The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.
Before we travelled to supermarkets all our needs could be meet within the village.
I have interviewed Clophill resident Doris Pitts (b. 1916) about her memories of the village shops and here is the transcription.
There was a white hut, a little shed in garden. John Smith ran it. He sold sweets and groceries. The sweets were in jars and were sold loose in paper cornets. Before I went to school I had to go up there with a list for me mum. And he always said to me "Doris, would you like a few sweets this morning?". I said "I know what I've got to do. Take a mouse out of the trap." He daren't do it.
The Juffs family baked bread on the premises. The bakery was through the double gates at the left side and at the back. The two sons drove the vans delivering the bread. They baked the bread and went all round with it.
If you could afford a chicken or a turkey for Christmas, for a shilling they would cook it for you in the bread oven.
That little room there (right hand window) they used to let to Bill Smith. He used to come from Luton and cut men's hair for a shilling.
Bert Diggins ran a cycle shop. He did bike repairs and mended punctures for tuppence.
Arthur Cakebread was the blacksmith and he lived next to the forge at what is now called The Old Forge. We used to stand there watching the blacksmith shoeing the horses. They made the shoes. They came out red hot.
This was Fossey's. There was a shed at back where he mended shoes. His wife sold sweets and things from one of her rooms.
Garrets had it as a fish shop then it changed to Townsend's butchers.
Mr Wootton ran the Post Office and sold groceries. His son Linden Wootton was a tailor who made men's tailored suits. Linden's wife, Edith, was so good. If you went in and she had some cheese come in, she would give you a little bit to try. "Doris. This is a new cheese. Try a bit." The same with sweets. The children loved her. She used to let people have stuff on tick. She gave her profit away.
It was a Post Office run by the Mead family. They had a daughter my age. I was friends with her. I used to go there to play with her.
This was Shepard's before it was Stoke's shop. One Friday we had a terrible storm and they said it got hit by a thunderbolt. It went down the chimney. After they closed at six they were washing up. I know it was a very bad storm cos I was down at a friends to show her the new bike I had for my birthday. When I got as far as that the lightening was terrible. I threw my bike down and ran home. I lived in Mill Lane. Mum and Dad said "Where is that new bike?" It was back in the High Street. Dad had to go and fetch it. I was frightened to death. They said you wouldn't have hurt on rubber.
Franklin's delivered coal at 2s 4d a sack.
Peck's of Ampthill came round with a case of clothes and household goods to your doorstep. If you couldn't afford it, you had a card and paid weekly.
The left hand cottage (demolished) was Mrs Widdowson's grocery shop. She used to sell sweets and groceries. In the middle lived Mrs King who used to open her living room for a doctor to come in and hold his surgery for an hour or two once a week.
We used to have to walk down there twice a year when the dentist the came. We had a form to give our parents to say we could have our teeth done. It cost a shilling. I hated the dentist. I got in the chair once and got out. I didn't stop to have it done. We were supposed to go back to school but I ran home.
Mrs Simpson lived at the first house on the left-hand side (demolished) at the back of the Rising Sun. She sold sweets and biscuits from her back door.
Mrs Dunham sold sweets and biscuits. More or less as a hobby. You would perhaps call there if you had a penny to spend.
Frank Gobey went round with his horse and cart, hawking. He sold candles, matches, paraffin, soap and powder. They delivered to Clophill, Gravenhurst, Shillington and Meppershall. Jack (my husband), when he left school at 14, went there as a Saturday boy for a year or two.