8 Castle Street | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

8 Castle Street

8 Castle Street
8 Castle Street, Berkhamsted

The house at 8 Castle street has a distinctive front window that suggests it was once in use as a shop. At the turn of the 20th century this was a tobacconist and confectioner’s shop, run by Frank East.

When the former shop window of 8 Castle street was re-painted in 2016, the original sign writing for F. East, tobacconist and confectioner could be made out. The window panes also still carry the outline of lettering advertising Frys Chocolate.

East’s sweet shop was mentioned briefly by Graham Greene; in his 1971 autobiography A Sort of Life, he recalled in Castle Street:

“…rather inferior shops, not up to the High Street standard: a sweet-shop (one had to climb steps to enter it) where we bought the mineral waters for our manoeuvres.”

East’s confectioners is still in living memory; some older inhabitants in Berkhamsted recall the shop when it was being run by the Easts.

May 2016: 

Chrissie Johnson: I think Miss east’s sweet shop used to be open on a Sunday – we used to call in after a walk along the canal

Maggie Goss: Yes it was and remember going in there after church or Sunday school – happy memories

Peter Huddle: Mrs East was a nice old lady

Maggie Goss: I also remember an elderly gentleman also in the shop wearing a black hat?

Chrissie Johnson: I think that was her father. I remember mum telling me she had never married to look after him.

Linda Kaal: Yes, that would be Mr East, her father, he used to shout at us kids when we climbed the holly tree in the church grounds opposite his shop. (She then speculates, slightly surprisingly:  ‘dont know why as he was Jewish.. hence the hat!)

Valerie Cooper. Yes, I remember the little shop in Castle Street with all the different bottles of fizzy on the counter, we would go in there after Sunday School and buy 1d glass, my favourite was cherryade.

Rob Austin: I used to go to sunday school as well Valerie then into Easts for Glass of pop

Hugh Bowey: I remember Mr East. I liked the dandelion and burdock or cream soda for a penny a glass.

Phil Lambert: My mum used to send me to East’s with an empty bottle for a pint of vinegar, they used to pour it out of a big one gallon demi-john.

Linda Kaal:  I used to get my moms craven a fags there

Terry Allen: We also went in there after Sunday school if I remember they had quite a choice of drinks

Colin Reedman: I was a regular in the Castle Street shop. Delicious drinks served by a lady who was, I recall, a bit stern

Phil Lambert: Stern indeed Colin, she was almost scary.

Alan Jordan: I remember East’s in Castle Street. Miss East offered 3 sizes of drink 1 2 or 3 pence glasses.

Enid Randall: I remember Miss East in Castle Street, she sold us our cottage in Ellesmere rd in the 1960s.

Valerie Cooper I remember the little shop in Castle Street, used to go there with my brothers and sister after Sunday School to buy 1d measure of fizzy drink, all the bottles on the counter to chose from, so much choice for a little child!

Terry Allen We all went there after Sunday School for either a drink or sweets

Lyne Wainright: I remember that shop! Loved going there.

Jean foreman: It was a great shop and I remember it well

Carol Williams: remember the big step

May 2020:

Gill spencer I remember that shop with a step up we got a glass of lemonade for a penny before we went to the Saturday matinee in the court house

Richard Lambert She was a funny lady

Dave Bone: Just down from the hairdresser was a sweet shop you had to go up two steps to get in and they sold pop by the glass tuppence a glass if memory serves.

Richard Lambert 1 penny for half a glass or tuppence for a full one!

Phil Lambert: that was East’s shop, Mrs east was a bit scary. I used to get sent there with an empty vinegar bottle to get half a pint of vinegar. She had a big demi John full of vinegar and stuck a funnel in my bottle and glugged it in.

Colin Readman: The shop was run by a rather stern lady. I had many a drink there.

Jean Foreman: Remember the shop and this lady very wll but loved her penny drinks

Don Kibble confirmed he had visited the sweet shop as a boy often – the counter was L-shaped (long back wall and in front of f/p); there was a bell on the door, and the aim was to get into the shop as quickly as possible and nick some sweets. They also sold ‘penny drinks’ – Corona etc.



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