289 - O.L. and C.M. Wride
Sweet Shop / Tobacconist

The last shop before the Chalks Road junction, going 'up the road', number 289 was for many years a traditional and fondly remembered sweet shop and tobacconist. Also it is understood that they sold fishing nets. The shop was certainly very well placed for nearby St. George Park and its lake.

In the 1940s it was Bubb's Sweet Shop but many people will recall it as Wride's. Oliver Leslie Wride (known as Leslie) and Constance (known as Connie or Pat) ran the shop from the mid-1950s until their retirement in 1972 when the picture below was taken. Some people recall that Wride's was open on Sundays, this was possible because sweets were exempt from the Sunday trading restrictions of the time.

Front view of 289 Church Road in 1972
(No-one knows why the sign says 'D.L.Wride', maybe they didn't notice it!)

Andy Jones: "I loved this sweet shop, I was in there most days! I visited with my friends on the way home from Whitehall School or before playing in St. George Park. It was notable for being a sweet shop rather than a newsagents and boasted an elegant shop front with visually impressive window displays. The counter seemed to run the whole width of the building, a visual delight packed with sweets and chocolate of all descriptions. Behind the counter were the brightly coloured loose sweets in a mass of large glass jars. Of course as a kid it was all about the 'cheap sweets' rather than the glorious but expensive high-class chocolate bars. Choosing the selection of 'penny sweets' was a key decision of the day. The shop was neatly split in two, the baccy and pipe part of the shop (the right hand side as you went in the front door) reminded me of my Grandfer... although only briefly; it was all about the sweets in this small corner of Church Road. This shop was the place to 'stock up' before heading for the boats in the park."

Simon Patten: "This was my aunt and uncle's shop and as a child and teenager I was often there at weekends and holidays, standing on a box to serve the customers, sampling the sweets, and helping my uncle repair lighters in the back room. The range of sweets they sold was amazing, from ha'penny chews and ice cream to luxury Lindt chocolate, and he even sold loose snuff on the tobacconist side. It was perfectly positioned for the park and school and usually busy."

Connie and the sweets

Leslie and the tobacco

Following Mr and Mrs Wride, number 289 continued as a sweet shop. By 1981 it was part of the Maynards chain, however in 1985 Maynards disposed of its retail outlets and the premises became the location for David Gist Solicitors. Cohe'sion Hair Salon replaced the solicitors in 2001 and set a trend with an eye-catching exterior paint job. At the time of writing, Cohe'sion is one of the most popular hair salons in the area.

<-- Previous Page       Next Page -->