John Walker Reminiscences

From Hoole History and Heritage Society

"I read with great interest the history of the Dinwoodie Family [see People of Hoole] who were well known Hoole butchers. I remember well both Fred and Jack Dinwoodie running their shop on the corner of Faulkner Street and Prescot Street and to a lesser extent the shop in Walker Street. From the time of my birth in 1945 until I married and moved on in 1966, I lived at 15 Prescot Street right opposite the Dinwoodie butchers. It was mainly Jack who would hang the beef or pork carcass on the door frame hooks and chop it into two halves, there was always a resounding thud as the split carcass hit the door frame. It would then be carried into the shop and duly butchered. Friday was always a busy, and late night, when Fred and Jack would be preparing customer orders for the weekend, by the time they departed for the night the shop window was full of joints of meat labelled for individual customers. Also, in season there would often be a whole pig, with an orange in its mouth, proudly displayed in the window.

As a child attending Westminster Road school, I rather foolishly volunteered to obtain an eye from an animal so it could be dissected, and the class could see the magnifying effect of its lens. I asked Jack Dinwoodie if he could supply an eye. ‘Yes’, he said, ‘come with me’, and he promptly took me to the rear of the shop, got a carcass out of the cold store, gave me a sharp knife and told me to cut the eye from its socket. I just couldn’t do it. Jack gently took the knife from me and expertly detached the eye from its socket, wrapped it up, and gave it to me with a big chuckle and smile on his face.

Each week a company named Cluttons would collect the animal waste from Dinwoodie’s, my enduring memory is the stench of the collection vehicle particularly during the summer. Every 4 or 5 years the outside of the shop would be repainted, always a dark green, the work was undertaken by Harry Dutton who ran a painting and decorating business from his home in Phillip Street. Harry could often be seen on the streets of Hoole pushing his hand cart loaded with ladders, dust sheets, and paint cans.

The Dinwoodie shop in Walker Street was for many years managed by Dennis Moulton whose parents lived right opposite me at 14 Prescot Street, now a part of Dutton’s Funeral Services. If I correctly remember Dennis and his family lived in the region of Clare Avenue. From recollection Dennis was the last manager of the shop and I do believe he retired when the shop closed sometime in the late 1960s or even early 1970s.

Extract from Hoole's Festival of Britain Programme 1951

In the 1950s at the time the Dinwoodies occupied their premises in Faulkner Street there was a shop on each corner with Prescot Street. Opposite Dinwoodie’s on the Edna Street side of Prescot Street was a haberdashery store run by a Miss Hornby who I do believe was a member of the Hornby family which traded in Charles Street. Next to my home was Chas Morris, greengrocer who also had a second shop in the upper section of Charles Street, I think it is currently a nail and beauty shop.

When Morris’s gave up their Faulkner Street shop it was taken over by Kath & Elvett Hughes who changed it into a grocery shop. They lived in William Street. Elvett had been a prisoner of war in Germany, he was however a fluent German speaker so had been a translator at the prison camp. His mother lived in William Street. The Hughes’s eventually moved on and in around 1958 Bill & Nellie Gallagher took over the shop and continued to run it as a grocery business. Bill Gallagher also ran the Bache garage which is now a hand car wash centre next to Morrison's. When his sons, William and Edward, joined the garage business they expanded into what is now Gallagher’s of Sandycroft. Bill’s grandson, also William, was the prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for the Chester constituency in the 2017 general election. Bill & Nellie in their retirement lived in Hoole Lane.”

Lennie Lloyd's Business in 1945

The premises which is now Dutton’s was in the early 1950s a radio repair shop named H.C.L, the initials of the owners, Cyril Horsewell who later ran a shop next to the Odeon cinema, now the Storyhouse; Peter Cavanagh, who became better known for his radio and tv shops ‘Peters’; and Lennie Lloyd, who went on to become a successful electrical contractor. After H.C.L the premises were taken over by Albert and Kath Wingfield and ran as a greengrocery.”

HCL Radio Repair Shop in 1954 before it became 'Peters' and occupied the whole corner opposite 'The Faulkner'

In the link to Hoole retailers there is a pre-war photo of Sid Dawson, Newsagent, polishing his car. I don’t remember that particular car but well remember Mr Dawson for whom I worked for as a paper lad from 1956 to 1958. Sid was universally known as ‘Docker’ and by the time I worked for him his sporty car had been replaced by an Austin four door saloon. I and other paper lads would often join him to travel to Swift’s newspaper wholesalers in Brook Street to collect the evening papers prior to their delivery. His mother was still alive in those days and was profoundly deaf. She used a rather large brass ear trumpet and even then, you had to shout very loudly at her. One of the key staff at Dawson’s was Mrs Barrow who lived at 21 Prescot Street, she organised the paper rounds, controlled us rowdy kids, and generally kept the shop running in good order. I left Dawson’s in 1958 and moved to work for Silvey’s newsagents in Brook Street, they were paying 12/6d per week against the 7/6d that Docker paid, the paper round however was somewhat larger.

I do hope my reminiscences are interesting and add a little to the rich history of Hoole.”

The four 'corners' on Faulkner Street

The four 'corners' in Faulkner Street. Clockwise from top left:

No.78 was Morris the Greengrocer, now Hoole Acupuncture Centre.

No.80 was H.C.L, now Dutton & Hallmark.

No.65 was Dinwoodie’s, now a private residence.

No.63 has had numerous occupants, now a hairdresser.

The Society would welcome any further information on other occupants of these shops over the years.