As promised, I have been researching the names of the shops on the 1950s paper bags which were used to wrap the lenses in Joseph Briffa Boothman’s testing kit. There were several including Meesons Ltd a national chain tobacconists, with its head office in London. All the other bags were from companies local to Leeds and Yorkshire. These included two stationers; L and Y Stationer Co Ltd and Stirling Stationers. There were also some grocers; Davy’s – Arthur Davy and Sons who sold ‘finest quality’ meat products including pork pies, meat paste and luncheon sausage along with cakes and confectionery provisions tea and coffee.’  Davy’s  strap line was ‘The best you can buy’ and they had several branches in Yorkshire, it sounds a great place! Another shop was Wilson and Greenwood, who had several branches in Leeds and beyond and whose strap line was ‘You can always get it cheaper from Wilson and Greenwood ltd.’ Sadly, none of these businesses are still trading, highlighting how much life and shopping has changed in the last seventy years.

However; one of the businesses, Craven Dairies Ltd who sold ‘quality bread and tea cakes, choice cakes and confectionery’, was the cake and confectionery branch of Associated Dairies which  started in 1949. This company also owned Farm Stores which were pork shops.  Arthur Stockdale was the managing director and his son, Noel Stockdale continued with the business and went on to set up Asda with brothers Peter and Fred Asquith. The name Asda comes from an amalgamation of Asquith and dairies. Asda is a Yorkshire based company and was created on 5th May 1965, so will celebrate its  sixtieth birthday next year, and although it has had many transformations over the years is still going strong.

I also found some interesting history of Leeds thanks to L and Y stationery, I googled their Boar Lane Leeds address and discovered a fascinating talk by Dr Kevin Grady of the Leeds Civic Trust. It was entitled ‘The Grandest Street in Victorian Leeds: The History of Boar Lane.’ given in February 2021. Boar Lane went from Victorian glory but fell out of fashion in the 1960s and 1970s, some of it was demolished but a large part of it was saved thanks to the Leeds Civic Trust and The Victorian Society. To quote Dr Grady ‘Boar Lane combined with Duncan Street remains one of the finest and longest Victorian cum Edwardian street frontages in Britain.’ I really enjoyed finding out about Leeds, a city I know very little about, we visited the university last year when Dead Man junior was looking at university courses. It is an impressive place and the neoclassical Brotherton Library is particularly grand and awe inspiring.

I thoroughly enjoyed researching these companies and am so pleased that we found a window into a forgotten world when we unwrapped those lenses the other week.

Have a good weekend

Claire AKA Mrs Deadman