Looking at Art Deco Roof Lines in Park Road in Didcot led me to discovering a story behind the exciting arrival of bananas in Didcot. An unusual connection!

I’ve written about the history of the Didcot community – specific groups, personal experiences and the various shops and family businesses.

I then started looking up at the roof lines and took photographs in Park Road of two of the buildings with Art Deco roofs and decided to look into the history of each one.

Firstly I looked into ATS Tyre Supplies which was originally opened as a monumental masons by William Honeybone & Sons of Wallingford in 1928.

Then it was a greengrocers, owned and run by the Nobbs family and the photograph I have been lucky enough to add to this article shows the family and customers being excited about the first bananas to arrive at the end of the Second World War.

I had been told about the photograph and so set off to locate it and find out more – and ask if I could have a copy.

So, through my networking in town, I became acquainted with Gary Nobbs who was willing to let me have a copy.

He also gave me information on his family and the reason for the photograph – the excitement surrounding the first delivery of bananas, which were free, at the end of the war.

Herald Series:

Another photo of a traditional family shop in Didcot.

Gary told me: "This is the only picture I can find that is of any relevance to Didcot.

"At the end of the war these were the first bananas to arrive, my father handling them for free.

"A lot of youngsters had never seen a banana before. The young lad on the extreme left is David Coles (still in Didcot). He got into trouble that day, twice, once from the headmaster and again from his dad when they saw him in the local paper as he was meant to be at school.”

I remember horse and cart deliveries, market stalls run by local families, home deliveries, order books being taken to the grocery store, and being served by shop staff and onto self service supermarkets, the first being International Stores. At one time the WI had a regular pitch in the market place and I remember buying home made jam and cakes from them.

The pendulum has swung back now to home deliveries ordered on the internet and to farmers markets selling their fresh produce. The horse and cart however hasn’t returned – well not in Didcot anyway.

I wonder if any of readers remember these shops: White Horse Walk, Home and Colonial, Bert Moxon’s fresh fish shop in Edinburgh Drive, Pengelis, Gerrings, Well-Shods, Milwards and Turners shoe shops, Supersave, Neal’s Antiques, Champions, Scot’s Grey Cafe, Robertson’s Jewellers?

My thanks go to Maralyn Bartlett, Gary Nobbs and Janet Kent for their input with memories and for permission to use the photographs.