Proper Shops

The only supermarket I enjoy shopping in is Waitrose. That's either because I'm a snob or because I like spacious aisles, uncluttered checkouts, staff who are both helpful and well-informed, excellent choice of homegrown produce (much of it local) and quality food.

But really I'd much prefer to shop at proper shops. My nearest shop is a Tesco Express and my next nearest shop is a big Tesco (which smells of drains). What I'd really like is a handy high street with a butcher, a baker, a greengrocer, a chemist, a bookshop, a post office an ironmonger and a fishmonger. I do use a traditional butcher but he's a drive away, and the local farmshops are good but again they're a car journey away. I wouldn't mind shopping every day if I had some proper shops handy.

I grew up with just such a high street round the corner. It's still there although most of the independent shops have gone. The high street I remember looked exactly like the one in this Ladybird book. OK, the clothes were a little different, I was small in the late sixties and this book was published in 1958. I must have owned it though because when I found this copy in an Oxfam shop I recognised it immediately.

Aren't the pictures fab? So colourful and so full of detail and so nostalgic. And don't you always wear your best suit, spiffy green shoes and hat when you go shopping? Actually I do wear a hat at the moment but that's because it's so blooming cold.

If you want a closer look at the pictures just click on them and they'll open in another window a lot bigger.

Look at that, live eels! When was the last time you saw those at Tesco?

 I liked seeing my name in a book . I remember a draper's shop just like this one.  Does anyone still use the word 'draper'?

Buying flowers for Mummy.. 


....and a hammer for Daddy. My Dad had a lawn mower just like that one.

Look at the books in the toyshop window. The Farm was another Ladybird favourite of mine.

What a lot of shopping we have done!
and all for 2/6..... that's how much the book cost in 1958

I've uploaded pictures of the whole book on flickr if you'd care to have a look.



  1. Anonymous1:33 pm GMT

    i have that book too, think i bought it years ago at a car boot for our three and the toyshop page was always a favourite, i have lots of the ladybird books, just right for a bedtime story

    love your blog by the way
    Marlene (twink)

  2. I remember this book from my own schooldays and from reading it with my children.

    An interesting aside, M.E. Gagg who wrote it had a sister, taught me when I was eight/nine. An awful woman with favourites - the few 'nice'children in a working class school.

    I wasn't one of them, for an entire year this woman made my life a complete misery.

    Of 100 children only 12 children passed - a truly awful school with only one decent teacher who got me my eleven plus pass.

    All that from one innocent little book!

  3. Anonymous2:06 pm GMT

    Wow, that stirred some memories, my children had that book in the 70's. I too would like to shop in a high street just like that where one could buy real food and get real service. Oh well, guess I have just lived too long.


  4. Please feel free to delete 'that' comment, the word Gagg was the trigger.

    My children loved this book and 'Helping at Home', We must have read them hundreds of times! When the Man's sister's child got to listening age we donated all our Ladybird books - a large cardboard box full.

    Happy days!

  5. Anonymous10:37 am GMT


    Thanks for posting that, I enjoyed it and never thought of childrens books in they way you have shown them. Really enjoying the blog btw, hope you keep it going.

    Linda32 at MSE

  6. Caroline6:19 pm GMT

    Hi Sue, I think we must be about the same age, I too was small in the late 60s, and I vividly remember that book, it really gladdened my heart to see those familiar pictures! How nice to find such treasure in an Oxfam shop! I always look for Ladybird books in charity shops but rarely find them, I think they are quite sought after these days. I bought a set of the nursery rhyme books online, and they were great favourites with my children when they were younger. I loved the slightly surreal illustrations.


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