The Oval Shops. 1969

By Simon Mortimer

The Oval Shops. Photo taken in 1969
Stevenage Museum. P7627
This page was added on 07/01/2011.

Add your comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.

  • My first job at 15 yrs (1970) was at Home&Garden, the hardware shop at Oval. Reg and Jo were the owners and Vic the manager.Apart from working in the shop i used to deliver glo-coal and paraffin to local houses on a butchers bike! (Still have a piture of me on it) family lived in Archer road. Worked there through the 3 day week and remember lighting the shop with paraffin lamps when electricity was switched off in shops.

    By Arthur Breckenridge (04/10/2022)
  • I used to work in Stewart N. Anderson, the chemist. I started there when I was 14. I loved to know what happened to the pharmacist, ‘Jimmy Tarbuck’ (not that one).

    By Margaret Munday (07/08/2022)
  • I lived in Chells from ’62 until ’76 and was a paper boy at the newsagents at The Oval. I seem to remember it was run by two brothers. Can anyone remember the name of it? We used to go to the Pyramid on a Saturday or Sunday night for the disco.

    By Graham Sprigg (28/07/2022)
  • Does anyone know who is on the left in the photo, the 2 girls and baby in pushchair?

    By sharon STEPIEN (12/07/2022)
  • Looking at these pictures of my town is just breathtaking! A sense of second hand nostalgia I get from these photos. I say second hand because I was born in 96, but I have an interest in my town’s history and it’s such a shame I was born in this awful generation we’re in now. The air looked so clean and so did the streets in all these pictures and reading all your comments is seriously intriguing! The Oval has changed so, so much! I grew up in Coventry Close since I was 6 weeks old and I’ve lived in the same house since.

    By Kai (22/02/2022)
  • I was born in ’71 and grew up around the oval in the late 70s/80s. I remember the newsagents (was a paperboy briefly but they gave me all the hard routes). I remember when the supermarket was Sommerfields, bakers, offlicense and used to go in the barbers where John (who went on to start The Cutter in the old town) used to do my hair. I remember the dry cleaners next to the launderette, a mate I grew up with, Andy Goff, worked in the dry cleaners. When I was a toddler the pub was The Pyramid as I remember but not sure what it became after that. Remember my brother buying me cowhorn handlebars for my racer on my birthday from the toy shop (the right side of it was dedicated to bicycles). I remember briefly there was a joke shop opposite the barbers. Also the hardware place too, where I used to go to get keys cut etc. I grew up in Chester Road.

    By Adam (06/02/2022)
  • My parents moved into jessop road in1968. The oval and beyond was all country side. When work started on the oval i got a job with Bisons concrete ltd who completed the concrete shell of the oval. While waiting for the shops to finish, the new supermarket, greengrocer and Pearce’s bakery opened temporary units on the oval car park consisting of sheds except Pearce’s bakery who were in a van. I operated the supermarket shed until we moved into the new build where l worked on the meat counter at the back of the shop until l joined the army in 1969. I returned to Stevenage with my family in 1993 and am now happily retired.

    By Norman Saunders (06/10/2021)
  • @Brian Davies, I worked at the hardware shop when Vic was The manager and Reg the owner in the late 70’s. Worked there until it was sold. I thought that Buds came after the Pyramid. Remember well the day Myself & My brother collected our Chopper bikes from the Toy Shop while my sister collected her Tomahawk. Half day closing on Wednesday.
    Happy Days

    By Karl (12/08/2021)
  • Who remembers marti wilde [Marty Wilde. Ed.] opening the hairdressers? I was only young and my mum was over the moon at meeting him. I’ve since lost his autograph.

