Michele Fox

‘I am a teacher and mindfulness coach and have lived in St Albans for over 30 years. My father’s family came from Russia and Prussia.  The family had a hardware shop in Jamaica Road, East London. My father told me that it was hard to sell goods because of the war so the family drove to the Potteries, near Stoke, to buy items to resell at an affordable price.' 

 

‘The photo shows my father, Don Sherman, on the left, with his father, Harold, and uncle, Alec, outside the family’s hardware shop in Jamaica Road, East London, in 1953. 

Their business started as a chandler’s, serving the docks, later becoming a furniture, clothing and toy shop. Customers paid small weekly sums to spread the cost. Employees made house-to-house calls, collecting half a crown (12½ pence) a week.’

‘We shopped at the family shop most weeks as children and were allowed to choose a trinket like this one. Paraffin was fetched from the back of the shop to heat our home. One shop sold household cleaning items and trinkets, while the adjoining shop sold clothes and furniture.

Both shops were packed full of goods. Some gangsters lived just along the street.’