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 – Michael

In 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 – Karen

I 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 – David

As 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

3 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 !!!!

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