Shopping in South Oxhey

Some memories of old fashioned shopping experiences

By John Bryan

Some memories of old fashioned shopping experiences.

My family moved to a house at the top end of Hayling Road in January 1951 when I was 10 months old.

Hallowes Crescent

My earliest memories of shopping in South Oxhey was the parade of shops in Hallowes Crescent. This consisted of a hardware shop (Mace’s), which also housed the sub-Post Office, a greengrocers, a butchers, a bakers, a newsagents/tobacconist (Forbouys), a grocers (Perk’s), and a Chemist. The final shop I think was originally a haberdashers but this later became an Off-Licence.

Hot Crossed Buns

The bakers baked bread and cakes on the premises and I can remember that on Good Friday they used to open for a couple of hours in the morning just to sell Hot Crossed Buns straight from the oven – I can still taste them.


Perk’s was an old fashioned grocers that sold loose tea, sugar etc and biscuits from tins lined up at the front of the counter. There was always one that contained broken biscuits.

George Lieper

The Chemist’s was owned by George Lieper, who was a lovely man and a pharmacist of the old school who as well as filling prescriptions etc, made up his own pills and potions. When we were kids he was always the first port of call if we had anything wrong with us. I remember when I was about 5 years old I was bitten by a dog and was dragged over to see Mr Lieper who cauterised the wound. In later years he used to drive round in an elderly green Bentley car.

Bridlington Road

Other than this, any other shopping had to be done in Watford or, more often than not in our case, in Northwood. However, then the shopping are around Bridlington Road opened and many more options opened up.

We used to call the Bridlington Road shopping centre the “new shops”, although in reality they were not much newer than Hallowes Crescent.

Among the shops that I can remember where a Sainsbury’s self-service “supermarket”. They employed a commissionaire, an elderly gentleman with one arm dressed in a black military style uniform who opened the door for people. I also remember a record shop, a fishmongers, a bicycle shop, a branch of Woolworths, a ladies hairdressers, a barbers, a jewellers, a couple of newsagents and a fish and chip shop.

Short Back and Sides

I can remember being regularly sent to the barbers (I think is was called Davis’s) for a haircut. When us kids arrived at the shop we were given a number and had to wait ages for our turn, especially as if any adults arrived they went straight to the front of the queue. I seem to remember that it did not matter what I asked the barber to do I always ended up with the same short back and sides haircut with my hair plastered down with an evil smelling lacquer. Later another barbers called Peter’s opened on Station Approach, which was a lot better.

Also on Station Approach was a Radio/TV shop called Signal Service where our first TV set came from.

Fish and Chips

The fish and chip shop was great and had an eating area in the back. I remember one period when during school holidays they did a childrens meal for 1 shilling, the same price as a school dinner. There was no choice, you were just given a plate of fish and chips the fish depending on what was available at the time. It was a real treat.

This page was added on 25/10/2010.

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  • I too lived in Bromborough Green and we moved in around 1963 and my parents eventually moved out around 1988. I was led to believe these houses were termed ‘higher income houses’ that is if you earn a higher income and can afford a slight higher rent then they were slightly more upmarket, 4 bedrooms over a garage. Dad was a caterer butcher and would drive to Smithfield Market in London every day whilst mum kept house.

    By Russell Edwards (20/01/2023)
  • I grew up on the estate from 1952 to 1960, we lived in Bromborough Green which was considered one of the posh houses built for the professionals employed on the estate. We were given one because my father was well educated and although he worked in a factory Kodak he became a Labour Councillor and instigated fund-raising for the William Morris Labour Club in order to provide a social centre for people living on the estate. I remember going each Saturday on the bus with my mum to the shops near the station, mum buying meat and sometimes even fresh prawns in shells in Liptons, then with 4 or 5 heavy bags of shopping we would walk across the road to the bus stop by the station. Buses were often very late or cancelled and sometimes mum would become so tired from standing that we would get a taxi home though even that meant queuing again. Mum was always tired as she worked full time at Heinz in Wealdstone which involved her walking a mile to the bus stop, getting on a bus to the station, going by train, then walking another mile to the doctors where she was a comptometer operator, that was a complex adding machine long before computers of course. My sister went to Hampden then passed 13+ for Watford Grammar, I passed the 11+ and went to Bushey Grammar, both involved a long journey with a change of buses.

    By Sue Lemasurier (25/10/2022)
  • Does anyone remember a shop called Langers?

    By Judy Chisholm (21/09/2017)
  • I lived in Puttenham Close from 1951 to 1965 and went to Clarendon School. Fond memories of South Oxhey – wish I could turn the clock back?

    By susan butler (29/03/2013)
  • Your article jogged my memory I grew up on the estate went to Warren Dell School then Hampden Secondary School. We owned the Hardware Shop on Bridlington Road 1973-75 I think it was owned previously for many years by the Woodhams.

    By Josephine Parsons (10/11/2010)