The Jewellers in the High Street may have been Jacksons. They were the oldest in the town and founded in 1876. Their business was sort of opposite Clements Department Store roughly where there’s a flyover cutting right through the original store building. Jackson’s shop was on a site that dates back to about 1500. I often walked past Jacksons on my way to Choir Practice so never had time to stare in the window and drool over the lovely wrist-watches on sale there.
They were only a few doors down from Elliotts Music Shop who sold pianos records and musical instruments as well as Radios and Radiograms.
A provisions shop?
Further to Ross King’s comment. I wish I could remember the name of the store he says was East off the High Street. The only two roads that were turnings off the High Street were Clarendon Road by Garners Bakery, and which had the Palace Theatre and Carlton Cinema in, but I don’t remember a Provisions shop there. Or Queens Road which had Trewins (John Lewis owned store) and Watford School of Music plus a few shops in the first half of Queens Road such as Television Dealers and that kind of thing.
I do remember a small corner shop down the end of Queens Road almost by the Horse-Trough opposite Fyffes Bananas depot. This was a little provisions shop which my Father used to go to and purchase items that were against the Sunday Trading laws which I think then forbade selling anything other than cigarettes tobacco and sweets – and people used to go and buy the things in the food line which they’d forgotten to get on Saturday and customers would leave the shop with a cardboard box covered in a cloth to prevent anyone seeing them breaking the law.
It was all very clandestine illegal trading that mostly the law turned a blind eye to. The law now seems archaic but we all know how Sunday trading laws only recently changed to allow food and anything to be purchased on the Christian Sabbath. Funny old world eh?
Cawdells and Santa’s Grotto
Cawdells dept store was always amusing when they ran the Santa’s Grotto and we as kids were put into a fake sleigh ride that was a kind of box that groddled about on a motorized simulated waves like a kiddies boat. While it was slowly grinding up and down they would wind the scenery past the windows by rolling them past on a canvas painted roll that made very young kids think they were going forwards on a journey.
It didn’t fool my brother and I and we were under strict instructions not to make comments that would spoil anything about Santa. They’d then ferry us out of a different door than the one we entered on. We’d walk down a tunnel to meet Santa and be given some sop of a present and asked what we wanted for Christmas. Santa would make some encouraging remark and we’d all file out and go home with whatever bunch of disappointment we’d been given as a token.
My friend Geoff got a good prize from Clements the other store though, he entered a competition in-store to race Scalectrix cars against other members of the public and he won so many times that they gave him first prize – a new Scalectrix set.
Does anyone remember The Maypole?
Does anyone remember The Maypole a kind of dairy orientated delicatessen opposite the end of Market Street. Or Findlaters the posh Off Licence. I also remember Mac Fisheries in that same row of shops and Perrings Furniture store which had a fire gutting the place. Before it burned out they had a Foot Massage machine in the entrance that was in use even after the shop was closed at 5.30pm and you could stand on the platform like weighing scales and put Sixpence in (6d as it was abbreviated) and it would vibro massage your feet and you could feel it right up your legs. After it finished it was like walking on air.
Finally on today’s contribution does anyone remember the machine on Watford High Street Station that you could put tuppence in and it would stamp an alluminium label or nameplate for your briefcase like some mighty Dymo Tape machine and you had to wind a big clockface arm around a circle to choose the Letter or Figure you wanted stamped on the label. Then you’d press a big lever and CLANGK it would stamp it on the label which came spewing out of the front letter by letter on an ever lengthening strip. Then you pulled it out to discover you’d made a spelling mistake or not put a full stop on it. All very disappointing but nevertheless fun for kids who were not easily bored and very easily entertained.