Tuesday 12 March 2013

Escape from reality

Family worries leave me with little of any positivity to write about, so I will share this with you, from Sean Street's "A Remembered Land" - recollections of life in the countryside 1880 - 1914.  Strangely, many (MANY!) years ago, I was once interviewed by Mr Street when he worked for Radio Solent, or was it Radio 2CR in Dorset?  A lovely man and one who shares my passion for social history.

"The shop had a fine, rich blend of smells, bacon and cheese predominating, with alluring undercurrents of tea, liquorice and peppermint.  There was a varied choice of biscuits to be had at popular prices.  (I specially remember 'butter creams', juicy and toothsome at three halfpence a quarter), and chocolate and sweets to suit all comers.  Fry's chocolate cream was on sale in big, thick bars at a penny apiece and penn'orth of sugared almonds, bulls' eyes, acid drops, fruit jellies and the like filled a sizeable bag.  There were comfits, too, in different shapes and colours, bearing romantic legends: 'Will you be my sweetheart?', I love you', 'Will you be mine?' . . . and jars full of mammoth peppermint humbugs.  Ha'porths were served just as willingly as were the larger amounts, and a fat bag of popcorn was sold for a farthing.  In fact, a penny spelt riches when spent at the shop."

Lilian Bond, Tyneham: A Lost Heritage

Sadly, Tyneham was the entire village (well, one of them probably) commandeered by the MoD just before Christmas 1943, so they could have their practice ranges there.  The village was never returned to its own folk and is still MoD land today.  Good for wildlife, not for its former inhabitants.  The buildings are now ruins and the shop just bare walls . . .  So sad.

Many thanks to my dear daughter T, for buying this book for me when she saw it in a charity shop, as she knew I would treasure it and enjoy it. 


  1. I remember visiting Tynham on an open day, very sad to see it in ruins.

  2. What a shame. I'd forgotten about a lot of those sweets. I realised you'd dropped off my blog list somehow but you're back on now. Why does that happen? Very irritating. Hope you're well today. I have good news in that Trigger is going on holiday to a field half a mile down the road to let the paddock rest for a month. He'll have three little Dartmoors to keep him company, if he doesn't get attacked by them! x

  3. Em - tell him a change is as good as a rest. I'm sure he'll enjoy the company. don't know why I dropped off your page, but glad I'm back again.

    CW - lovely to see you again. There's an on-line shop that sells them . . .

  4. We had a village shop just like that, back in the 1950/60s. I can smell that shop in my imagination, thanks that wonderful description!

    My OH once met the last woman to have been born in Tyneham. It is somewhere I would love to visit.

  5. That brought back memories of my childhood ...some shops seemed to stand still right up until the late 50's.
    I do hope you sort the bread problem out ...sore joints are such a problem....I dont like bread makers but maybe just for kneading....or maybe a heavey mixer with a dough hook.
    I do hope your seemingly insurmountable personal problems are partially solved and you feel happier soon..xx

  6. I think that shop evoked memories in quite a few of us. I can still see our "corner shop" at the end of Canterbury Avenue. Sweets galore, and tins of broken biscuits which were sold by the pound. I think I did a post about the sweets of my childhood a couple of years ago - I have the teeth to prove how much I loved sweeties! Blackberries and raspberries anyone?