working there. Both girls left to join the forces at the out break of war, Lorna joined the W A A F and became a quartermaster, good training for later in life when she worked in Wyatt's yacht chandlery having to put up with Harold's banter, and giving as good as she got - and sometimes better. She will be remembered by her married name Lorna Tarran and we were always very good friends. She used to call me 'My little owed booy'. She was a well respected local historian and sorely missed. The shop is now the funeral parlour and the grocery department has moved to the supermarket next door, but I can claim to have shopped at the Mersea Co-op for ninety one years. Mum also shopped at Central Stores which in those days was owned by Mr & Mrs Slaughter before becoming Whiting's. On Saturday morning mum would call in for a few slices of corned beef and a tin of baked beans - served with mashed potato it was my favourite. Also halfpenny marshmallows which I used to dismember starting with the chocolate capping and finishing with licking the jam from the biscuit before polishing that off.
Our butcher was Ernie Vince who was my dad's cousin. He will be well remembered as our jovial West Mersea Councillor who sadly died in the Council Chamber. His shop was later the Co-op butcher's worked by his brother Sid and is now a Chinese takeaway on the corner of Rainbow Road.
Up Kingsland Hill we used to visit the shoe shop owned by Mr French. The room on the left was his workshop and on the right shelves of new shoes. The business was later taken over by Mr Jones and the then became Shirley Garnham's newsagents. It is now a private house. Mum did her clothes shopping etc at Mrs Tredget's on Queens Corner - now the Spar. Everything was priced at eleven pence three farthings. I can hear her now saying 'That will be two and eleven three please Mrs Green'.
Ernie Vince in his shop on the corner of Rainbow Road and Kingsland Road
Tredget's shop on Queens Corner, with Pet Supplies next door
Co-op store on the corner of Barfield Road and Kingsland Road in the 1980s
Published in Mersea Life March 2023