Mouse Hill Stores
When I wrote about Wilkes Foundry recently, I knew that I would have to follow that article with this.....
Mouse Hill Stores back in the 1950's when it was kept by Mr and Mrs Brookes
Photograph above courtesy of Mrs June Salt (daughter of Floss and Ern Brookes
Back in June 2002, Issue 10 of Pelsall Times, I published an article about Mouse Hill Stores, thanks to Mrs June Salt who is the daughter of Floss and Ern Brookes. June had very clear and fond memories of the shop and its connection with Wilkes Foundry.
In the early 1900's Mouse Hill Stores was known as Birches Shop and was kept by Kate Birch. During wartime, the shop sold groceries, sweets and drapery on ration and beer by the pull.
In the early 1950's, Kate Birch retired and Floss and Ern Brookes took over the shop and it was no longer called Birches Stores.
Mr Ern Floss at the counter in the 1950's
Mouse Hill Stores, 'Birches Shop' was owned from the early 20th century and possibly earlier by the Birches. From what my Grandmother told me, there were three brothers and one sister. I think they were called Albert, Will and Frank and their sister's name was Kate.
My Grandmother helped at the shop for years, but when Kate ran it, my gran spent most of her time in there.
Kate was a maiden lady and my memories of her are very good.
I know that during the war, Kate would give my gran some treats for the family and they were welcomed when times were hard. I lived with my gran through the six years of war while my Dad was in the RAF.
June and her Mum Floss in the Shop
The premises belonged to the Coopes as did the cottages next to it. I believe that some of the cottages may have belonged to Mr Wilkes.
When my parents took over the shop they made various improvements and the customer base was enhanced by Clockmill.
The Cottage seen on the post next to the shop belonged to a large farmhouse which stood next door.
Wilkes Foundry surrounded the stores and was owned by Mr Wilkes.
Mr Wilkes was a tall distinguished man with white hair. He used to bring the keys to my Grandad, who acted as a kind of 'night watchman.' He would do his rounds before he went to bed, and I remember he used to take the accumulators for the wireless to the foundry for topping up.
June and her father, Ern
Wilkes Foundry was a busy place, and the men who worked there used to arrive on bicycles. Finishing time was something like the 'Tour de France' on Foundry Lane when all the cyclists eager to get home sped past in all directions up Mouse Hill, down Allens Lane and Foundry Lane etc.
The shop was handy for them for snacks and cigarettes, etc and we also supplied some items for the canteen.
When Mr Wilkes no longer ran it, Wilkes Foundry was managed by Mr Turner, who I believe was the son in law.
As shown on the map below, we had an air raid shelter. This was all made of iron and was underground. I think it was made by Wilkes Foundry.
Wilkes Foundry and Floss and Ern's Shop in the 1950's
Mouse Hill Stores in 2002
If you would like to share your memories of Wilkes Foundry or Mouse Hill Stores, why not drop me a line?