MORE MAGDALEN STREET MEMORIES FROM THE 1950s
Margaret Hornagold. (Liz Gibson’s sister)
At 12 years old my childhood came to an end, we moved from a small bungalow in Thorpe St Andrew to a larger house, due to a new baby girl being born. The house we now lived in was near the Blyth School, a short distance from the Magdalen St. area, so we were able to frequent the area quite often. I attended the Blyth School and well remember calling home for a drink and snack and walking into Magdalen Street and being seen by one of the school ‘mistresses’ and reported to the ‘Head’ – Mrs Whittaker was her name, and lo and behold if you were ever sent to her room! I was duly called in and well recall the telling-off I received ‘You must never be seen
without your school hat, it’s part of your uniform’.
I was 13yrs and at that time had a best friend called Gillian. After school we’d call at her house which was just off Magdalen Road and we’d have a cold drink, after which she’d go upstairs for a couple of seconds (no more) come down, and say she’d ‘made’ her bed – As her parents both worked that was the ‘chore’ designated to her! Then she’d get on the piano and play two or three Winnifred Atwell’ numbers incredibly well… I envied her talent, never being particularly musical. From there we’d saunter along Magdalen Road, cross over at Magdalen Gates (the Artichoke on the left) past a tiny Pub (The White Swan I think) and into her parent’s shop called Rosiers. It was a grocery shop which sold almost everything. At the back of the shop were small barrels of wine which you could fill up with your own bottle. The counter was on the right of the door as you walked in from the street, that held several jars of sweets. After having a quick word with her parents Gillian would open one of the jars of her choice and dive her hand in, filling it with the sweets which we’d share. Just past their shop was a wet fish shop, the parents of another friend of hers owned that and to this day, having different owners through the years, it’s always been the same.
During my late teens I worked in the office of Jarrold Printing Works, a stone’s throw away from Magdalen Street. I used to cycle through there on my way to and from work but it wasn’t until I started working at Jewson’s in Colegate and by this time a married woman that I began frequenting the shops more. Anglia Square was now a thriving place – with Sainsbury’s there it was very popular. I think I was in there most days, loading my bike up and cycling home to my new house in Sprowston. Naturally enough I got used to the shops and the people who worked there, an ex-footballer of the time – Ken Nethercott either owned or worked in Magdalen Street, I
can honestly say that whenever I passed his shop I never saw any business being conducted – he was always outside the door having a chat with someone (mainly about football no doubt) His shop was situated opposite Woolworths, next to Fieldings the cycle shop. Just along there was a very popular shop – I think it was the first of its kind. It was ‘The Bargain Shop’ It sold any number of cleaning goods, soap and brushes etc. It was a magnet for me, especially at Christmas when I bought numerous small items for prizes to be given out at our Christmas party at home.
Some places never change – The Army Recruitment Centre on the corner of
Magdalen Street and Colegate has been there since the year Dot – I passed that every day for 10+ years and I could count on one hand how many people I ever saw in there. I think they’re still trying to attract men into the forces – I’ve a feeling they won’t acquire an army from there somehow!
At the beginning of the 60’s when first married my husband’s parents frequented a small Pub where Roy’s now is. It was called ‘The Rose’; a very small place with a long narrow room, tables and chairs at the sides and a piano at the far end. Half way down on the right was a door leading to a yard with a very ‘salubrious’ toilet at the side. The entrance to the Pub was down an alleyway, the door being on the right. If my memory serves me correctly the door was a dull green, which at the time reminded me of the popular song of the era – ‘Who’s that knocking on the Green Door’.
I’m ending this saga by saying that when looking at black and white photographs of this area and time it looks incredibly dank and depressing, but to us growing up then it was bright and exciting and I personally wouldn’t have wanted to have missed it.