In 2010 ALHS was invited by the BBC to be a partner group for the ' Turn Back Time' programme, which that year's series focused on 'The High Street' and the evolution of shops over the decades. ALHS took over the then empty shop unit on the corner of High Street and Bakers Lane. It was manned by volunteers from our membership for two months. Hundreds of people visited the display which concentrated on our own High Street. Visitors were invited to record and leave their own memories of Aldridge High Street. These follow below together with photos of the shop and a selection of visitor comments about the event.  Be sure to scroll to the very bottom of the page!

Mr and Mrs Davies 1981

We both worked in shops in the High Street when we were young. Mr Davies worked in Aston’s  Bakery when he was 16 helping Mr Turley bake the bread and Mrs Davies started  to work for Mr and Mrs Phillipson when she was 14. The Phillipson’s ran the Greengrocer’s shop in the High Street. Mrs Davies left when they sold the shop to Mr and Mrs Swann.


Muriel White 1987

My aunts were Helen and Maria Wester. Aunt Helen kept the post office and Aunt Maria was a school teacher in Aldridge.


Brenda Jeynes 1979/1980

Around this time my daughter had started courting a lad from Aldridge. We lived in the Pleck and so started to visit Aldridge some Saturdays.I really liked to come to Hillditch’s in the High Street especially in the run up to Christmas. My husband found the hardware section interesting but I loved the household and gift ware sections. They opened up a little tea rooms upstairs too that was nice and cosy. We got to like Aldridge so much we moved here and have made many friends



The old Elms Public House. I am sure that is where ration books were collected after the second world war, “the Food Office”. Also I have memories of  a child drowning in the pool by the farm near the Parish Church.


Colin White 1950

I recall going though the arch at the ‘Swan’ and sitting on a bench in the alleyway by the side door with my pop and crisps, waiting hours for Grandad to drink a’ quick’ pint.


Bert Wood 1981

I used to be a licensed Pedlar. I remember the maypole on the croft.


S Fieldhouse 1959

I recall Northgate being built. I used to visit Aldridge on the way to Walsall Wood. My brother in law used to farm round here down by the canal bridge.

Betty Clark

I remember the High Street and the beautiful  old Council House which was situated where the shopping centre is now. Along the High street was Cope’s the butchers, Hilditch the ironmongers, a barbers shop and across the road a greengrocers. My children used to go to Sunday school at the old School House before the new Cooper and Jordan School was built.


Harry Dennant 1950’s

I recall Davies’ Chemist , the source of Liquorice wood  ½ d a stick.


Sheila Larcombe (nee Hastilow) 1945

I remember going shopping for my Mother to Aston’s for grocery, to Mr Davies the Chemist and Swan’s for greengrocery. Then I went across the road to Sheldon’s the butcher, later to become Mr Cope’s. After I had finished my shopping I met my friend and went for a drink in Cooper’s Cafe.


Ronald Lloyd 1987

My father was the postman in Aldridge for a long time. I remember the old Post Office in the Cruck cottage with the bay window in the High Street.



Paula Bryers 1954

I recall visiting Aldridge to have picnics next to the duck pond. My father brought us here when he inspected the factory in Whetstone Lane (he was in the Engineering Inspectorate Division of the Civil Service) . At the time this was a very nice village and we regarded it as fairly rural and therefore suitable as a picnic spot. We thought it was quite a long journey from Banner’s Gate (Sutton Coldfield) probably because my father drove us here in his old cloth-roofed Austin 7.


Margaret Cross (nee Boraston) 1938

I came to Aldridge in 1937 and lived at number 8 High Street. Later my family moved to Manor Farm Cottage and my father worked at Fall’s Farm with the duck pond next to the church. I remember Aston’s shop at the corner of Rookery Lane, Davies’s chemist, Swann’s the greengrocers and Whitehouse’s the drapers, Harvey’s the butchers , Cope’s babywear shop and Buckley’s the bakers at the corner of Baker’s Lane.


Lesley Broxton 1956-7

I recall being at ‘The Green School’ ( Cooper and Jordan now) the teachers having to break the ice in the toilets before we were able to use them. The toilet block was across the yard from the school  building. I remember us all being marched down’ the Green’ to the Croft by Mrs Fellows and Mrs Newall with great excitement to see a real princess.  Princess Alexandra had come to open two developments and we lined the Croft with our little flags. In later years I worked in Anchor Road next to Harper’s garage, the shop had an outside loo in an outhouse, we didn’t like going round in the dark as the old Mortuary was behind the garage where Morrison’s island is now.


Maggie Knowle (nee Poole) 1981

My father Richard Poole owned a butcher shop in the High Street. I remember the Greenway sisters keeping the Post Office before the Wheeler sisters took it over.


Mrs A.M Cooke 1987

I used to work for the Post Office as a telephonist, I often had to go to Aldridge on relief between 1912 and 1918. The telephone exchange was in the Cruck Cottages on the High Street.


Leonard Davies 1981

I was born in the Manor Cottages in the High Street. May father was the caretaker at the Cooper and Jordan School. I used to go to school with Ron Lloyd, he was the postman’s son. The Post Office was in the Cruck Cottage with the bay window across the road from where we lived.


