Clements Hall
Queen Victoria St  with tram

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

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Our Memory Wall about Bishy Road shops

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These are some of the things people told us about the shops when we talked to them at the street party, which we’ve added to other memories. The event was a tremendous opportunity to remind local people how trades and fashions have changed and to find out more fascinating things about our local community. Look at our photo gallery for a reminder of how these shops used to look. Perhaps you could tell us more:

Rob: I walked to work for several years past the shops in the 1980’s and always noted the elegant woodwork to the front of Leeming and Salisbury, gents outfitters roughly where Trinacria is now. I never saw anyone go in or out of what was patently a remnant of long past times, making no concessions at all to fashion and using a curious yellow celluloid film to limit damage from sunlight (something of a commonplace in my youth).

Rob: I also recall a second hand bookshop on the right hand side going towards York in the 1980’s I don’t recall its name and its lifetime was very brief.

Rob: There was Best Cellars in the 1980’s, a home brew shop where Cycle Heaven now stands. Run by Avril and John Boothroyd this was a brilliant little resource.

Rob: There was a weird shop in the 1980’s on the Trinacria side that sold military memorabilia and things like sheaf knives and fake pistols. For me, lost but not much missed! But much missed is local bakers – Woolgrove’s who traded, I think, where Thomas the baker now trades. Woolgrove’s was a conventional bakers but one which made classy bread.

Laura: Leeming and Salisbury (now Trinacria) – lovely gloves, those knitted cotton layered ones, and socks, from wooden drawers under the glass counter. And I still have an old waterproof from there, hanging in the allotment shed for emergency showers.

Rob: My 80′s memories are of Novak’s in Scarcroft Road, a rather dour Polish clock repairer carrying on what was clearly a dying trade. I recall also a sewing machine repair business on the corner with Vine St. These two shops reflect a lost era when things were bought and repaired when they went wrong.

Sue: My husband bought his ‘wedding trousers’ (no suit – too uncool!) at Leeming and Salisbury Gents Outfitters (where Trinacria is now) in 1975 and sometime in the 80’s we bought a hamster from the pet shop which I think used to be next to the Fruitique.

Johnny: When we moved into Pextons we had boxes full of railway toilet locks that had the engaged sign on. There were lots of 1920s window catches beautifully wrapped in tissue paper…we had blanks for church keys 9” long…’beaver stones’ to wash the front doorstep…carbolic soap…People would come to us from all over York to buy black lead. Everything had to be cut…just on the counter…you would just make do and mend… Essentially it was a very old-fashioned place and remains that…

Johnny: There was a lovely butchers that not only sold meat, but fish and poultry and game and venison, a real broad range of stuff. It was a phenomenally successful shop… Johnson and Elson…people really did enjoy that mixed selection.

Johnny: Bishopthorpe Road has become a very strong little shopping centre. The world has moved on …and shops like that have become valued and people do now want to actually use those shops. It has started to re invent itself in this new cycle of outdoor cafes and other shops coming in…We’ve also got two supermarkets…they play their part in helping to keep the street quite healthy. Although you want the money primarily to go to local businesses… these bigger companies do pull people in that would prefer to shop there.

Rhys: The Post Office I remember it well, you could get stamps out of the post box. Trying to remember where Morleys was – he used to sell second hand stuff like fishing rods and penknives. I bought my Raleigh Chopper from there.

Lucy: A lot of the shops on Bishy Road have been there as long as I can remember, and beyond. Fruitique may have lost its enormous fish tank and joke body-less hand (usually wedged between two boxes of apples if I remember rightly), but it’s still there. I am thrown back to my toddler years when I see it. Pextons still pours out brightly coloured bins and brushes onto the pavement in summer, and lights up all the homes of Clementhorpe with their Christmas trees each winter. And it might have changed names, but there is still a fish and chip shop sending the acidic, addictive savoury scent of vinegar on chips into the evening.

Bruce: Leeming and Salisbury (now Trinacria) outfitted a range of gentlemen, including supplying Teddy Boy drapes, brothel creepers (suede shoes) and lariats (neckties).

Claire: At Best Cellars Homebrew (now Cycle Heaven) you used to be able to buy certain drinks by any measure – bring your own bottles. I remember my mum buying her sherry there in the early 70s.
My auntie Jess worked at Maynews (now the Good Food Shop) for years – very fond memories of ‘penny sweets’.

Sue: Glen and Julio’s used to be a butcher’s shop. When I was very little my grandma took me shopping for sausages there, around 1965.

Susan: Martin’s sweet shop (now Pexton’s) – I used to buy sweets there in the late 50s and early 60s. It was a very small shop with a grumpy woman in charge.

Susie: I can remember a greengrocer’s opposite Fruitique, where they used to boil beetroot in a big vat at the back. And everything was weighed and put into bags, nothing pre-packed.

Carole: I remember waiting for the Queen to pass along Bishy Road in the mid 1960s. We stood on what is now Cycle Heaven’s steps.

Margaret: I remember Novak’s (later Evolve in Scarcroft Road) where we always used the clock in the window to know what time it was for the school, going into town etc.
Johnson and Elson was a wonderful shop – sold poultry and salmon etc. They supplied a lot of the restaurants in York.

Susan: I was brought up in Norfolk Street and remember the off-licence on the corner of Vine Street (now the florist). One Christmas Day morning I walked down there with my dad to buy a bottle of wine for our Christmas dinner. It must have been around 1959 or 1960 when I was 11 or 12 years old.

Susie: Somebody gave us 52 cans of baked beans as a wedding present, which we didn’t want. So we took them along to the grocers – Thrift Stores – where Frankie and Johnny’s is, and sold them to the shopkeeper, who then sold them in his shop.

Susan: I went to the butchers (now Glen and Julio’s) to collect my mum’s meat order. I put the joint in my saddle bag and cycled home up the hill to Norfolk street. When I arrived home there was no joint, it must have bounced out of the saddle bag when I went over a bump. I went back to look for it but no trace – I got into trouble for that, it was around 1960.

Anon: Novak’s Watch Repairer (later Evolve in Scarcroft Road) – if you only had one watch he’d lend you one while yours was being fixed – like a ‘courtesy’ car!