After I posted about the newly revealed sign at the corner of Howard Road and Lytton Road (address number 17 Lytton Road), someone put me in touch with a very nice lady called Rosemary who lived for 74 years at number 74 Lytton Road. I had a chat with Rosemary about the shop and unfortunately she didn’t remember Reg Pratt, but she was able to tell me a few other interesting things about it.
When Rosemary was a child (from the 1930s onwards), the shop was occupied by Miss Inman who was a draper and haberdasher, selling baby wear, hooks and tapes, ladies’ jumpers etc. This tallies with what I was able to find out by looking at Leicester directories from 1908 and 1916, when the shop was a drapers owned by Mr Robert Stoke and Miss Nellie Lamb respectively, and then in the 1928 Kelly’s Directory Miss Mary A Inman.
After Miss Inman retired, the shop was bought by a lady who ran it as a very nice grocers. Her husband was a postman and nearing retirement, when something awful was discovered. He had been taking parcels and registered letters meant for delivery, and hiding them in the shed at the bottom of his garden at number 17 Lytton Road. None of them were opened, so the man hadn’t been gaining from his crime, but nevertheless it was a serious matter and he had to leave the Post Office and also lost his pension. It was a great scandal in Clarendon Park and the couple left the area soon after.
Rosemary remembers that an Asian family took over the premises and kept them as a grocers, very well run. The husband left to become a religious leader in his faith. It became at some point a computer shop for students, and after this a clothes recycling shop that no one ever seemed to go in.
I am still wondering about Reg Pratt. The only mentions of him I can find is are 1959, when he first appeared in the Phone Book (though he may have been there before that, but without a telephone), Kelly’s Directory of 1960 as I mentioned in my previous post, and the Phone Book of 1960. So perhaps it was a very short-lived business, in which case it’s no wonder Rosemary can’t remember it. I’m going to look into all of this in more detail at the record office – in the meantime, if you know any more about it do let me know. Thanks, Simon, for putting me in touch with Rosemary. Elizabeth