    By Amanda mitchell (14/04/2021)
  • Lynne, was the pub called “Buds” before it was the Pyramid? Or was that after 🤔

    By Martin (16/02/2021)
  • Chris asked if anyone can remember the name of the food supermarket…. I think it may have been Fine Fair [It would have been Fine Fare, (not “Fair”), if so, like the supermarket on the corner of Town Square and Queensway. Ed.] if my memory servers me right, which then become Gateway and now Co-Op.
    I grew up on Wisden Road in the very early 80’s and mum would shop at the Oval. Happy days

    By Martin (16/02/2021)
  • My Dad used to manage the hardware shop in the early 1970’s and my Mum worked there too before later going to work in Pearce’s. We lived above the hardware shop. I used play out in the parade in my wheelchair and on my bike. I remember Cyril, Clive and Ricky in the barbers, Ken in the chip shop, Tom in the greengrocers, the butchers, Condrons the newsagents, Kings the chemists. I remember the Pyramid pub being built and the Church and community centre and the shops opposite and the man who owned the shoe shop whose name I forget and of course C&C electrical shop. I loved looking in the window of their shop at the TV’s, radio’s and tape recorders, all things I wanted but couldn’t have. Happy days! The Oval always had a real community feel to it.

    By Brian Davies (15/08/2020)
  • What was the pyramid pub call be for it became the pyramid

    By Lynne (11/03/2020)
  • Nice to see a Matthews butchers albeit a side view,
    Matthews sold out to Dewhurst in the late 80,s.
    Dewhurst (vestey) went in 95 but an MBO carried on until 2005,
    They sold 106 shops to Lloyd Maunder of Devon who closed the door in 2006,
    Keeping six in the West Country to go wither their 9 T/A West Country Butchers to this day,

    By norman finnimore (12/05/2019)
  • ‘Internationals’ – That was the posh corner food store. Next door was ‘Shopper’s Paradise’ that sold cheap bags of broken biscuits. lol

    The laundrette and barbers have always been there as has the fish & chip shop. The original window display fridge that had fresh fish laid out is still there!

    Wednesday night was the kids disco in the main hall of the community centre in the 70’s.

    We used to get bread crates from the back of Internationals and slide down the corner of the slope by the woods (Verity Way/ Vardon Road) underpass.

    By ohn - First generation 70's Stevenage boy (13/02/2019)
  • Regarding the comment about the budget supermarket………
    After Fine Fare the shop turned into ‘Shoppers Paradise’, which as you mentioned was, basically a blueprint for Lidl and Aldi. Do you remember all the goods were sold out of the boxes they arrived in and the shelves and racking were all made of 2×3 and plywood and they looked like they’d just been hammered together out the back….

    After Shoppers Paradise, there was Summerfield in the mid eighties (but I don’t think it lived very long)
    The Safeway group owned all three companies and I think Safeway themselves opened a store there in the late eighties, but I’m not too sure on that one 🙂

    I do remember the hardware shop at the far end on the left. Apart from Martins the newsagents, the hardware store was the only shop to be open on a Sunday. (till 12:00)

    I remember ‘Leo Sports & Toys’ in 1971 where I used to buy subbuteo. I think it changed it’s name to Playland (?????????)

    By Chris Legrand (11/07/2018)
  • I use to be the head paper boy at the Red Shop until I joined the army and my mum worked in the post office part. Later on drank in the Pub, think it was called Pin Green? What a lot of people don’t know is we lived next door to a guy called Ray Kennedy, who worked on the recordings of the Beatles albums first in Liverpool and then at Abbey Road, studio 2. We lived at Webb Rise.

    By Phil Barker (21/06/2018)
  • Can any one remember the name of the food supermarket that was at the oval in the late 70 80 all there goods were in yellow packaging and you shopped out of boxes from the shelves. Early discount supermarket.

    By Chris (17/12/2017)
  • The butcher’s is still there (but different name) and it stocks good quality meat. The hardware is still there, and has a great stock. Sadly the launderette has just closed down and very often when one of the shops closes down, a takeaway takes over, as is the case with an empty shop on the same side as the butcher’s; an application’s been made for an Indian takeaway. I came to live in Jessop road in 1975 btw.

    [Good news! The launderette reopened in 2018! Ed.]

