Saveloy dips at Mattie Davison’s and coats from Flo Maxfield’s

Roker Avenue showing Redhead & Browns, and Flo Maxfield's shop. Photo; Sunderland Antiquarian Society.
Roker Avenue showing Redhead & Browns, and Flo Maxfield's shop. Photo; Sunderland Antiquarian Society.
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If it’s memories of old Sunderland shops you’re after, look no further than Jacki Thew.

To say she has a very good memory is an understatement.

Roker Avenue in 1963. Photo; Sunderland Antiquarian Society.

Roker Avenue in 1963. Photo; Sunderland Antiquarian Society.

The 55-year-old mum of two, born in Cooper Street in 1961, has shared her recollections of great shops in the Roker Avenue area.

And with the help of photographs from the Sunderland Antiquarian Society, it’s a real trip down a retailers Memory Lane.

Jacki Thew is something of an expert on Roker Avenue.

After all, she was born in the area, raised in Sunderland, married in Roker Avenue and now lives in the St Peter’s Riverside area.

The ladies who worked at Flo Maxfield’s were all quite posh but very nice, they would measure your feet then bring down everything they had in your size for you to try on and then choose

Jacki Thew

The veterinary receptionist said all of her family have had links to the area since late Victorian times.

For Jacki, it has meant lots of memories of Roker Avenue shops.

As Jacki said, she started “at the bottom and worked my way up” the street.

There was a drapers, and - on the corner of Cooper Street - there was Stevie Mckenzie the money lenders.

Next came David Gilmore’s the paper shop and Lipton’s, described by Jacki as “the first supermarket I ever remember, there was hardly anyone ever in there as “me mam said it was too dear”

Mrs Puncheon’s was “a typical type corner shop that sold everything. Further along was Austin Brown the butchers, and next to this was Nelly Master the greengrocers,” said Jacki.

“I always remember Nelly with her long coat, boots and a shawl. The shop had floor boards and once I remember watching a little mouse running riot in the front window when the shop was closed.”

Next came Ralphie Carr the newsagent. “Always went in there with aunt Jessie to pay for papers and loved all the toys in the window,” said Jacki.

Around the corner was a second butchers belonging to Austin Brown. “I remember Peter the lovely butcher who worked there and always got a hot sausage roll off him. They were delicious.

“On the next corner, which is now an angling shop, was a baker shop I think by the name of Masons. I remember a lovely lady who worked there.

“The shop was immaculate with all glass shelves filled with delicious loaves and cream cakes.”

On the opposite side of the road, Vic Jackson had a corner shop with loose biscuits that “you could buy in weight for a 1/4lb upwards. They were all in tins with a glass lid.

“Next to Mr Jackson (actually in Brandling Street) was Mattie Davison’s the pork shop which sold delicious hot dips, pork, saveloy, hot peas pudding and stuffing, all dipped.

“They were delicious, can still taste them now,” said Jacki.

“Next door again was the butchers owned by the same Mattie, all his sons worked in the shop. Back to Roker Avenue and round the corner to Mr Jackson was his wife’s shop, Joy Jackson the drapers. This sold everything from buttons to blouses, ribbons for hair, new socks for Easter.”

Further down the street, there was a lovely shop called Redhead and Brown’s - a hardwear shop which “smelled lovely, was immaculate, and sold everything from household items, cleaning equipment and bric a brac.

“I loved this shop at Christmas when you walked home from school and the windows were all lit up in fairy lights.

“Next shop up was Flo Maxfield’s, a double fronted shop which was an upper class drapers. One side was ladies and the other side childrens. My grandma used to buy our coats and shoes from here as mam couldn’t afford to.

“I used to be fascinated with the array of Clarke’s shoes all piled up on top of each other by style and size. They were in emerald green boxes. The ladies who worked there were all quite posh but very nice.”

Jacki has much more to tell us and we will share more of her story next week.

In the meantime, if you have Wearside memories you would like to share, email