High Street Medicine


Image license: CC0

About

Ronald E. Artes was born in 1902 and lived with his family in North London and Surrey, before moving to Wimbledon as an adult. His father, Arthur, worked in a grocery store in Highgate before starting his own in Redhill, Surrey. Ronald wrote about his memories of the these shops.

‘On one occasion I had the opportunity to travel round the Highgate neighbourhood with my dad. He had to take over the grocery delivery round, I presume, when the regular chap was sick. Very few people seemed to visit the premises to do their shopping; practically all orders were delivered and different ‘rounds’ were covered throughout the week.’

‘In 1912, when I was ten, we moved to Redhill, Surrey. Dad had decided to try his own business and had found a corner shop on Frenches Road. This was a typical village type ‘cash stores’ selling almost anything; from groceries and provisions, patent medicines, haberdashery, paraffin, and candles to chamberpots! … I remember Dad used to open the shop at 7:30am and on Saturdays rarely closed before 10pm, sometimes even later – no ‘Shops Hours Act’ in those days. Everything, almost, had to be weighed and wrapped. The grocer had to buy all the paper and bags for packaging tea, sugar, biscuits, dried fruits, batter, butter, margarine, eggs, even tobacco and the dozens of other items we buy ready packed today in the supermarket and take for granted.’

In collection(s): Merton Heritage Centre - Common Sense Project - Handling Connection 1

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