Pontefract Civic Society has been asked to help gather memories of shops in Pontefract which may then be considered for inclusion in an exhibition in Pontefract Museum. The details of the request is below, though a reply by return is required. Could you please respond to our Chairman by this Sunday evening, 28th Jan.
Pontefract Museum will re-open with a new photographic exhibition called Sale of the Century – 100 Years of Shopping in Pontefract. Wakefield Council will be using photographs from the collections as well as some objects from iconic stores of the past to tell a visual story of the town centre through the last 100 years. Aside from Sale of the Century we are totally revamping Pontefract Museum with significant new displays, museum cases and interactives.For comparison, the civic society will be providing a few contemporary photographs from existing records.For the exhibition to be complete, some personal reminiscing to go alongside the images, would be appreciated. If civic society members would be generous enough to share a couple of lines recalling a memory of shopping in Pontefract, that would be appreciated. This sort of thing is where the interest is, and the human aspect adds another layer of meaning to the exhibition, rather than just stating what shop was where etc. If anyone is willing to share a memory, it will be a great addition to the exhibition and it doesn’t necessarily have to be attached to a specific photo, just a memory of the shops & people. We can anonymise these on request too. I’ve included a couple of examples of the type of things we really need and these memories can be from any time in the last 100 years up to today…I remember Woolworth’s amazing Pick an’ Mix Counters and buying the latest 80s disco records in the Kiosk shop on Horsefair. As a teenager I got all my snazzy 1980s outfits from Burtons as the nearest C&A was in Wakefield – MichaelIn the 1970s I can remember pestering my parents for weeks to buy me a little tin globe of the world that sat on a toy stall in the corner of Pontefract Market hall. They eventually they gave in and bought the globe for me which I still treasure to this day – KarenI loved going into England’s Ironmongers, it was a long shop stacked high with every imaginable bit of hardware. It had a great fusty smell. I used to buy individual screws and nails to make my own toy trains out of old tin cans – DavidAs a child, I fidgeted for hours at Mary’s fabrics stall on Cornmarket while my mum caught up on all the latest gossip – Michael
On behalf of Wakefield Museums, Wakefield Council

23 thoughts on “Memories of Pontefract Shops

  1. Pamela Mercer says:

    I remember that as a nine year old in the early 1950s my mother sent me to Hague’s in Cornmarket where I tried on dresses. Having chosen the one I liked most I took it home ‘on approval’. It was paid for when my mother was next in town.

  2. Madge Beaumont says:

    My lasting memory is the pride shopkeepers took in their premises in the 50’s . Every morning as “junior ” I was required to sweep the shop front, dust the windows and polish with brasso the door fittings. This was in Beastfair and all the other juniors would be doing the same thing up and down the street, the street always looked clean a d tidy.

  3. Jamie Pearson says:

    My grandfather started Pearsons pet and garden centre. It started in Shoemarket, moved to the end of Ropergate and finally ended up opposite the Courthouse (just around the corner from Halfords). My dad, Bill Pearson, worked in the shop for many, many years. I used to help during the school holidays and every Saturday. One funny memory was a complaint from Woolworths. They asked us to stop selling mice to kids as they were buying them from the shop and letting them go inside Woolworths and creating havoc amongst the customers !!!!

    • David Hookham says:

      Hi Jamie! I lived at 7 Middle Row Pontefract which was demolished in the 70s to make way for the Saltergate Row of shops. I wrote on one of the Pontefract websites about Middle Row and one person said that they ‘remembered a fish and chip shop on Middle Row next door to Pearsons Pet Shop. Can you confirm that your fathers shop was on Middle Row and if so have you any memories to add about Middle Row or photos? Thank you in anticipation!

    • Geoffrey Whitehead says:

      I knew your Dad very well, a real good guy. We had the sweet and tobacconist shop, opposite Franky Hiorns,

  4. Maureen byram says:

    I was little in the late 60’s and nattered my mam for a pet mouse.my sister took me to Pearson’s pet shop,I think it would be shoemarket.they had little turtles in a shallow tank but I wanted a white mouse.mr Pearson said it was a male.that was a Saturday,on the Sunday the “male” had a litter of chocolate brown babies.it’d be called a buy one get ten free now.we had budgies,hamsters,goldfish,all from Pearson’s pet shop.the shop near the courthouse had a parrot that talked to you when you walked in.

  5. David Myers says:

    Does anyone remember the record shop early/ mid 70’s Pontefract. It was in the little square near the County Court & opposite Kiosk { I know Kiosk sold records but this shop was a specialist shop }

  6. Mandy Cassell says:

    Does anyone know the name of the china shop that was up near where the taxi rank is near the old court house please. X

  7. Sarah-Jane Martin says:

    I am desperately trying to find a photo of my Grandfather, George Melville Bamford Shaw, married to Mary (nee Rashleigh) for my Mother who doesn’t have one as he left the family home when she was small. I think ran a sweet shop in / near Pontefract but they lived in Normanton. I am just reaching out to any family or friends on his new side that may be able to help. I would be forever grateful, SarahJane

    • David Hookham says:

      Hi Sarah
      I would be happy to do some research for you if you are not a member of Ancestry. I had a quick look and found your grandfathers record of being interred in a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp. (There would be no charge as I do it as a hobby!)

    • David Hookham says:

      Hi Sarah!

      Not sure if my last comment sent. If you are not a member of Ancestrr I would be happy to do some research for you about your grandfather. I had a quick look to see if any member had posted a photo and found his record of internment in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp!!! Let me know if you’ d like me to help you (there would be no charge as I do it as a hobby!

      • Sarah-Jane Martin says:

        Hi David
        That is so kind of you thank you. This is a bit of an epic tale – I know quite a bit about him being interned in Sumatra etc as my Mother had some vague details which my Father expanded on in Ancestry but I am trying to find a photo of him this way – I have tried Facebook Pontefract page too in an attempt to get in contact with my second cousins who I have never met (they didn’t know this side of the family existed until my Grandafather’s funeral in 1986! – hence I am trying everything except Ancestry so my Parents don’t find out I am trying to get in contact with the “Other Side”). Mum has written to the RAF but they no longer hold photo records.
        If you have any info on how on earth I may be able to find a photo I would be hugely grateful

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.