My parents moved into Fore Street in 1938 and remained there until 1962. My mother sold wool and sewing materials on one side, whilst my father sold and repaired radio and electrical goods from the other. However, following the outbreak of War in 1939 he found himself working in the dockyard at Devonport and acting as a special constable in the city in his ‘spare’ time, but he was able to get home most weekends.
Before taking over the shop he ran a taxi service from where the old fire station was sited at the top of Robartes Road. One of his contracts was to take Methodist local preachers to their appointments. On one occasion he took Will Bunt to St Eval, but the service went on a bit and impatient to get home he bent his ear to the door to hear any signs of the last hymn. Instead he heard Will booming out ‘there’s a sinner outside the door, won’t he come in….!
Their tenure at the business saw the advent of television, and father had the first TV licence in the village on 3rd October 1953, only the second in the county and it was a big disappointment to him that someone from Falmouth beat him to the first. It cost £2. On cup final days he would turn on a set in the shop window for the men of the village to watch, but this attracted such a crowd that the bus could not pass down without the local PC clearing a way through. After that it was set up in the garage.
Another service provided was the recharging of accumulator batteries for household radios. Once charged they would last about a week, and he also did a round to outlying areas on Saturday mornings. As most of these customers were not yet wired up for electricity, the round had the merit of building relationships with people who would eventually need his contracting services.
For a while my mother also ran a library which was very popular and I also as I got older honed my retail skills selling model aircraft kits!
Eventually the rise of retail giants and the abolition of retail price maintenance spelt the end of another of the village’s enterprises, and when father saw Curry’s selling washing machines for less than he could buy them he knew the writing was on the wall
George Miller - August 2010
Mr. and Mrs. Miller's electrical and wool shop (centre)
Photograph used with kind permission
from Francis Antony Printers - St.Austell