CARDALL’S CORNER – Warwick Street – May 2016

By Robert Sherriff

This month Robert continues his reminiscence journey from Warwick Road up to Market Hill.

Once over the brook bridge below Abbey Green, Warwick Road becomes Warwick Street as far as Market Hill.

Almost opposite the jitty to Oxford Street was a small shop, “M Sherriff-Pork Butcher”, this being my Aunt Mag who made and sold the most delicious pork products, a particular favourite being her faggots, the flat type baked in a tray and cut into slices. Prior to her tenure Mr Teddy Beere ran his own butcher’s shop there and lived in the cottage adjoining, he wearing highly polished brown leather gaiters once common in rural life.

Just below the jitty opening, the large double doors are believed to be the entrance to the coach house for Vernon House in Oxford Street. Alan Griffin informs me that this block of houses was once a 17th/18th Century tannery where for a period he lived in No.2 with his parents and as a boy unearthed the horns of cattle from the brook bank.

Uphill, just past the jitty, was the Constable’s watchbox which survived well into living memory. The existence of the jitty created the phrase “You’ll be up the jitty!” solely for warning misbehaving boys that the Southam Magistrates Courthouse was at the other end across Oxford Street where it still stands, locked up & neglected.

Climbing Church Hill, still officially Warwick Street, we reach the barbers shop which is on the site of Mrs Hodges’ “Crock Shop”, where the full range of crockery could be purchased in any colour providing one required white. This was previously The Black Horse Inn, another of Southam’s many long lost pubs and the buying of cups, plates & saucers was still conducted over what was once the pub bar. To the rear, (now Kirk Wall,) was “The Room”, added by Mr Hodges, this being hired out and used for Keep Fit, Baking Classes, Beetle Drives and other activities. Up a little on the right hand side and before The Black Dog was a door leading into the small office of what was once the world HQ of The Southam Building Society which was eventually absorbed by The Leamington Spa Building Society. This was presided over by the considerable presence of Mr Bill Sturley. Above this was the room where the Southam Town Band practiced under the command of Mr Tommy White.

We are now at the end of Warwick Street as it enters Market Hill but before we leave, the building in front, now a cafe, was formerly The Coach & Horses pub and later Amor’s clothing shop for many years, Amor’s having relocated from the premises that became The Midland and later HSBC Bank, but we will leave that for another episode.

First published in the District Advertiser, Southam edition May 2016.