Sharp’s cobbler’s shop and Brimfield’s van, Pontypool.

I recently received an email from Roy Davies which jogged my memory about a few things. This is what he says:

“I have been going back in time, as it were, since finding your site, quite often. My father, Ernest “Curly” Davies, in common I imagine with most other working class men, used to repair our shoes himself. He’d send one of us down to “Sharpies” shop in George street, Pontypool, just above the Royal cinema for a piece of leather and tacks.

                 “Sharpy” was Cyril Sharp, cobbler and seller of all things sporting from tennis racquets to longbows, and slings to knives, a fascinating shop. Inside, behind the counter, was a mound of stuff that seemed to be just thrown there. But, if you came to collect something e.g.shoes that your dad wasn’t able to repair, they were always in that mound. Without fail Cyril would pick them out immediately. Lovely place to visit.

                  The mobile business I referred to was Brimfield’s. He had a van, quite like nothing seen locally. The body of the van was fitted out with glass fronted boxes and inside was all manner of hardware, from tap washers, complete taps and just about everything a house would need.  At the rear of the van were taps from which paraffin was dispensed into copper measuring jugs.The van was always immaculate, clean and polished.

                   Both Cyril and the Brimfields lived along Wainfelin Road. The Brimfields had a yard on the left side just as you rounded the bend and came to the straight with the chip shop on the far end on the right,

                   I wonder if there are any photos of the van . . . would be interesting.”  

Painting of George Street, Pontypool. Sharp’s cobbler’s shop would be
slightly off this picture, on the left but a little further up the street.

I remember Sharp’s shop though I didn’t go in there all that often. But I remember Brimfield’s van very well indeed as I lived in School Lane, Wainfelin, not far away. My friend John Paine and I were friendly with John Brimfield who was a year or so younger than us. I remember the store house in the yard next to the Brimfield’s house. There was a huge gallery made of strips of 2×1 inch timber and on these were all the carpets they used to sell. In the middle was a hollow part which we used as a sort of den. John Brimfield used to go into the house and pinch a few of his father’s cigarettes out of his tin of 50. These were quite common during the war when men in the forces, especially sailors, were supplied with the tins of 50 quite cheaply. We used to smoke the cigarettes secretly and out of view in our den amongst the carpets.

Wainfelin Road, Pontypool. Brimfield’s yard would be behind the white
wall
 in the centre of the picture. Brimfield’s house is the white one
with a
 window showing. It was almost directly opposite
Wainfelin Post Office
.

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8 Responses to “Sharp’s cobbler’s shop and Brimfield’s van, Pontypool.”

  1. John Owen Says:

    My recollection of Sharpies location places it in Crane Street in the late 40s/early 50s next to Williams men’s clothing store and across from the lower market entrance. I often went there for catapult elastic and darts. One Xmas my dad bought me a rugby ball as a present from Sharps. My brother-in-law confirms my recollection, he too bought dart flights at Sharps.
    Also Kelly’s Directory of 1937 shows a Herbert Sharp in business at 14 Crane Street, the location I am thinking about. Cyril Sharp lived on Osborne Road.

  2. Tony Werrett Says:

    I remember sharpies shop in george street as a small boy 60 years ago.My grandmother Mrs Jones ran a sunday newspaper buisness from Belmont House which was situated further up George street on the opposite side of the road.I spent many happy hours looking in this shop.

  3. Roy Davies Says:

    Around 1955 (ish) I used to deliver the Argus around Wainfelin and Cyril was one of my customers. Obviously he had moved .

  4. Audrey Ross Says:

    I remember Brimfield delivering paraffin in the 50’s.

  5. Dick Morris Says:

    Did Mister Sharp have a daughter called Anne? I ask because I went to Abersychan Grammar School with an Anne Sharp who’s father, I believe owned a sports shop. If this is the case, does anybody know what happened to Anne?

  6. David sharp Says:

    Hi, no Mr Sharp didn’t have a daughter called Anne. His wife was Annie Sharp who worked in the opticitians further down the road.
    His daughters were Judy and Wendy.
    I know this because they were my grandparents!
    My Grandad use to sit me on the counter when I was a small lad. I can just about remember the shop.
    It’s been great to read about him.

  7. Dick Morris Says:

    David, thanks for your post. But it merely deepens the mystery for me. Could one of Mr Sharp’s daughters possibly have had Anne as a second name? And could she possibly be the girl I went to Abersychan Grammar School with from 1954-59?

  8. Dick Morris Says:

    I’ve been able to do a bit more research in connection with my old schoolmate Anne Sharpe (with an ‘e’ – so she was obviously not related to Cyril ). She lived, I believe, in Moreton Street, Pontypool, and had, if I remember correctly, a boyfriend named Howard.

    If anyone can tell me what became of her, I would be very grateful.

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