When grand old shops were jewels in the town’s crown

Recalling Lock's newsagents shops in 1933.
Recalling Lock's newsagents shops in 1933.

It’s gratifying that items featured in the column often have a family resonance for folk.

I’ve heard, for instance, from the granddaughter of the pork butcher, the tiled entrance to whose old shop in Frederick Street in Shields – soon to be demolished – we saw the other day.

I hope to tell his story shortly.

And as for Tisseman’s the jewellers, whose old shop sign in Dean Road was recently uncovered, well, that now takes us across the Atlantic.

Gary Tisseman has been in touch, recalling that the business was passed down from Elisha Tisseman to Gary’s father, Ernie.

“He ran it for a while then we moved to Canada in 1976, and the business was left to his brother, my Uncle Frank,” he says.

“Ernie is still alive and well, living in Canada, still with my mam, Marian.”

Great news.

Oh, and it was also good to hear from reader Ann Hall, who still has an eternity ring, with its box, bought from Tisseman’s at 182 Dean Road more than 50 years ago.

The box confirms my memory that there was also a branch of the firm at 54 Fowler Street.

Ann recalls the Dean Road shop being run by an elderly man – possibly Elisha himself? – as well as having memories of Tisseman’s earlier shop in Adelaide Street.

Now, the other day, we also heard from family of Tom Lock.

The old sign of his newsagent’s and bookseller’s had also recently come to light, at The Nook.

He is reckoned to have been the person who brought the Sunday Post to newsagents’ counters in the town.

It remains on at least some of them today, a hangover from the days when Shields was a popular destination for Scottish holidaymakers, especially during the traditional holiday break that was known as Glasgow Week.

I’ve since come across this advertisement for Lock’s, which dates from 1933, when, as you can see, they had half a dozen branches around the town.

It’s interesting to see the invitation to join its library, but borrowing books through shops was more common then than now.

I wonder what the latest titles were that people itched to borrow?

Murder Must Advertise, perhaps, the latest Lord Peter Wimsey mystery from Dorothy L Sayers, which was published that year, as was Lord Edgware Dies, by Agatha Christie, featuring Hercule Poirot, and also James Hilton’s Shangri-La fantasy, Lost Horizon.