In the neighbourhood: Shops of the year

A couple of weeks ago when a group of us sat around in the Everyman Bistro and high handedly handed out the ‘Liverpool Awards’ we were all a little surprised, but very delighted, when the accolade ‘Shop of the Year’ went to the group of three picture perfect traditional style shops on Allerton Road, near us.

So this last Saturday Sarah and I went along to do what you’re supposed to do in award winning shops. Buy things from them. Beginning with the Fishmonger’s.Fish windowShops of the Year01The picture at the top of a full window display is taken from their own Twitter site as us turning up on a Saturday afternoon meant that most of that day’s catch had already been sold. This place specialises in ‘Fresh Fish’ remember.

Shops of the Year03 Shops of the Year02Going in, Sarah tells Brian and his sister of their joint victory. They seem bewildered but delighted nonetheless and we are rewarded with a brief stroll through the history of fishmongery in Liverpool. Whose shop was where, who’d been swallowed up by which supermarket, and how few shops like this one are left now.Shops of the Year04Shops of the Year03Brian’s family took over this shop in 1966, when he was 6 years old. Going on to run this one and several others. Now they just run this one and it seems the family tradition of passing it on to the next generation won’t be happening next time around.

‘He’s not interested’ Brian tells us. ‘He has done work here but he doesn’t like it. The early mornings, the cold. But that’s how it is. Up at five every morning to go to the market and buy what best, what’s fresh. That’s what makes people prefer buying their fish from here. They can see how fresh it is, the quality of it.’

Shops of the Year05Brian shows us a photo of the row of shops at the time they were moving in.Shops of the Year06

A closer look. Allerton Road, 1966.

A closer look. Allerton Road, 1966.

Even then the one at the far right end of the row was a butcher’s. And he tells us that until just before this time the one next door, now Dougie’s Greengrocer’s, had been Allerton Branch Library. Before the current building was put up further along the road in the mid 60s.

“A while back me and Dougie were changing the sign on his shop, and there’s still a sign for the library underneath.”

The same row of shops today.

The same row of shops today.

And here is Dougie's, with the butcher's just next to it.

And here is Dougie’s, with the butcher’s just next to it.

A proper and splendid greengrocer's.

A proper and splendid greengrocer’s.

Known only officially as 'Adam's Apple'

Known only officially as ‘Adam’s Apple’

Next we go into B. Clarke and Family.

Next we go into B. Clarke and Family.

Even as a vegetarian I can appreciate the quality here and the friendly efficiency with which the place is run.

Even as a vegetarian I can appreciate the quality here and the friendly efficiency with which the place is run.

On my regular walks past it always seems to be busy and does a roaring trade at lunchtimes with its hot sandwiches.

And all three of these are thriving within 300 yards of one of Liverpool's biggest Tesco's.

And all three of these are thriving within 300 yards of one of Liverpool’s biggest Tesco’s.

So they're obviously doing something right.

So they’re obviously doing something right.

Also on this picture perfect row is a baker's shop.

Also on this picture perfect row is a baker’s shop.

Sadly though it didn't win a Liverpool Award.

Sadly though it didn’t win a Liverpool Award.

It does seem to do well, to be fair. But I’ve never thought much of its bread, though Sarah is occasionally tempted by one of its ‘cakes of the 60s’ as I call its range of chocolate éclairs and continental slices.

Just around the corner Brian’s told us about a bit of history.

This used to be a stables.

This used to be a stables.

And the nothing special block of offices next to it replaced what had previously been a cowhouse. Sadly now lost to time.

One more honourable mention while we’re along here. To the Chandler’s empire.

Their 'Home' shop.

Their ‘Home’ shop.

And their 'Supercentre'

And their ‘Supercentre’

Both quality additions to life along here for the best part of twenty years now. The Supercentre operating out of what was once the back of a Tesco.

We turn for home.

Passing the shop I still stubbornly refer to as 'Woolies'. One of six Tesco's of varying types within easy walking distance of where we live.

Passing the shop I still stubbornly refer to as ‘Woolies’. One of six Tesco’s of varying types within easy walking distance of where we live.

Next arriving at this.

Next arriving at this.

This, Beatles fans, is ‘the shelter in the middle of the roundabout’ mentioned in ‘Penny Lane’ – which is where we are now. For several recent years it was a shut down café called ‘Sergeant Pepper’s’. Then a couple of years ago someone new took it over and turned it into, well, this.

It's apparently going to be a restaurant.

It’s apparently going to be a restaurant.

And they've knocked through to add an upper floor.

And they’ve knocked through to add an upper floor.

But work happens only occasionally.

But work happens only occasionally for some reason?

Making me wonder if it will ever be finished.

Making me wonder if it will ever be finished.

I last complained about it on here in November last year. Since when it’s gained new windows, some painting, plastering and concrete. Let’s hope by next year it’s done and open and I can give it a bit of positive publicity.

Like this, the neighbourhood's best shop sign.

Like this, the neighbourhood’s best shop sign.

It constantly changes colour, to attract and delight its market of keen young dancers.

Passing the old Chalkin's Bakery, now Schmooze, we arrive home.

Passing the old Chalkin’s Bakery, now Schmooze, we arrive home.

And I rob another photograph off Brian’s Twitter site to end the post on a fishy note.

All fridged up and cleaned up. The end of the day.

All fridged up and cleaned up. The end of the day.

4 thoughts on “In the neighbourhood: Shops of the year

  1. Joe Farrag

    Great stuff, our 3 favourite shops up there, Brian’s our main Fish supplier, with the best smoked anchovies on the planet, Well done to all 3 deserving local shops (albeit about 2 miles away baaaaaaaa

    Reply
  2. Helen Devries

    Proper shops! I’d be very happy shopping there…and seeing the box of Arbroath smokies am now trying to persuade a friend coming out in February to abandon what she wants to pack in her suitcase in favour of a box of smoked heaven…

    Reply
  3. Andrew W.

    Looks like Allerton Road is looking up. It looked very sad last time I was there. I recall there was a fish shop on the bridge in Rose Lane called Hannah’s. Mum used to go there when I was growing up for our weekly dose of fish. Stewart Hannah was a top bloke but must be long retired now.

    Reply

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