GRAHAM Young, whose memories of Didcot we shared in the Herald last month (August 28), told me how he worked at Thames Valley egg packing as a van driver’s mate, then went onto the Ministry section of the Ordnance Depot before his last job as transport manager at Dunlopillo.

Memories are sparked by familiar words, pictures, and sounds, so it was with me after speaking to Graham and typing up the article for the Herald.

Since then I have been approached by local residents willing to share their thoughts on the Didcot they have known.

I have kept diaries for a number of years and decided to look back in them after the interview with Graham, to remind myself of when I first started writing for the Heralding the Past column on behalf of the Didcot & District Archaeological & Historical Society.

It was back in 2016 that I sent in my first written piece, followed up with one about an evening of shared Didcot memories held at the Northbourne centre which is where the talks are now held.

David Taylor (chairman) and I have shared writing for the column ever since, as has Rev. John Rowland with his own particular memories.

The society was approached by the Herald to ask if we would be able to provide written articles on the local knowledge that the society has accumulated, and continues to gather, by having meetings and differing subject talks at its monthly meetings between October and June.

The column has seen articles written by Wallingford, Abingdon and Wantage historians since it was first set up on Page 14.

Those three towns were market towns and have differed in development to that of Didcot, which has grown from a small rural village to the railway town we know today.

I asked committee member and local resident Janet Kent to think about the places she remembered. She gave me a list of previously run establishments.

I will list a few, and if any readers recognise them I hope they enjoy the memories: Bosley’s (various shops), Home & Colonial (grocery), Sneasby’s (menswear), Red Stores (children’s clothing?), Deaney’s (furniture), Mobbs (footwear), Greens (nursery/garden), Andrews (butcher), Livings (bakery), Houghton’s (Waveyline), Finlay’s (sweets and cigarettes), Brown’s (men’s outfitters), John E.Lay (television rental, repair and record sales), which is also where my husband Michael did his apprenticeship before going to work at Harwell.

The was also McFarlands (haberdashery), Charles & Marjorie (clothing & hairdresser), Welshods (cobblers), Moxons (Fruit, veg and fresh fish), Jenkins (newsagent and toys) and a gas showroom.

These were in Lower Broadway, the sign for which seems to have been removed with the building of the Orchard Centre – it would be good if it could be replaced. I wonder where it is?

Further up the town were: Bradley’s (jewellery), Scaddans (chemist), Boots (chemist) which was next to Locktons at the top of Station Road and Co-operative stores on the Broadway. Rumbelows (TV rentals), Sturts (gentleman’s clothing) and Milwards shoe shop.

The first self-service shop was the International Stores approximately where Peacocks now trades. There was also a co-op store next to the cinema (now bingo hall) which sold clothing, white goods and electrical appliances.

I occasionally called into that store to collect an item of clothing for my mother to try on at home 'on appro' (approval with no charge incurred until she decided whether or not to purchase the item).

I originally joined the Didcot & District Archaeological & Historical Society after initially going to some of the talks (lectures) as a visitor.

Now, many years later, and being a committee member, I find myself hooked on researching more and more of the local community and events. Interviewing Graham opened up new avenues to be investigated.

My ongoing enquiries at present include trying to establish the uses of some local buildings and what businesses or trades were there in times past. Please contact the society if you have any information and photographs you are willing to share.

I look forward to doing more research on the history of the community of Didcot. While the website is being updated please contact chairman David Taylor on or tel: 01235 816376 for further information.