Nostalgia with Margaret Watson: Poem paints vivid picture of town’s past

Sometimes you can express what you want to say in rhyme better than in an article, and the monologue below by Christine Mallinson proves this very well.

Wednesday, 26th June 2013, 11:38 am
The little girl with the blonde curls is Christine Mallinson, who wrote the monologue below. She is being held by her sister Shirley, who was aged about 16,and who had just come home from the mill where she worked when the picture was taken.

Christine writes in verse of the Dewsbury she remembers, and many people will identify with what she has to say.

This is why I am delighted to hand over this week’s nostalgia page to her because I know what she has written will ring true for so many Dewsbury people.

We all remember with great affection the names of all the shops she mentions – the old as well as the new. Thank you Christine for reminding us..

Remembering Dewsbury

Do you remember the Dewsbury of long ago?

Of all the shops we used to know

The town we knew in days gone by

We look at now and simply sigh

For a coat or a hat a skirt or a blouse

There was Paige’s, Johnny Modes or London House

Birtles and Bickers remember those

The Co-op and Harvey’s that posh folk chose

You got wedding stationery from Carlisle printers

And if you needed boots for those long hard winters

Freeman Hardy and Willis or Bunny’s would do

Stylo’s or Simpson’s you had Hiltons too

Redman’s food was all sold loose

With ample choice from which to choose

They sold everything for you to bake

Dried fruit and nuts for your Christmas cake

Drivers and Meadows and Farrands too

Lovely shops that everyone knew

The pile of butter went higher and higher

And cheese was cut with a long thin wire

Hagenbach’s cream puffs were one of the best

Dempster Listers eccles cakes beat all the rest

Anns Pantry’s trifles and Silvios bread

Halfords for cakes when you wanted to wed

You had loads of places to buy your meat

Clarks tomato sausage was hard to beat

Cross’s are still there to this very day

Millions of pies eaten along the way

Worfexes toy shop was a child’s delight

And who could forget the wonderful sight

Of Santa at Christmas at J and B’s store

Going in through the window instead of the door

Jim Brown’s and Diss‘s, Hudson’s and Thornes

Heughan’s chemist would treat your corns

There was Burtons tailors to buy menswear

Cornells, Wards furniture no longer there

Caddy’s ice cream really took the crown

It was an ice cream of great reknown

What a sad day when it went away

Still talked about to this very day

Marks and Spencer and Woolworths always fitted the bill

Then there was Hodgsons up Daisy Hill

Mum bought mint bits from Talk of the Town

Dad went to tripe stall and wofted it down

Dewsbury market was famous, you could buy anything there

Remember Arry Arry with his household ware

Johnsons toffee and fudge set in a tray

A quarter of that really made your day

The Majestic became the Rex, the Regal Essoldo

Five picture houses if you wanted to go

Playhouse, Pioneers and Tudor made up the five

Or you could go to the Empire and see acts live

But nothing ever stays the same

And when old shops closed new ones came

There was Auty’s for records and Strawberry Fayre

Banana Joes and Maxicuts you got everything there

Spectrum sold cards and unusual things

Gales for hats, and for shoes there was Simms

Clintons sold cards for that special day

Buds and Blossoms made flowers in a lovely nosegay

Peels chemist and Bon Marche have both now gone

Though Baileys café goes on and on

H Samuels have gone and sold their last ring

And the tills at Chatters no longer ching

Famous Army Stores, Watson’s and Ethel Austin

The list goes on and its quite a sin

That when shops close now no new ones come

Shopping in Dewsbury is no longer fun

Wakefield seems to have got things right

Their Trinity Walk is quite a sight

And with the White Rose a few miles away

Has Dewsbury really had its day

All shopping centres now look just the same

And maybe that’s a bit of a shame

But at least they bring jobs and help towns grow

What will happen to Dewsbury I really don’t know

Do we need a Mary Portas to come to our town

Before any more of our traders leave town

What’s Dewsbury’s future what is its fate

Something has to be done or is it too late?