Solway Plain - past and present by the Holme St Cuthbert History Group

Mawbray Post Office, 1930s.
Mawbray Post Office with Mary Ann Bell in the doorway, 1930s.

Shopping in the first half of the last century was very different from how we shop today. There were a few shops in the villages; Beckfoot had a sweet shop owned by the Carruthers, which also sold cigarettes. In Mawbray, Miss Kennedy sold confectionery and Mary Ann Bell sold groceries, confectionery and, surprisingly, cartridges for double-barrelled guns at the post office.

Abbeytown, Main Street
In Abbeytown, there were two shops - one on each side of the main street.

Allonby, Tom Hunter's Shop

In Allonby, Tom Hunter's business was on the green. He sold cigarettes and confectionery from the shop behind the old-fashioned weighing machine. The left-hand half of the shack was his fish and chip shop.

Twentyman's Ice Cream business was founded in 1926 and is still going strong. This is how it looked in the 1950s.

Allonby, Twentyman's shop

Grocer's cart outside Brook Cottage, Mawbray
There were quite a number of travelling shops, salesmen and people providing a service. In the early days, they would travel around with their goods on a cart pulled by a horse or just walk. Later cars and vans were used.

Nick Henderson (right) travelled the area selling fruit. When he delivered fruit to Aldoth school, between 1937 and 1945, he said he could hear the children saying "Here's old Nick coming".

Nick Henderson's horse and cart
Ogni Ice Cream Sidecar Ogni Ice Cream Van

Mr Ogni from Maryport sold Ice Cream and often visited Edderside firstly, with his motor cycle and sidecar and, later, with his posh new van.

The big shops were all in Silloth. Woods Emporium opened in the 1860s and sold almost everything for both visitors and residents.

The Wood brothers outside their shop with a selection of their stock
The Wood brothers, Albert, Dan and Oliver outside the shop.

Martin's Shop Interior of Martins, early 1900s

The Martins ran the post office and a stationery and souvenir shop.

Sim's Grocers, Criffel Street Sim's delivery boy on bicycle
Sim’s grocers on the sea front, offered a regular delivery service. ‘Joe Bill’ Robinson did the job for some years.

Silloth, Hydro Garage early 1900s
The Hydro Garage offered a comprehensive service for the motorist. The cars are (left to right) a taxi owned by the Edgels family, a bull-nosed Morris open tourer and a Buick.
Joe Lomas and car Betty Lomas holding flat fish
Joe Lomas took over his uncle’s wet fish business in 1928. He took the back seats out of his Morris and fitted an icebox. He went round the local farms and villages selling his fish while his wife, Bessie, looked after their shop in Wampool Street.
Fine Fare Supermarket Around 1960, Wood’s old shop became Silloth’s first supermarket. Fine Fare were the first multiple store group seen in the area.

Most of the local shops are still family owned.

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