The Skipton I remember - with suits for 50 shillings: Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Elizabeth Peacock, Former Conservative MP for Batley & Spen.

Andrew Vine's recent column on Skipton has prompted former mP Elziabeth Peacock to write about her childhood memories.

From: Elizabeth Peacock, Former Conservative MP for Batley & Spen.

I MUCH enjoyed Andrew Vine’s recent feature on Skipton, particularly as it was about market day in the town. I was born in Skipton in the early 1940s and lived there for many years.

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We lived in a small stone-built house at the top of Victoria Street, which was some years later demolished as it lacked any facilities.

Skipton featured in The Yorkshire Post's recent series on market towns.

There was vehicle access down at the bottom of the street on to Coach Street near the bridge over the canal but it was not used for vehicles much as the residents did not have cars.

We could also get to Sheep Street and then High Street by walking through a narrow ginnel which brought us into Sheep Street and shops.

At that time there were quite a few shops there and on the right of the ginnel in Sheep Street there was a Lotus shoe shop and then a baby clothes shop. On the left of the ginnel there was the men’s outfitters, Breare’s, where men who could afford it could have a suit made.

It was run by two brothers, Eric and Alec Breare. My dad never went there! If you could not afford to have a suit tailored to your needs, as it was expensive, you could always go down to the bottom of the High Street opposite the Post Office and get a 50-shilling suit (£2.50 now) from Montague Burton or a sports jacket from Greenwoods!

Former Batley & Spen MP Elizabeth Peacock was born in Skipton.

Opposite Breare’s and Lotus was Harry Bean’s pork pie shop, which was most popular for hot pork pies for lunches for people working in the offices on the other side of the high street, including Skipton Building Society, which is still there.

Every weekend, usually on Saturday, the Salvation Army band played in the High Street and this was very good for all those living through wartime.

Any news on the BBC Home Service was all about the war and the bombing in London and in places like Hull and Sheffield. No mobile phones, computers or portable music in those days.

I do remember the fruit stalls on the High Street and sometimes farmers selling eggs from their poultry but, in more modern times, the stalls in the market diversified and sell a variety of goods.

Now when I go to Gargrave to stay with a friend of very many years, we can still go into Skipton to look at the market.

The town and market is still very popular with many people in West Yorkshire and also South Yorkshire, who can board a local train and get to Skipton very easily and enjoy a lovely day out.

I understand parking is not too good.

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James Mitchinson

Editor