William (Bill) James Moody owned the shop on the left of the photo. It sold wardrobes, sideboards, cabinets, brass coal scuttles, shop counters, coal scuttles, and odds and ends in wooden boxes that spilled out onto the pavement. He'd collect heavy items by horse and cart. He often sat outside with his collie dog. The cafe on the right used to be the Green Man Hotel. There were many cafes for working people.
Hunslet remembered
We got most of our shopping at the Co-op, because of the Divi. I still remember our number, 100577. The store was a fascinating shop with several counters for different products. Tea and sugar and dried foods. Bread counter with fruit teacakes and plain. Bacon with enormous pieces both green and smoked just waiting to be sliced from thick to wafer thin. Ham on another machine that whined when slicing, cheese on a board covered with cloth and a wire to cut through the large slabs of cheddar. There were many, many items too numerous to mention. The shop had all-wooden counters and walls, with a large piece of marble on one counter for butter. It was so interesting watching the sugar being weighed, then put into rough blue bags that were shaped and made from scratch. The blue paper from the sugar bag was re-used and made into a cone shape and pinned round our light bulb for a shade. Very dangerous when you look back at the things we used to do. Tea was packed similar to sugar. Butter was vigorously bashed with damp wooden pats that left ridges, and then wrapped up in greaseproof paper. Cheese was nearly always cut into neat triangles rather like the strange wedge shaped buildings in Hunslet. The cheese was wrapped perfectly in waxed paper without a single crease.
The large fresh loaves were such a temptation that I was sometimes tortured into nibbling the corners by the delicious smell. I then got a clout from my Mam for trying all different excuses why the corners of the bread was missing. I told the truth in the end anyway because Mam said she knew if I was lying by looking at my elbows, and I believed her for many years, so I rarely told a fib, only a little white lie to avoid trouble. Besides, it was hard work to remember what you said if the subject came up, and that way you avoided punishment. My worst punishment would be that I was not allowed to read my library book before bed. There was also a clothing department. Next door there was a separate butcher's shop; the manager was a very cheeky, flirty man but he had all the women laughing with his chat. You needed to laugh with the miserable rations of meat that we had. I had to ask the manager for kidneys and ask could he please leave the suet on so we could have a suet pudding. If he was in a good mood, he would be generous and put in a little more suet for my cheek, so then we could have dumplings as well. I would plead for meaty bones for my darling Lassie and he said he bet it was to make a stew; well sometimes it was, but Lassie got stew as well as the bones to chew on!

At the back of the Co-op there was a blacksmith's where some of the dray horses would get new shoes. That was a sight to see: the enormous great hairy hooves being lifted, put between the man's knees, pulling off the old shoes and bashing bits of nails out and filed, then a burnt, acrid smell of the burning hoof as the red hot, shaped horseshoe was put on to make the shape for the new shoe to fit. Beaten on the anvil, then reheated, plunged into a bucket of cold water, the shoe was hammered on with large great flat nails. These nails were bent over and filed off when they came through the hoof and that was that. Most of the horses just endured this placidly while munching food in their nosebag, or having a drink of water. You would sometimes get a difficult horse that tried to resist going into the forge and his hooves would make sparks and clank dangerously on the cobblestones when he tried to back up as he didn’t want new shoes. The men would usually get round the horse by bribery, patting and talking to them in a soothing way.

Audrey Ann King (nee Naylor) was born in 1935 and lived in Bridges Place, off Church Street.
                    © Audrey Ann King (nee Naylor)
The old Co-op buildings at the corner of Church Street and Grove Road (photo 1970s)
Image copyright of Leeds Library and Information Services
The old Hunslet Parish Church being demolished (photo 1960s)
Moody’s second hand shop on Penny Hill in the 1950s
Mrs. Edith Clayton’s sweet and paper shop was at 142 Church Street, on the corner of Varley Square. There was an old gas street lamp outside and a red pillar box that I bumped into and bashed my nose on in the fog; in those days the fogs were so thick and greeny-grey, you really could not see anything at all, you had to remember your way about. I often said sorry in the wartime blackout to the lamp post or pillar box, thinking it was a person I’d bumped into while I was having my usual daydreams while walking along. Being lost in thought helped when on boring errands or paper rounds, except for tripping or nearly knocking myself out.

Mrs. Clayton had such a variety of things like stamps, writing paper, pen and ink, drawing paper, pencils and envelopes. These items reminded people to write letters and post them outside, giving her a little extra income as she didn’t get a lot out of the children buying sweets for a farthing or tuppence.
Varley Square, Church Street showing Mrs. Clayton's shop. On the extreme left is the door to the fish and chip shop (1950s)
Image copyright of Leeds Library and Information Services
At one time I was able to buy little china ladies top half, with holes around the waist to stitch the skirts on. I think they cost about sixpence. I used to make lavender crinoline ladies and pincushions and sold them for about a shilling. I used to take orders first otherwise I could not have afforded the china lady.

