If you had a wish which shop would you bring back to the precinct?

Having been reminded of buying our first cooker, around 1986, at the Gas Showroom, here is a fuller list of shops in Bury Street Precinct from about that time. Four are unchanged, and remarkably they are all now neighbours, and are pictured below as they look today.

If you were granted a wish to bring back one shop from the list (or from any other time), which would it be?

1/2 Columbian Cafe and Restaurant
3 Pic a Card
4 Radio Rentals
5 Adams Childswear
7 Parslows of Reading (Bakers)
8 Savory and Moore (Chemist)
9 Currys Ltd (Electrical)
10 Sketchley (Cleaners)
11 Dewhurst (Butchers)
12 K Shoes
13 Wigfalls Television
14 Frend & Co Limited (Jewellers)
15 Qualifruit
16 Halfords (Cycles / Motor Accesories)
17 H L Textiles
18 British Gas (Southern)
19 John Lane Ltd
21 Mister Mint
22 F W Woolworth & Co Ltd
23 Gateway Foodstore Ltd
24 Times Furnishing Ltd
25 H Samuel (Jeweller)
Long Serving Shop
26 Clays (Butchers & Greengrocery)
26a Dorothy Perkins (Female Clothes)
Long Serving Shop
27/28 Boots (The Chemist)
Long Serving Shop
29 The Gift Centre
Long Serving Shop
30 Centre News
32 Foster Bros Clothing Co Ltd (Male)
33 Focus Shoes
34 Lemon Plaice
35 Oxonian Travel Service
36 Abbey National Building Society
37 Mr Candy
37 Swiss Chalet
37 Gerrards Ltd (Greengrocers)

30 thoughts on “If you had a wish which shop would you bring back to the precinct?

  1. Native

    abbo man, thats exactly the comment i was going to make. I remember going in there with my nan and buying a toy gun that you could see sparking on the inside. Brilliant!

  2. rudi

    i recall going in zodiac toys many a time looking for rare he man figures as a kid. then there was the greengrocers – as teens i went in there with a friend and was shocked to see the nude model we had painted earlier that week in art class was in there buying fruit and veg!
    for nostialgia reasons it has to be woolies even though they were the architects of their own misfortune – wilkinsons are their modern day reincarnation so maybe we need them in the precinct.

  3. Hester


    Other than that I agree with all those who say butcher and green grocer I would have said baker, but actually all we need is for the Patisserie to move in there.

  4. rudi

    the internet has changed the face of retail – no good pretending otherwise.
    that and big shops – if they had toys r us when i was little i doubt i’d have much time for zodiac toys – or the other toy shop that was in the high street – the guy in there once looked through a whole box of star wars figures to find me a gammorean guard.

  5. GJ

    Not part of the Bury Street discussion but the best toy shop was Carters in Stert Street, formerly Picket’s (TV and Radio).

  6. Angela

    Modern Music, please, in the days when it had a comprehensive classical section and you could buy all the grade exam pieces and sheet music to suit all tastes and talents.

  7. Hester

    Fine Guitars on Stert Stret sell the grade books for piano and theory as well as guitar – not sure about other instruments.

    But i agree about Haken and Bell/Modern music – many happy hours spent upstairs in there.

  8. rudi

    haken and bell actually soldered up an audio lead for me for my spectrum +3 from scratch – now that’s service!
    but again, in this day and age i’d just get one posted from hong kong for a quid from ebay.

  9. Sasha

    Abingdon has a butchers in Queen Street. It’s a catering unit and they supply a lot of cafes, pubs and restuarants locally. There is no shop front just a door and a serving hatch but they do welcome the public.

  10. Nick

    Hedges are a good quality butcher. In my view, we could use a nice sign over the alleyway from the market place to alert townsfolk to their presence

  11. Col


    Zodiac Toyshop also, (Used to buy my Plastic Model kits of Hot Rods in there for 50p each…..
    (Now worth a fortune on Ebay- Oh if Id only known 😉

  12. frank

    we once had a butchers,greengrocers,and bakers,all under one roof in abingdon.i think mid to late 1960s i worked for JH DEWHURST.

  13. Andrew Salmon

    I lived In Abingdon form 81 – 86 I loved going to Haken and Bell of a weekend to buy my records and John Menzeis in the corner of the market square where we bought our computer games, good times and brilliant memories.

    My brother worked in Dewhursts the Butcher at that time aswell.


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