June Lant 1961

I remember the early 60’s , my friend and I used to put our children in their prams then walk down Hob’s Hole back to the village. We picked up our five shillings child benefit  then walked up the High Street for the highlight of our week - to buy a vanilla slice from Aston’s bakery. We called at Mr Cope’s for our chump chops for tea and then went back home to sit by our coal fire, eat our cake and a cup of coffee. Can you believe this was the highlight of our week?


Alice Hutchinson 1972

I remember the old village street with horse trough, the homely little shops and the Maypole on the Croft. Where the Elms Hotel (Crown Pub) is now there was a big house called the Chestnuts. It housed Belgian Refugees during World War 1. My husband worked on the building of the Avion. It was a great day for Aldridge when George Formby came to open it.




Bill Jeynes 1979

I remember that in the run up to Christmas Reg Hilditch arranged for a large fairground organ to come and play in t6he High Street. Apparently Reg was very keen on steam engines and the like and used to attend the Dorset Steam Fair. The large organ was positioned across the road from here in front of the ladies dress shop . I was standing on the pavement,  listening to the organ play. I had my camera with me and stepped back so as to get a better photo of the organ. I promptly disappeared out of sight as I fell into a deep hole dug out for the footings of the soon to be built Harmony Furnishers. My family have never let me live this down!


Jean Mills 1959-61

I recall my husband and I had recently married when in 1959 we moved into No 25 High Street. It was one of the Cruck Cottages. We rented the upstairs rooms from Mr Lamb, an old man of 92 who occupied the downstairs rooms. We shared the kitchen and indoor toilet. The kitchen was simply furnished , a quarried floor room. There was a copper boiler in one corner beneath a small window, one side of which was an old brown sink, on the other side was a black cast iron fireplace. There were 2 food cupboards with mesh fronts standing on a table against the other wall. The room was lit by a gas light hanging from the ceiling above the kitchen table which was in the centre of the room. The whole scene was back in time for me even then! My mother’s house had electric lights and an electric washing machine.

Terry E Sheldon 1950

I recall going to’ The Green  Infants and Junior school’. Passing by Sally Frost’s farm and duck pond by the Manor House. I was living at Leighswood Avenue from 1946.Northgate was fields and the Post Office was where the island is now. I remember the Lovelock family and donkeys. I recall going to Saturday matinees at the Avion where Harry Russell was the manager. The Avion hosted live bands on Sundays when I was in my teens. Some big names played there

Charles Crowe 1940-41

After being bombed out of Balsall Heath Birmingham on the night of November 22nd /23rd 1940 my mother, who had recently been widowed , and I were kindly offered accommodation by my mother’s brother and sister in law in Little Hardwick Road. They had a very long garden, which contained an Anderson Air raid shelter. However on a night in April 1941 a bomb was dropped in the neighbouring field and as it subsequently transpired, just behind the shelter. However we were all inside the bungalow at the time. Our home was vacated for a fortnight until the roof could be repaired. I should add that a number of incendiary bombs fell but burnt themselves out without causing any damage. I was eleven years old at the time.

Sid Larcombe  1944

As a young boy I recall the High street with its array of shops and business premised. Whenever I entered the chemist shop owned by Mr Davis I always sensed a feeling of awe looking at the large glass containers of various colours and wondering what magical remedies the each contained. Aston’s the bakers on the corner of Rookery Lane with the wonderful  display of mouth-watering cakes in the shop window. Baker’s the stationers who were always able to supply most of one’s requirements and varied selection of writing equipment (pens and pencils etc). During the festive season it was always decorated with tinsel and brightly glistening lights, that would attract the locals as well as the youngsters. Madely’s the electrical shop that supplied all the latest records, torches and heaters. The hardware store of Joseph Hilditch and son where there was always a warm welcome from all the staff. Mr Aubrey Frost who worked there as an assistant with a cheerful smile in later years formed Aldridge Athletic Football Club and I was a founder member and played on the left wing. Those tasty bacon and sausage sandwiches from Cooper’s Cafe. When we had a fall of snow the sight looking along the High Street would have graced any Christmas card with the Parish Church prominent in the background. ‘What memories!’



Stan Brookhouse  (Junior)1956 / 7

 I recall living in no. 27 in the Cruck cottages until around 1961/2. Out neighbours at the time were Mrs Nightingale, Mr Limb and Mr and Mrs Lote. A building society occupied one end of the row and Lloyds bank the other. Our cottage was at one time the old Post Office. The cottages were reputed to be haunted by a lady who apparently hung herself in the outbuildings down the garden.  Although I never saw anything Mom said she had seen a woman dressed in white appear several times. Underneath our cottage was a large cellar which we kept the coal in, it had stairs down to it with a bend in them. I remember on one occasion Dad went down with two buckets . On his way back up there was an almighty crash as he missed his footing on the bend, falling backwards and crushing the buckets in the process. He ended up on crutches for around two weeks.

Across the High Street was, going down, Aldridge Ex Servicemen’s Club, the Old Cottage Gift shop, Whitehouse’s Grocery and Drapery, Baker’s , Joe Hood the Butcher’s, Madely Electrics,Cope’s the Drapers and Buckley’s baker’s shop. On our side was Aston’s Grocery and Bread and Off License. Davies the chemist, Sid Swann the Greengrocer and Nicholl’s the newsagents. I remember in later years I had my first drink of beer in the Swan Inn at the bottom of the High Street , this was brewed by Atkinson’s who were taken over by Mitchells and Butlers.