Saturday, 2 January 2016

With Reg and David on Chorlton station in 1925 and memories of a book stall in Varese

This is just one of those short little stories which feature some of the people and an unusual scene from the 1920s.

We are on Chorlton railway station beside the W.H.Smith’s bookstall and it is 1925.

On the right is David Ball who was the manager and on the left is Reg Croton who ran a taxi and lived on Sandy Lane.

By the time this picture was taken Reg was 36 and was running the family business.

His father would have made the move from horse drawn cab to motor car and was listed in the 1911 telephone book at Chorlton-c-H 481, CROTON, Chas, Coach Proprietor ...Sandy Lane.

And by another of those links with the past the family home had been a farmhouse and by the 1920s may have been a hundred years old.

But it is also the bookstall that fascinates me.  In their way these kiosks have changed little. To quote another famous retailer the simple approach was to “pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap.”  There is here everything the train traveller might want, need or just be seduced into buying.   So, there are piles of books, pencils, crayons, what look like paint brushes, and piles of books and magazines, including the latest issue of the Strand Magazine with a story by P.G.Woodhouse.

And as ever it is the adverts that draw you into the period.  Amateur Garden at 2d, with articles on "Bedding Plants, Dahlia Culture and Melons and Tomatoes" which underlines the growing leisure time that some of our new residents could enjoy.  But for me it is the WHS Pen in its smart case that intrigues me along with the ad “BOOKS WE’D LIKE TO BURN”

These old fashioned kiosks on stations have pretty much vanished as railway stations become just long empty and soulless platforms where even the waiting room is now a glass sided box.

But they live on in other places.

At the bottom of the road in Varese close by our usual bus stop is just such a kiosk where everything seems available, including English magazines and hard by the station is an even busier one which has the added bonus of a taxi rank next door.

Pictures; from the Lloyd collection and the collection of Andrew Simpson

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