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For bohemians everywhere

Stapley’s Shoe Shop

Priory Avenue resident writes (Sep 2008)

Dear Sir,

I’ve been trying to remember precisely where, in Bohemia Road, Stapley’s Shoe Shop was. I have clear memories from the period during WWII and just after, of going to Mr Stapley’s shop with my mother and two sisters. At the time we lived near The Ridge in Landsview Terrace, (between Grange Road and Hillside Road, then just a muddy track) and we used to walk – over fields –  to Old Road Road which had a locked gate across it, then along ‘Tingle’s Dingle’ (the wooded glen with the stream running under St Helen’s Road), and finally across Alexandra Park to reach the prime shopping centre of Bohemia! I also remember that my mother paid in regular amounts to Stapley’s Shoe Club, the sums being entered onto a savings card which she carried with her and presented each time she made a deposit. When there was enough on the card, she could buy one of us a pair of shoes. Savings Clubs were quite normal for those days. We also belonged to one run by Henson’s Stores at the Harrow, on The Ridge, small regular payments being made so that we could afford the luxury of a chicken (!) for Christmas.  Priory Avenue resident, (name & address supplied).

Can anyone else remember Stapley’s, and where, precisely, it was situated in Bohemia Road?


Sheila Reece writes (Oct 2008)

Dear Sir, regarding your query [Letters page, Sept ‘08 issue] about the whereabouts of Stapley’s Shoe Club. Because my mother was working during the war, I spent all my school holidays with my aunt who used to live at 122 Bohemia Road, when it was Vinnecombe’s Builders, before Outdoorsman. From what I can remember, if you turn left at the bottom of Newgate Road, first was King Brothers & Potts (stationers), then Henry King & Feaist (bakers) [now the offices of Bohemia Village Voice]. Then, I believe it was Stapley’s Shoe Shop & Men’s Outfitters. My father bought many a pair of shoes there, also other clothes. I also remember a ladies outfitters further along the road, near where the post office used to be. What a super little book the Bohemia Voice is – keep up the good work.
Sheila Reece, Winterbourne Close.

Peter Powell writes (Oct 2008)

Dear Sir, regarding Stapley’s Shoe Shop, I remember the sequence of shops between Newgate Road and Salisbury Road as follows: Henry King (stationers), Feaists, Ward’s (clothes shop), Thurlow’s sweetshop, (Sergeant Thurlow, the copper; the shop was run by Mrs Thurlow), then the passage, Bob Cole (pease pudding and faggots), Stapley’s Shoe Shop, Adam’s fish and chip shop, the Co-op, Porter’s sweet shop, and finally, Percy Butler (hardware) on the corner of Salisbury Road and Bohemia Road.

Peter Powell, Salisbury Road.

Stapley Shoe Shop advertisement

Stapley Shoe Shop advertisement

Thanks, Sheila and Peter. Another reader very kindly brought in this ad from ‘St Peter’s Parish Magazine’ of March 1937, which places Stapley’s firmly at no. 91, Bohemia Rd. Ed.


Mrs Vinall writes (Nov 2008)

Dear Sir, I was born in Salisbury Road in 1921. I remember Bohemia Road so well. The corner shop next to corner of Police Station was Butler’s Emporium. Then Hickeys next door where we had our ½ penny clearing out bags for sweets. Then I think it was Mr Coles for pease pudding & faggots. Very near to that was fish & chip shop and Mr Stapley was in between. Further along, the sewing machine shop and another sweet shop, turned, I think, into a cafe. Further along was Mrs Potter’s ladies’ underwear etc.

Then a large gents outfitters, double-fronted. Then bakers with Mazawattee tea poster. Then King Bros & Ports on corner of Newgate Road. On the opposite corner was Mense Smith, cycles, etc, a hair dresser took the place of a large shop, ladies wear, etc. At the back of the shops was a corridor to reach the other Smiths shop. Post offfice, etc in this block. Stapley’s was on opposite side, Home & Colonial grocers, also Caveys grocers further on. I wonder if anyone can remember the Clinic, where we dreaded to go, near to the entrance to Alexandra Park?

Mrs Vinall, Clifton Court, Holmesdale Gardens.


Vic Chalcraft writes (Dec 2008)

Dear Sir,

Mrs Vinall’s letter: the double fronted gents’ outfitters was Wards and also associated with Stapley’s Shoe Shop was a Bill Sirius who lived in Newgate Road. As for the Clinic on the corner of Upper Park and Upper Clarence Roads, this was also the lair of a Mr Penfold, schools’ dentist, much hated by school children. Opposite was the residence of the local midwife and district nurse. On a modern note, how many people realise that Bob, of ESK fame, started his business in a little shop in Bohemia Road?

Vic Chalcraft, Aldborough Road.








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