Shopping on a Saturday With Your Pocket Money

Jacqueline Brandon

Woolworths, High Street c1964
Watford Museum
Oddfellows Hall on St. Albans Road, Watford.
Bob Nunn Collection

I was born in Garston in 1953 and loved my town. Shopping on a saturday was a must with your pocket money. I had my ears pierced with a cork and pin at the jewellers opposite the post office and went home on the 321 bus looking at them in the windows of the bus. I went to top rank to see Love Affair where they gave away free perfume, I was wearing my grandmothers ring which was too big for me and I had paper in the back to make it fit, after dancing and screaming it was gone and I often wondered who had picked it up, it had a black pearl in the middle.

Later I worked at clements and remember the owners son who used to come to the shop, often coming in to the boutique called Shop67 and gave me perfume and asked me out on a date. My uncle used to play for Benskins Football team, he had a heart attack on the pitch and died whilst playing, it was headlines in the Observer. My husband used to wok for Charlie on the clothes stall in the market and i remember him coming home with a two tone suit and check shirts with the button down collars.

My first record

My first record was bought on the market, cheaper than the record shop. If you close your eyes and sniff you can smell all the aromas: Woolworths wood floors and the biscuit counter with all the tins arranged at an angle and at the end a large pile of mixed broken assortments, the Wimpy bar with the tomatoe squeezy dipensers and frothy coffee.

The busses with the conductors who sometimes gave you a half used roll of tickets, we lived by the garage so we had a good supply. I used to go to north Watford library on the bus from Garston 2d and the aroma in the library where you could get 4 books. The swimming baths on a friday with school and the hot oxo drink after.


When i was small i used to go with my mum to the oddfellows hall and the Trade Union Hall for her to play bingo. I would collect the tea cups and wash up. Hetty who run the bingo gave me money for this on which i treated my pals to oxo and crisps after swimming. Later I worked at Orphanage Road Ministry of Labour and before that at Chas Brightmans the builders merchants, just up the road. This could go on and on and on but I will finish and look forward to reading more and more and maybe hearing from old pals, one in particular a girl I worked with at Ministry of Labour, Grillo her dad had the ice cream firm, she drew on my hand and done intricate drawings on napkins for my engagement and wedding. Many thanks for an enjoyable afternoon’s reading.

This page was added on 07/05/2012.

Comments about this page

  • Here’s some thought circa 1955/6 :-
    Watford swimming baths, 12 o’clock session was extra long, 90 minutes, on a Saturday, the queue was right around the little roundabout garden. Learnt to dive there daring each other to jump and then dive off the top board. The pool was 33 and a third yards long, we bet each other to swim it underwater.Came out with wrinkled toes and hands as the temperature was lethal. Terrible wet changing rooms.Into the cafe for hot oxo and Ovaltine tablets., then walked/cycled home to Garston stopping off at the ‘Old Curiosity shop’ (?) to buy American comics., or climbing through the fence to train spot the Watford Flyer and the testing of Deltic and 1000 and 10001, (pennies flattened on the rails).

    By David Willshaw (18/09/2019)
  • Here’s some thoughts:-
    Watford swimming baths, 12 o’clock session was 90 minutes long on a Saturday, the queue was right around the little round garden. Learnt to dive there daring each other to jump and then dive off the top board. Came out with wrinkled toes and hands as the temperature was lethal. Terrible wet changing rooms.Into the cafe for hot oxo and Ovaltine tablets.

    By David Willshaw (15/09/2019)
  • I was born at home in Garston Lane in 1960. The parade of shops at the junction of Garston Lane and the St. Albans Road were my earliest memories. Russell’s home decorations (emigrated to New Zealand I believe in the early 70’s) Old Toms pet shop…. you could buy a hamster or a brass door knob or fishing tackle (a proper Open All Hours shop, even down to Tom wearing a brown dust coat. The laundrette was next. The bike shop on the corner, window shopping for kids was the piece de resistance…. Martins the sweet shop. My father used to send us down to pick up his tobacco and I spent my 6d a week pocket money there. Then onto the Liptons convenience shop. My best friend worked there and had a Granville style bicycle for deliveries. Next, I think was a butchers shop, not that I spent much time there and then the wool shop, then the chip shop. On a Saturday if I hadn’t spent all my pocket money on sweets I could get a bag of batter scratchings for a penny. Last shop was a branch of Barclays Bank until they moved it to the opposite side of St Albans Road. Opposite the parade were a couple of shops on the corner of Garston Lane and the St Albans Road. An Off Licence (Threshers) and a tobacconist/sweetshop. I remember collecting lemonade bottles and taking them to Threshers for the deposit. And yes DaveT….. they were the Juba’s as memory serves.

    By Mark (12/09/2019)
  • Grew up in Bushey but we always used to get the 142/258 into Watford every weekend. Pocket money used to invariably end up in the till at Mary Roses’s toy shop in Charter Place where we’d spend it on marbles or “jokes” (anyone remember those, chewing gum that turned your mouth blue etc) , snap-its and stink bombs (which we’d let off in the lifts in Charter Place or Beechen Grove just to watch peoples reaction) . Ahhh happy innocent days

    By Dan (15/04/2019)
  • How can I find out why the north Watford roundabout is called The Dome?

    By Mrs. D.P. Cross (23/10/2018)
  • I was born in 1946, so a bit older, used to go to the North Watford Odeon Cinema for Saturday morning pictures, also did a Milk Round at the Express Dairy depot behind the parade, loved the chocolate milk, called a ‘micky’, Frank Cooper, the milkman i helped used to give me a bottle, as well as my wages. I lived in Beech Road.

    By Raymond Jenner (15/12/2017)
  • I worked in North Watford Woolworths 1956-1958 on the sweet counter. What a job for a teenager. There was a small Tesco’s near by and a small Sainsbury (look at them now).We had a dress shop (Greens) and a shoe shop.

    By Diana Whitney (24/06/2017)
  • Found this site only recently and it has been wonderful hearing peoples memories of Watford as I was born there and I remember Woolworths and the smell of the wooden floors and the biscuit tins …the Top Rank ..North Watford Library …Wimpy Bar so many good memories thank you all. When I go back now as my daughter now lives there I don’t recognise much anymore so sad.

    By Chrissie Beadle (05/10/2016)
  • Born in 1961. There was a toy shop soemwhere in Norht Watford or Garston, and I can’t recall where but I remember its smell to this day. Each shop back then had a unique smell. Grocers all smelt the same. The bike shop (13s in King Edward Rd Bushey) had a Turps like smell. I lament, all places smell teh smae these days…

    By Martin C (14/01/2016)
  • I,too, loved your mention of the Watford Swimming Baths. I often tell my family of the Oxo cube drinks and packets of crisps. My memories are from the. 1940’s!!! Joan in Oz

    By Joan Perkins (15/08/2015)
  • Well done Jacqueline, this is really evocative. I remember Woolworths exactly as you describe it – I used to weigh myself on those funny weighing machines and get the card with my weight on it afterwards – oh to be that weight now! I worked briefly in the market selling socks – luminous green and yellow ones in about 1959.

    How well you desribe Watford Swimming Baths and the oxos – wasn’t it Mr and Mrs Juba (spelling?) who taught us to swim?

    Thanks again,

    Dave TJ

    By Dave Taylor_Jones (01/08/2015)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.