The Changing Face of Gosforth

Sign for Gosforth Traders

It is the natural characteristic of the High Street shops that they come and go. Communities grow and develop and demand different things. The trick is in getting the balance right between old and the new — also, the variety of business types. Situations change, and during times of change, we can sometimes find clues to our High Street heritage.

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Penny Plain Gosforth High Street
Penny Plain

We recently took this photograph of the uncovered signage on what used to be Bowens Lighting shop on Gosforth High Street. The refurbishment of the shop front which allowed the old signage for Penny Plain to be seen for a short while prompted lots of fond memories. Many of us remember shopping in the popular women’s clothing store before it closed.

It is the characteristic also of the corner shop to come and go as businesses respond to the market demand of local customers. We have previously mentioned the history of Gosforth’s Kelly’s Corner. We took this photograph during the redevelopment of 151 Salters Road. The premises known as Gosforth Traders have a new vocation. Property works uncovered the signage for Hillary’s Bakers and Confectioners.

151 Salters Road Greggs of Gosforth traded from this address Kelly's corner
Old shop signage Hillary's Cinfectioners 151 Salters Road. Kelly's Corner

Although we all know this site as being, (for many years), one shop, Gosforth Traders, started life as two separate shops. The first businesses to trade from these premises in 1905/6 were T W Little Grocers and F Hannah Remnant Dealer at 151 and 153 respectively. By 1906 F Hannah (at 153) had moved on, and Mrs A Moore Confectioner had moved in. The Grocer (at 151) changed hands around 1910 to Clayton and Co.

153 Salters Road

At this point, the status quo remained until the middle of the war years. In 1916 Mrs Moore’s Confectionery left, and J O’Dowd Confectioner moved in at 153 Salters Road. O’Dowd confectioners appear to have come from Simonside View. They stayed until 1924/5 when another business from Simonside View moved in, namely, T S Dewell keeping the same trade in confectionery. These two families were related more information on this can be found with this link – Just Another Century.

Greggs of Gosforth

Greggs of Gosforth and Kelly's Corner

After a very respectable 25 years trading, Dewell confectioners moved out, and Hillary’s Bakers and Confectioners moved in. By this time it was 1950, and some of us may remember the shop? Hillary’s must have ceased trading from these premises around 1968 because directories record that the well known Newcastle favourite bakers, Greggs traded at 153 Salters Road during this year. However the next year 1969 Greggs are registered as trading from 69 Gosforth High Street.

151 Salters Road

During the years between 1910 and 1975, 151 Salters Road saw three more changes in traders, each keeping a similar line. 1922 – 1934, J C Reah Grocery, 1934 -1939, W Bohill Fruitier, and 1939 – 1975, A B Round Frutiers. (Our research stopped at 1975 A B Round may have been there for longer).

Milburn’s Leaflet

Old leaflet found in an adjoining wall at Canny Crafty Gosofrth

When Canny Crafty made alterations to their premises at 147 and 149 Salters road in 2019 they found an old advertising leaflet in the wall partition. The leaflet had presumably been there since the property was built around 1904. The leaflet provides another tantalising glimpse into the past. Milburn’s Chemist was situated in Northumberland street in the early 1900s and held a host of mind-boggling stock!

“Recognising our heritage can be an important factor in the generation of new business. Heritage value provides added interest for investors as well as an anchor to help maintain existing business.”

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