I remember the first Self Serve proper supermarket opposite Top Rank (Odeon then) it was FINE FARE – does that ring a bell? My friend Geoff who lived at Wiggenhall Road down by the River Colne tried to pilfer a packet of Beech Nut Chewing gum and the manager of Fine Fare saw him, as they had columns in the supermarket with mirrors on all four sides. He caught Geoff at the checkout and advised him to put the chewing gum in the basket! He did and went very red! But he let him off with a quiet ticking off. He was a nice guy. The very first self service store was actually the Co-Op just along from Fine Fare who were technically the first to introduce the idea of helping yourself with a wire basket. They were near to a Stove and Fires shop called oddly Cakebread Robey do you remember them. My mum and dad bought an Esse stove from there. Stan Pike was in that parade too with a Newsagents and Tobacconist.
Thanks too to James Russel for that lovely picture of Marsh and Russel store. The store was the best Ironmongers and Hardware in Greater London in my opinion.
The Gaumont was a superb cinema where I remember seeing “live” concert by the Dave Brubeck Quartet and his band put on a superb show and Dave complained a few times about the very out of tune piano he’d been expected to play on. Typical of the management not bothering to tune it for an important musician like that.
I remember how the audience did a standing ovation for the drummer Joe Morello who gave a 12 minute drum solo towards the end of the concert.
Eldorado Ice Cream and Nelsons
Eldorado Ice Cream and Nelsons was the order of the day in Cinemas. It wasn’t as good as Rossi’s but it wasn’t bad. We used to eat Chinese meals at the Kam Wah in Kings Street. Bucks had a fabulous Bakery and Garners. Sainsbury had a shop in the High Street where they cut and shaped fresh farm butter for you and wrapped it in greaseproof paper all neatly folded. Imagine that today in our plastic and throw away society! Peter Spivey Sports shop was on the Parade and I used to buy Air Gun pellets from there. Radio Rentals I bought my first ever HMV Tape Recorder.
Oh the memories just keep on flooding in the more I think about it. I think I’d better stop before I explode with nostalgia. Greetings and Best Wishes to all you Watford of old fans out there.