I received an interesting piece in the week from reader Ian who’d found a couple of posts I’s written around 2011 about the (still derelict) old bungalow at the old driveway to Shire Oak Quarry, just of Shire Oak Hill on the A461 near Sandhills.
It turns out that Ian lived in the house for a while, but not only that, he remembers his father setting up the shop Toms Cabin, a carpet shop in the spot formerly occupied by Ladies Hairdresser May Brown. May was, of course, wife of noted barber Tommy Brown who used to operate from a shed in the back yard of May’s shop.
Ian has written a lovely piece about those days, and what he remembers of them including a wonderful artefact of Tommy’s. I thank him profusely for his wonderful contribution and will say here and now that I would welcome any further memories or images – this is wonderfully well written and it’s a joy to be able to feature it here.
Love your blog 🙂
I grew up in Brownhills, I was 8 when we moved here from Wales in February 1974.
My Dad was the Area Manger for Topmix, Hoveringham Group. We lived in the bungalow in the quarry lane. I know a fair bit about that house and surrounding gardens/orchard. There was even a tennis court there back in the day! The lawn turf was from Warwick Castle grounds. You have a pic of the bungalow in its current state on your blog. I signed up and commented but not sure it’s gone live yet [It has – Bob].
Anyway, in 1978 my Dad was made redundant so he bought a shop on the High Street.
May Brown was retiring and selling the hairdressers shop, No 22 High Street. Her husband was Tom Brown and he had a barber business behind the hairdressers. It was originally nothing but a little shed but later he had an asbestos building erected which was quite big. When we got the shop it was still as it was when he was running the business there. I’m afraid the only thing I have from back then is this poster I have attached. Yes, it’s really from Tom Browns barber shop! Don’t know why I kept it, I think I took it to show my grandparents in Manchester so it just ended up in all the stuff I’ve kept over the years.
What’s funny is that my Dad already had a name for the shop before he bought it. Toms Cabin. Mrs Brown couldn’t believe it. It was a carpet shop.
I remember Mrs Brown had a sheltie dog called Sheena.
The Wolsey car they owned was still in the garage behind the shop when we bought the shop in 1978. I don’t think Mrs a Brown drove. It hadn’t been moved for years but old Mrs Brown used to have someone charge the battery and start the engine every so often. A guy who my Dad knew bought it off Mrs Brown.
I remember the lady that owned the fruit and veg shop was called Marie. She had a mustard Rover P6 but was a shocking driver…
The shop in between the fruit and veg shop and Mrs Browns hairdressers was bricked up for years. (Wood Brothers bike shop was the other side of us across the alleyway by the way). We eventually bought the bricked up shop, No 22 I think it was, from the council and extended the carpet shop. When we knocked through it was like a time capsule. It was a newsagent/sweetshop. I was only a kid but I remember everything was from the 60’s. Magazines had Elvis and the Beatles on them. Sweets still in jars, cards on the counter with hair combs on them etc. Unfortunately my dad didn’t really think any of it was of value so it all got skipped by the builders 🙁
I’ve got some pics somewhere of the shop when it was Toms Cabin and also the later extended Carpets and Curtains by Toms Cabin.
I can remember a bunch of stuff about the High St shops etc if you’re interested in anything particular.
Hope this was interesting for you.
All the best,