Shop till you drop?

Old Letchworth shops

By Daphne Knott

First Garden City Heritage Museum
Station Road
First Garden City Heritage Museum
Munts Cycle Stores
First Garden City Heritage Museum

Letchworth town centre is always changing. Do you remember any of these shops from times past?

Do add a comment if you remember anything about them – or look at the Are You Being Served? pages on this website to hear some reminiscences about shopping in old Letchworth.

This page was added on 15/06/2010.

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  • I have a now vague Memory of pet shop in Station Road. Could it have been the third shop from the left, once a miliner‘s shop?

    By Robert Forster (16/05/2021)
  • I knew the wonderful Munts shop in Stonehills, Welwyn Garden City, but did not know they had a cycle shop in Letchworth. From the comments perhaps there wasn’t one, or certainly not at the time of the photograph.

    Going purely by the photo it would seem that the Letchworth store was a specialist cycle shop, although clearly that may be misleading. The WGC Munts certainly sold bikes – I got my first one as a child there in the early Fifties – but it was a large place that sold a wonderful variety of items. It was certainly very busy in October with people buying their fireworks! Many items of hardware also sold.

    By Robert Oakhill (25/04/2021)
  • Re- Munt’s picture: This is definitely A J Haddow’s shop. I worked for him as a motorcycle mechanic from 1965 to 1967, together with Andy Westhead, et al.
    Munt’s cycle department was at the entrance to the shop and somewhat dark and dingey. The rear part of the shop was a toy department, with all manner of toys stacked up along the walls on three sides and a central island with larger toys such as doll’s prams, tricycles and pedal cars.

    As a Letchworthian in exile, I too am glad to have found this site. Keep up the good work.

    By Bob Forster (25/04/2021)
  • Thinking of The Wynd, I left school in 1959 and was awaiting a position in Cambridge. For several months I got a job with the Co-op and spent time in their decorating shop in The Wynd. My outstanding memory is the wallpaper trimming machine. In those days the rolls had a salvage edge, about half an inch down both sides. The machine was electric and you placed the roll on a long spindle and carefully fed the wallpaper across a flat bed and it was automatically rolled once trimmed. It took a lot of practise to get the trim right, wastage was considerable. As I was the only one who had success with the machine I was always on tender hooks to get it right! Now wallpaper comes ready to hang in its own polythene sleeve. I often wonder if at the back of someone’s shed or workshop one of these old machines still exists?

    By Geoff Harris (20/08/2020)
  • Remember Cheetams our Grandma Francis Ward used to work there.. our dad used to deliver the fruit and veg . Margaret Cheetham was a lovely lady and made the best ever pickle onions!!!

    By Alison Smith (28/09/2019)
  • Remember well going in to Cheethams with my mother. Potatoes weighed out and shot straight into your shopping bag!

    I remember Haddows. Was there also a shop called County Cycle Stores? I think it was at the end of the arcade opposite Bennett the Jewellers.

    By Sue McKervey (10/09/2019)
  • I remember growing up in Letchworth and working at Bennetts Garage on Station Road 1961 to 1962.Many fond memories.I now live in the States.I intend to visit Letchworth again.

    By Gary Mazzei (24/04/2018)
  • The picture of the cycle shop is A.J. Haddows.
    The names from left to right are:
    shop assistant Andy Cochran, Mr Hiron shop Manager
    & Mr A.J. Haddow Shop Owner.
    My Husband worked there from 1964-1976

    By B Westhead (05/10/2017)
  • When I was a child in the 1960’s my Dad used to supply Cheethams greengrocers with veg.  Margaret Cheetham was a very nice lady and I would enjoyed going to the shop.  We would do the deliveries on a Thursday afternoon, which was always hectic as my Dad had to get to the bank before they closed at 3.30pm to pick up the men’s wages for Friday’s payday back at the nursery in Arlesey.  We also supplied Collis’s greengrocers down Leys Avenue.   Although Mr and Mrs Collis were nice too, I didn’t care for their shop much because it usually smelt of boiling beetroot.

    By Maggie Fenner (20/01/2016)
  • If I’ve pictured the correct part of the Wynd, I think there was a barbershop run by Mr Barker and opposite was a shoe repair shop next door to Marshalls newspaper shop. I remember Bennett’s garage had a small building, like a workshop, which always had a very old car in it.

    By Dave Thompson (09/03/2015)
  • love the look back at these pictures and I remember going in the cycle shop too, my dad have the shoe repair shop on the other side of the road from the cycle shop in the Wynd next to the wet fish and chip shop, we lost the little repair shop when “they” wanted a small car park in its place which also ment losing the large grocery store next to dads old shop. taking my mind back I remember a hair dressers on the same side, on the  opposite to dads shop was a wool shop my mum would near very nearly live in. that was on a row of shops with a dance floor above which my brother and I learnt to dance……I only went as it ment a evening I could stay up after my normal bed time

    this all was in the 60s we moved away from Letchworth when I was 13 going to Ipswich and I’m 56 now

    oh please let me know the outside swimming pool got warmer than 63!, And to think we walked all the way from pixmore school!! and they say kids suffer today hahahahaha

    By Kevin P Tyrrell (17/07/2014)
  • The man in the suit in the cycle shop definitely looks like Alan Haddow to me.

    By Richard Tainsh (14/11/2013)
  • More thoughts on the row of Station Road shops, right on the lower end of the row and really just round the corner, was George Deans Greengrocery, at least it was in the ’40s. At the other end of the row by the alleyway, here shown as Ernest Smith, later I think became Hartley’s hardware shop and of course they had a mobile shop that went round the houses and most people got their paraffin off this van. The next shop down from there I’m fairly sure was later on Clary Rand ‘s radio shop. Further up the road and not in the picture, the Cabin I think sold cakes etc and was taken over by Molly Simmonds of Simmonds Coaches and taxis, who was a second cousin to me. This was next door to the County Cycle Stores.

    By Dave Thompson (10/05/2013)
  • In the picture of the row of shops, the shop on the lower end, May have been Softlys, a small grocery store where sugar, flour etc, was weighed out and then put into blue paper bags, certainly during the war years. Next door, second one up, was Percy Beddoe with his newsagents and tobacconist shop. Percy was never the happiest person to deal with and used to chase us kids away as he would always assume we were up to no good, even if we weren’t! I actually served in later years with his nephew who I met whilst with the RAF in Germany and he told me that Percy was the same with family members! This shop has always been considered to be Letchworth’s first shop.

    By Dave Thompson (04/05/2013)
  • I’m also sure that the shop is Haddows, bought both my first bike there and later across in the other shop, a Lambretta! Alan Haddow had also been my Sunday School teacher at West View Baptist Church. Peggy Cheetham was a good friend of my mother but I seem to remember they lived in Ashwell where we used to visit.

    By Dave Thompson (03/05/2013)
  • As a small boy I used to visit the shop regularly with my mum, I think the tall lady in the picture was Mr Cheethams daughter, her farther was quite old and used to sit at the back of the shop. Great memories.

    By John White (30/11/2012)
  • Re- Munts picture I believe it to be A J Haddows in the Wynd,this is the First shop, he went on to having next door? AJ is standing in the background with Don last name?

    By Raymond Proctor (01/05/2012)