Many people ask me where I get my energy and passion for Wrexham from ? The answer is simple, my late father Roy Lewis.
Roy was a Wrexham lad through and through and below you will find some of his memories of the town written in 2013. Dad loved Wrexham. When his mum died when he was 10, he quickly had to find his own way in life, and at the age of 11 he got his first job at Trueform shoe shop on Hope Street, where a card shop now stands. He learned the art of selling, which he later passed onto my brother Mark, and I could never quite get the grip of ! Ironically Michelle my wife got her first job in Trueform some 35 years later. Dad met my mum Olive at the Majestic Cinema in the town, and his written life story which is my most prized possession tells of his life in Wrexham over 80 years.
Roy became a great salesman and when Wrexham played Liverpool in the League cup he sponsored the flood lights. Look at that team sheet, probably the greatest Wrexham and Liverpool teams of all time.
He never lost his passion for Wrexham and, was sad to see its demise and in his later years he would spend many a Saturday in town with Tom Buckler, my niece Olivia Wright Lewis and myself handing out Wrexham Savers cards encouraging people to spend locally. In the last few years he loved the Street Festivals and said they reminded him of the community spirit of years ago, and he found a new hobby of sitting and eating in Dot 2 Dot Cafe and Emz Creative cafe.
A trip down memory lane – Roy Lewis 1934 – 2017
Written in 2013
I started working in Wrexham in March 1945 at the Trueform in Hope Street. My first job every morning was to clean the windows. I vividly remember many of the shops which have now passed on to greener pastures. I will try to list as many as I can, hoping that they may help many to relive past memories.
When I started working there were at least 5 chemists. Barnes in King St.
Rowlands in Henblas St. Boots in Regent Street, Francis the Chemist lower down Hope St. and Rowland’s in High St. This was the era before the advent of digital cameras.If you a 35mm film or the likes had to take it to be developed at these places, then pick them up about 4 days later unless you paid for the express service.
I’ll start listing the shops at the top of Regent St.This has really altered. I’ll start where Wetherspoons is now.. There used to be the Majestic Cinema, people used to queue right around down King St, to Lord St around the corner back up to Regent St. There was a music shop called Cranes right on the corner. You could go there for music lessons. Next to that was a sweet shop where people would stock up before the cinema
Opposite from the Majestic there used to be Kent Jones’, housing agents. Go down Regent St from there was St Mark’s Square. In the square was a well known photographer Algernon Smiths, where if you were posh you would go to get Wedding Photographs.
Going down Hope St there were numerous shops which have now gone. Astons the Furniture had two shops in Regent St. One taken over by Woolworths before it closed,the other Waterstones is now. Boots the Chemist moved from by the arch across the road to be next to Astons. Next was the Abbey National Building Society.
Then came the Horse and Jockey pub which is still there. Next door to that was Jacksons the Tailors a bespoke man’s shop, the manager was well known Bob Williams, everyone knew him. Next there was a large 2 storey shop Rogers & Jacksons. A shop that sold everything you could want for the home, even bikes and prams. Across from there was Bakers Shoe shop, Bob William’ brother was the manager of Jackson the Tailors.
Then came the Trueform,where I had my first job in 1949, opposite Oliver’s Shoe Shop, then Walter Robert’s Hardware, where you could buy bikes, knives, any pots or pans you required. I bought my first bike there. It was a BSA with a 3speed Sturmy Archer. Next came Steven’s Bakery and Cafe. People used to queue for bread and cakes.Next came Melias Grocery Store.
Across the road was Palmers shoe shop, the best shoes in Wrexham,next there came the National Milk Bar. Best cup of coffee and egg and cress sandwiches anywhere.Next door came Williamson Pork Butchers , thats where Max Spiel-mans is now.
Then followed Marks and Spencers, followed by a grocers Home & Colonial. Over the road was the Army & Navy Stores, next to another branch of Olivers shoe shop.where Greenwoods is now.One thing is for certain, we were not short of shoe shops. Next came a rather larger grocers, Phillips’s where you could go up stairs for tea or coffee. It had a rather unusual cash machine where the staff put the money for goods in a little container which was then despatched around the store, to the cashier who would then complete the transaction and send change back to point of origin, Next door was C.D. Jones’s a ladies finery clothes shop. Then came Burton the Tailors on the corner of High St & Regent St.
On Town Hill there was another branch of Williams’ Pork Butchers. The Coop had a large shop on the corner of Town Hill and Abbott St. Across the road was Dodman’s shoe shop, then the Bon Mens Shop. Francis the Opticians was also on Town Hill.
In High St there was a News Agents Woodhall & Hughes, also Parry’s the Sadlers on the corner of Yorke St & High St. Also in High Street Wasw a newspaper shop Woodalls and Hughes. At the top of High St was the Wynnstay Hotel.
On the corner of High St and Chester Street was a paint and decorator supplies shop. I think it was called Turners.Which is now a Polish Super Market. In Chester St. I vaguely remember Mawddsley the Jewellers.
In Queens Street was a beautiful Ladies shop. It was called Wrights Corner, it had the most wonderful window dressing especially at Christmas. By the entrance to the Market came Busfields the carpet shop, and MANWEB.
This led on to Lambpit St. which housed the Empire Cinema. In the town were five Cinemas. The Majestic, Odeon, Glynne (Where the Town Hall building are now, The Hippodrome (Which should have been kept as a Theatre). At least the youngsters had some where to go for entertainment.
Then we had Lord St where there was Majestic Travel run by Steve Freidman, I had a cousin who worked there, and next door The Fruit Bowl which was owned by Joan Gleave and her Husband Peter Guntrip, who also had a fruit stall in the Vegetable Market.