    By Sue Bradford (14/05/2017)
  • The three little boys in the striped tops are our sons. They were, from left to right, John aged four, Matthew aged three and Paul aged two. They were often mistaken for triplets!

    At that time (1969) we lived in Archer road and would often go to to the Oval shops.

    By Delia Campbell (01/03/2015)
  • can anyone remember the young lad who used to work in the food shop in the 60s he used to do the meat at the back of the shop i used to say when i was little i was going to get married to him lol oh why cant Stevenage be like it was back in them days mums used to leave their babies out the front of the shop and they was  fine wouldnt leave my grandson outside a shop these days yes happy happy days !



    By SHELLEY PAGE (27/11/2014)
  • We use to shop regularly in Pin Green,on the way home from Pin Green Infants/Juniors school.Jennifer Hickson use to have ballet and tap lessons at the community center, on a Saturday morning,as i accompanied her a few times,to watch. Then i’d practice in the living room , leaping over the pouffey, spinning round, knocking the raffier lamp shades to pieces.Oh Yes i could dance. I also remember Tom the butcher, a big happy,smiley man, he was big to me as i was only little. Happy Days.Debbie 22/09/14



    By deborah Doherty (22/09/2014)
  • i used to live in Jessop Road when i was little i remember my nan giving me a pound for sweets but the lady in the sweet shop in the Oval wouldnt let me spend it all saying it was to much money to spend on sweets lol i was really upset and moaned at my dad who said i shouldnt of taken that much from nan in the first place when i was late teens my sister and myself used to go to the jumble sale in the church then we go in to the cake shop and go to her house in the 3 store houses just past the bridge from the Oval to have the most wonderful cakes ever with cuppa happy days !!!!!!

    By shelley page (18/02/2014)
  • Hi we have lived in Stevenage since 1956 and St Nicholas for over 30 years. The bakers at the oval was Pearces. The only remaining original shops I think are butchers and chemist maybe the hardware store.

    By Kathleen Nye (07/01/2013)
  • I used to work in the hairdressers in the Oval. It was the second salon, the other being at the Roebuck Shopping precinct. Maison Whites. Sue Gaskell, Lynn and Christine were some of the stylists. I used to work there on Saturdays washing hair, sweeping up and most importantly… making the tea. I really enjoyed working there especially the tips… 3d or 6d old money!!! I remember the cake shop opposite .. Symmonds Bakeries??? where for ( a shilling or less) you could get enormous Belgian Buns…. Happy memories

    By Terri Anderson (18/06/2012)
  • Nothing the Internet can teach us Phil – I remember when I was young my Mum used to write the order out in a little Red book and we would walk to the top of town with it ( that was another town – didn’t move to Stevenage until 1959) and hey presto the van delivered it next day only difference now is that we dont get the walk with Mum.

    By Tony Smith (31/05/2012)
  • Hi I was only young when they had the shop, I used to help do the deliveries on a Friday after school, I would just sit in the back push the boxes down to the back door of the van on each stop. Then when I was a bit older I was allowed to take the not so heavy ones to the customer. All this internet stuff – rubbish, you just called the shop put your order in and we delivered to your door.

    By Phil Lean (17/11/2011)
  • Hi, I remember Tony who ran the shop. The Oval is in Pin Green btw. My friend used to work there on a Saturday, Tracey Perkins. Haven’t seen her for years now.

    By Julia Davison (31/10/2011)
  • I must be loosing it my dads shop was in Pingreen not The Oval sorry

    By Phil Lean (30/08/2011)
  • Hi you may remember my father. He owned the green grocers there, Tony and my mother help out Sylvia.

    By Phil Lean (14/08/2011)
  • Hey Michael, we lived next door to you from 1973-9!

    By Jeremy Williams (21/03/2011)
  • Well spotted, Mr Mayor, that the photo was wrongly captioned. The correct date was indeed 1969!

    By Pauline Maryan (28/02/2011)
  • No Oval in 1965. We moved to Trumper Road when it was brand new in Feb 1968. The Oval shops were not built until about a year later.

    By michael downing (26/02/2011)