POETS’ CORNER

SHEPTON MALLET

When I was young I went with my Mum
To Shepton on a double decker bus.
We went to the Co-op at the bottom of town
To place an order – to be delivered to us.

I was fascinated to watch the cashier in her box
Receive money sent on an overhead line
From the counter where goods were purchased
And the change then whizzed back – in no time.

I remember the other shops with nostalgia:
Bowdens and Hobbs Bros, come to mind,
Where rows of tins and hessian bags
Displayed tea, flour, and dried fruit of every kind.

Everything was weighed on scales and bagged
And often we would be pleased to see
Bags of broken biscuits going cheap
Which we dunked at home in our tea.

Henleys was the ‘departmental’ store
Where ladies’ every need could be met
From knicker elastic, pins and underwear
To the most fashionable coat and hat.

The men did their shopping in the High Street
At Thomas Laing or H G Fish,
Helliker’s and Ron Miller for their haircuts
If a short back and sides was their wish

Boots and Watkins Chemists relieved our ills,
Brittens the butcher displayed meat on hooks.
Haskins and Stephensons for our furniture
And crockery and pictures were bought at Cooks.

The Bazaar in the High Street was an experience
RUn by the Miss Witcombes’ I recall
In their woollen hats and mittens
They could sell you anything at all.

Frisbys and Hoopers supplied boots and shoes
And did the repairs as well
Hobleys and Barnes for our household needs
They had wicks, mantles and fork handles to sell!

The florist in the Market Square was Lily Hope
And sometimes for a special treat
We would go to Baker’s Fish & Chip Shop
And sit in the restaurant – if there was a seat!

The Regal Cinema situated in Paul Street
For entertainment it did not lack.
Children sat in front for the Saturday Club
And as teenagers we sat at the back!

We saved the ‘divi’ and paid by cash then.
No credit cards to get us in debt.
No supermarkets or computer shops.
This once was Shepton – I’ll never forget.

Gwenda Brock

(This page last updated on 08/02/2015)