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.The 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.
Going 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.Brian’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.’
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.”
On my regular walks past it always seems to be busy and does a roaring trade at lunchtimes with its hot sandwiches.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It constantly changes colour, to attract and delight its market of keen young dancers.
And I rob another photograph off Brian’s Twitter site to end the post on a fishy note.