Our Century

Days of sheep and sugar pigs

Phyllis Bothwell, Shifnal
Born 1907

Phyllis Bothwell

"Having lived in Shifnal for 92 years I have seen many changes. Most of the old black and white buildings have disappeared as have the shops of character.

"For instance when I was a child, I remember a small hardware shop in Broadway owned by a man called Tinker Billy. There were many such characters in this little market town. There was a butcher's shop with stable doors and living quarters at the side, owned by a man called Lambert Lawrence who was single and lived with his two spinster sisters.

"At the corner of Cheapside, a chemist shop was owned by Mr Guy, a little man with grey hair and side whiskers. He was very clever and people used to visit him with all sorts of ailments.

"Along the same street we had a Town Hall, a pub called The Talbot, police cells, a small china and toy shop and a few cottages. In the Square there was a big house for the stationmaster and a gent's outfitters owned by a Mr Catchpole.

"Down Church Street was a small sweet shop owned by two elderly ladies where as children we could buy sugar frogs and all sorts of goodies for a penny.

"Aston Street used to have a big cattle market every Monday with farmers from surrounding areas buying and selling cattle, sheep and pigs.

"Once a year we had a big street carnival, now revived. When I was a child it had stage shows, freak sideshows and so on. I would have been about five when I remember a man with a brown dancing bear standing in the Square on Carnival Day. So many memories, too many to recall, of old Shifnal now swept away.