News that Helston’s Clarks shoe shop was to close after five decades prompted memories for one resident, who remembers buying boots from the same store 92 years ago.
Reg Jenkin, from Trevenen Road, has traced shoe making at 25 Meneage Street back to 1889, when Row Bootmakers opened there.
It was then taken over by shoemaker W Courtis in 1897, who had relocated from Church Street where he had been operating since 1873.
Mr Jenkin, now aged 97, was a five-year-old customer of W Courtis’ Boot and Shoe Warehouse in 1921 and said buying shoes in those days was a very different experience.
He told the Packet: “We had our first boots to go to school. In those days when you went to buy a pair of shoes you were spending big money and you had to consider. It isn’t like now when you buy a pair and throw them away next year.
“The pair of shoes had to last until I grew out of them and my younger brother had them.”
Mr Jenkin remembered he would wear the boots for 18 months to two years before they began pinching and they were passed down the family.
“Boots would be passed on or taken for a jumble sale – they were never thrown away like they are now,” he added.
A 1901 census for the property lists owner Ernest Courtis, aged 36, his wife Louis, 33, ten-year-old son Stanley, nine-year-old daughter Winnifred, two-year-old son Jack and 23-year-old Bessie Walters, who is listed as a general domestic servant.
The shop was run by a Mr Moyle and his son Bartle on behalf of Mr Courtis.
Mr Jenkin, who has been collecting information on every Helston business over the last 20 or so years, even owns a photograph of the W Courtis store when it opened in Meneage Street.
Among those pictured are Mr Courtis and a Mrs Carlyon from Camborne, who gifted the photo to Mr Jenkin.
Mr Jenkin has also amassed roughly 300 of his own drawings of businesses – although he did not take up drawing until he was 80, after meeting a Swiss artist onboard a ship bound for South Africa. During the crossing she taught him to draw.
n See a selection of Mr Jenkin’s drawings at thepacket.co.uk as well as a photo of the shop taken in 1897.