Anglo-Saxon | 3

This picture of the shops located in Albert Road, Levenshulme, has been posted and commented on before. In addition, I know they are located diagonally across from Marshall Road with the entrance to Levenshulme Railway Station being a stones throw away to the right of the picture. However, as I understand it the picture is from 1971 and missing from the photo is the grocery shop where I used to work as a delivery boy on Saturdays. I am assuming, therefore, that the grocery shop was later replaced some time between after I left Levenshulme in 1963 and when this photograph was taken in 1971. Can anyone from that period/living nearby enlighten me and in fact recall the name of the grocery shop?

It was probably back in 1962/3 when I started this Saturday delivery job with the intention of accumulating funds with which to kit out our Bomb Shelter HQ (see other posting). The shop was also indirectly responsible for setting me on the road of smoking, a habit I have thankfully long since given up. How so you might ask. Well, the grocer would supply the customer (usually the housewife) with a little book in which to write down her grocery requirements with the book having to be returned to the grocer by the latest, Friday evening. He then compiled the order placing products into a cardboard box. Items such as sugar were delivered to the grocer in large sacks and he in turn would place the required order volume into a packet. Sometimes I ended up doing this job as it was extremely time consuming.

Anyway, in the same way cigarettes could be ordered individually and it wasn't uncommon to read in an order book - six cigarettes please. There was even a term for this - loosies (spelling ?) with the ordered number of cigarettes being placed in a cone of paper in the form of a cone of ice cream. Anyway, as a delivery boy once the order was complete and placed in a cardboard box it was my job to place it into the front basket of the delivery bicycle and hot foot it to the customer.

It was during a delivery one Saturday that I noticed that the top of the loosies cone hadn't been rolled over and I began subconsciously counting the number of cigarettes it contained. Something didn’t appear quite right and so I pulled up at the side of the road where I checked the order book and just as I had suspected one extra cigarette had been placed in the cone. At this point I chose to ignore the Lord’s prayer - ‘lead us not into temptation’ but rather set about rummaging around in the cardboard box seeking out the box of matches that I knew to be there. I thought better of striking the match on the box as this would have been a dead giveaway but rather struck the match on the nearby wall. Having successfully lit my first cigarette I sucked on it for all it was worth and set of riding the cycle once more.

Without warning, as the smoke hit my lungs, a wave of nausea and dizziness overtook me and before I could put a leg down the bike had fallen over with me lying flat out on the ground. Worse still of course, the groceries had spilled out so that I was now surrounded by broken eggs, a burst bag of sugar and many other things. Needless to say, that was the end of my delivery boy job and with it any hope of saving enough to kit out the Bomb Shelter. Or was it…………what does that ad say, ‘paperboys wanted’?

Alan Ingham, Born in 1950's, Manchester
November 2021
Source: Facebook Group "We Grew Up in Manchester"