Cambridge Street, looking towards Aylesbury Street
Cambridge Street, looking towards Buckingham Street
These two rather grainy photos show Cambridge Street in the mid 1950s. On the corner of Buckingham Street was a haberdashery known as Mullins. It was bought by a Rowland Hunt a few years later.
On the Aylesbury Street corner you can see Dimmocks, the grocery at 39 and I am not sure about 37. It was a Ladies Outfitter, but it may have become an office at the time this photo was taken – Registrar’s Office?
This photo from Ian Turner’s collection dates from 1949 or 1950 and portrays some of the children who lived in houses on the lower section of Cambridge and Windsor Streets and some from Church Street. Back Alleys were favourite (and safe) places for children to play in the 1950s. They were not out of earshot of their parents and all the neighbours knew each other.
I can recognize Annette Turner and Rosemary Marshall, who were my age, and Ian Turner in the middle. The younger ones I am not sure about. There was a boy called Tony Durbin who lived down that way at this time and his family moved away shortly after this. I am not sure if he is the boy in the back row.
The independent grocer has now been consigned to memory. This house on the corner of Cambridge Street and Aylesbury Street was once a thriving grocery that could support a family quite comfortably. It was my mother’s grocer of choice and that of her parents who lived on the Stratford Road.
Cambridge Street was built in the mid 1890s and the first recorded occupant in 1901 was Robert Henderson. He was self-employed as an “Oilman Colour” which I would interpret to mean that he made paint. This may explain why the workshop was built at the back.
By 1907 it was a grocery store operated by Byatt and Hopkins. Later it was Byatt only and he continued there until he retired, possibly about 1951 or 2. It was then taken over by W R Dimmock and continued to thrive. In its later years I am given to understand that it was owned by a Mr Powell who surrendered to the inevitable growth of supermarkets in 1975.
The large plate glass windows facing Cambridge Street have been replaced as have the sash windows above. I don’t remember windows on the Aylesbury Street side. With the additional buildings at the back it is now a large residential property.
As a personal footnote to this, my grandfather and his brother, then 16 year old and 17 year old apprentice clerks, lodged next door in 1895 after his father moved away to become Station Master at Leighton Buzzard.