Sir: Reading the “Junior Sales” article (“Forget-me-nots”, Winter 2016) took me back as I lived just five minutes from Hawkins shop. I was born in 1947, and lived in Chatham until 1970. Hawkins would have been on the corner of Church Street and the New Road, then the main trunk road from Dover to London, the A2. Opposite would have been a Friary Meux pub. The other corner was a chemist and the fourth corner was St. Paul’s Church. All have gone now!
At the bottom of Church Street was our High Street, which started at Luton Arches. This viaduct still carries the trains from east and north Kent to London.
Names the author of the article may remember include: Elliott’s bike shop, Petts the newsagents, Packer’s the bakers, Clifford’s the leather shop, Lofts fish and chip shop, and Pats the sweet shop where every Easter there would be an enormous egg displayed in the window.
Opposite was the Regent cinema. Then came the notorious Cage Lane, hang out for the Teddy Boys in the late 1950s. Cooper’s record shop was where I bought my first 78 record, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. Then the Ritz cinema where us ABC Minors would go to Saturday morning flicks. I could go on.
It was a wonderful place, but like so many others, it has gone to seed. There wasn’t a phone shop, charity shop or Pound shop to be seen. Every premises was in use. There were pubs dotted along the way, too numerous to mention. My mum called it the Golden Mile. She probably wasn’t far wrong. —
GRAHAM ROBERTSON, GILLINGHAM, KENT.
The Town Hall in Leeds, Yorkshire. A reader recalls visiting a department store when it first opened in the city. See “High Street Shops”.