Images of a disappearing Dunstable view

HERE’S an example of a vanishing species – the tiny local convenience store.

The H.V. Berry shop was in Victoria Street, Dunstable, on the corner of the Victoria Place walkways, and stocked almost everything.

When this photo was taken just before the Coronation in 1953 it was concentrating very much on the beer trade. Bottles provided its window display, it advertised Mann’s (the brewery) and its valued possession of an off-licence (in the days when such a concession was a hard-won prize) was on the frontage alongside the owner’s name.

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But it also sold all kinds of groceries and included a small post office, with a post box installed in the wall alongside.

The present owner of the building, Dave Gorman, was a customer of the shop from the days when he first came to Dunstable and was living in Winfield Street. He remembers that it stocked coal and paraffin as well as all kinds of vegetables.

When he moved there 48 years ago after the shop closed, a tank for storing paraffin was buried behind the shop. There was a trapdoor into a coal cellar at the back and access to the beer cellar was through a trapdoor at the front.

Another interesting part of the building is a blacksmith’s workshop at the rear, alongside the alleyway.

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Mr Gorman had the old shop window removed about six years ago. The colour photo shows the premises today, with Mr Gorman in the doorway.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society

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