Crayons, and white and coloured chalk for hopscotch and for my spinning tops. Comics, pins, needles, razors, cigarettes, lemonade. Lucky bags with trinkets or tiny toys plus sweets, sherbet suckers, mint imperials, Kali - a bright yellow lemonade powder that you were sold in a cone of paper. You would wet your finger and dip in and suck away. Very tasty but the downside was a bright yellow finger and tongue and lips for quite a long time. Other delights were Pontefract cakes, liquorice laces,  liquorice pipes and the usual allsorts. There were white imitation cigarettes made with a red tip painted on. Large lumps of sticky black liquorice would be put in a lemonade bottle in water to make a drink. This was the raw liquorice used in Pontefract cakes. We spent ages shaking the bottle to get it to dissolve. Inside this little corner shop every inch was filled with shelves for the huge number of assorted sweets in big glass jars and tins. All the walls were covered with toys and posters and bits and pieces.

These little old ladies in our corner shops had a lot to put up with when we arrived with our farthings and halfpennies. If we were lucky we might have thruppence or even a tanner then we would really go to town, so deciding was very serious. We’d try and get as many different sweets and comics as possible. Sometimes you could get a second hand comic or one out of date, four for a penny! Mrs. Clayton’s shop seemed to have a multitude of items, including some newspapers and comics and some magazines. I never did a paper round there so I do not know if she had deliveries. The paper round I did was at Mrs. Caley’s further along past the Sun pub. The Red Letter, Red Star, Oracle, Miracle, Secrets, Knockout, Wizard were just a few of the titles I remember, and Yorkshire Evening News and Post.

You could end up in Mrs. Clayton’s shop for over an hour just looking at everything, and then you’d be told to hurry up as she was fed up with waiting for you to make a choice, or maybe she wanted to close. Panic would then set in and the recriminations would begin for a hasty wrong choice while we were walking back home. We always shared equally and if there was a sweet over and couldn’t be cut in three like a soft jelly baby (I didn’t like eating the head) my Mam would eat it! That sorted that argument out.
Our fish and chip shop right at the end of our street always wafted the most tantalising smells all over our area. Good beef dripping and large white potatoes; I believe King Edwards were mentioned and Majestic as favourites but whatever they were you could not beat the succulent fat, long, crispy yet soft in side, golden chips. People came from all over Hunslet to buy them, as our fish shop was the best. Sometimes I resented this because it meant us locals had to wait in much longer queues. I was partly to blame  for some of the extra custom: wherever I went I would tell people in the Co-op and at tram  stops.

Fish and chips were always cooked fresh in our shop, no warming them up as customers came in. At the end of the day you could get a bargain to use up anything left, as they were continually cooking. Sometimes two pieces for the price of one and all the scraps you could wish for.  

One of the delights that you could have was the scraps of batter kept warm while fat drained off them and liberally sprinkled over your chips. It depended on the mood and generosity at the time how many you got.  A speciality of our fish shop was fishcakes. Not the dreadful  potato and shredded fish mixture in ghastly orange, simulated breadcrumbs. Any one who never had a Hunslet fish cake has missed a culinary delight. Two large thin pieces of potato with either cod or haddock bits in the middle, dunked in the batter and cooked to golden perfection, for tuppence. Chips were a penny and tuppenny portions were reasonably large; small cod 4d,  large sixpence, haddock a penny more depending on size.

Mrs. Farnham, whose beer I used to get from the Sun off licence, would want a double portion of haddock in one piece and no tail, and that cost her one and three (1/3d) and I had to watch it being cooked fresh and I would get tuppence. Although Mrs. Farnham did not like the tail end of the fish, some did. My Grandma Gubby always said the nearer the tail the sweeter the fish but I know it wasn’t as dear as the middle cut with large flakes that fell apart when cooked just right.

Friday night was our fish and chip night, as they were a treat to us. The myth that poor people lived on fish and chips is untrue for us. They were a treat and I would have loved to have had more, instead of rotten old stews and mashed potatoes.

It wasn’t often we had the fish, mostly the fishcake, and at least we got one each plus a large portion of chips and the usual bread and butter. I sometimes would be allowed to get an extra couple of 4d fish, which would be cut in two, and we thought we were lucky and I did not envy anyone at that moment.

I often think of those fish and chips and I can say I have never tasted better fish or chips than the ones dear Mrs Gaines cooked.
© Audrey Ann King (nee Naylor)
© Audrey Ann King (nee Naylor)
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The Co-op Mrs. Clayton's shop The fish and chip shop Moody's second hand shop
Church Street (2)
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Stuart Bailey writes: My great grandfather  Squire Bailey was the proprietor of the Green Man Hotel from c.1898 until 1923. This is a photo of him standing in the entrance around 1916. Over the entrance was a sign depicting Robin Hood in Lincoln Green, hence the Green Man.
Image copyright of Stuart Bailey
The Green Man Hotel
Green Man Hotel around 1916
Image copyright of Stuart Bailey