Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Open all hours: long live the long-lived corner shops 

Residents in the Howden Road area have had the convenience of a "corner shop" for nearly 90 years. My pictures show the present-day Cobbydale Stores (above) and owner Mr Tony Cavaliere (below) and then the shop in the early 1950s when it was J. G. Lamb's grocery.
Moving to Silsden from Bradford, where they were both born, Mr Cavaliere and his wife, Gill, took over the business from Mick and Liz Craven in 1996. Typical of small but amazingly well-stocked and characterful corner shops, Cobbydale Stores is open from 7am to 9pm five days a week and from 8am to 9pm at weekends. Mr Cavaliere runs the shop while his wife works full-time as a head teacher's personal assistant.

Above: the shop in the early 1950s when it was J. G. Lamb's grocery. John Green Lamb, popularly known as Jack, and his wife Elizabeth owned the grocery from 1947 until around 1965, when ill health forced Mr Lamb to retire. The photograph shows (left to right) customer Margaret Town, Jack Lamb, Alice Heaps (also a customer), Elizabeth Lamb and John Lamb, the youngest of Mr and Mrs Lamb’s three sons, who loaned me the photograph. Jack Lamb served his apprenticeship locally with the Co-op, which for many years operated several shops in Silsden, and took on the Howden Road grocery from Eric Clarkson, who emigrated down under. The three Lamb sons, Harry, David and John, all became successful businessmen. John is also well-known in golfing circles, having been president of Silsden Golf Club from 2005-2013.
Above: the view today from the same perspective as the 1950s photograph. Over the years, only two neighbourhood grocery/off licences, Cobbydale Stores and Aire View Stores, and the main street Kirkgate News, have withstood intense competition from supermarkets, discounters and, now, online shopping with home deliveries. Many Silsdeners can recall the days when there were more than a dozen such small shops dotted around the town. All three survivors have long histories: the Cobbydale Stores property (No 36 Howden Road) was built in 1929 and has always included a grocery shop; Aire View Stores (featured in my post of October 2013) opened in 1900; and Kirkgate News, at No 71 Kirkgate (see my post of November 2013), goes back to 1880.