PORTRAITS OF THE UNDERBANKS

a place that makes itself

Mary Winter

Winter’s goes back to my husband David’s great uncle, who started with a hand cart. We had three floors, mahogany and iron staircases, twelve watch makers on the top floor. We made all the silver for the corporation, gold watches for companies, trophies as well as all the normal jewellery, anyone who had their wedding or engagement ring made with us got a set of six apostle spoons. I still have people showing me their rings and mentioning the spoons even now,

We used to have a window which, when we closed, wound down into the cellar, but around ’78 the insurers said that wasn’t secure enough. We had a safe that was built into the rock behind the shop – if anyone tried to blow that safe the whole Market Place would come down – but the insurers said that wasn’t secure enough either! We bought the clock, there is only one other like it, in Lancaster I think, children would come to watch the men dong the bells. When we left it was in perfect working order.

Stockport was made up of family businesses, lots of little shops. Louis, my husband’s father was known as Mr Stockport, he devoted his life to Stockport, on every committee, got the OBE. We bought next door in 1917. It has been a chip shop for fifty years now and he is successful because everyone knows where they are.

Before the precinct you could see the Mersey from the side of the White Lion.

We never had a sale, but then the multiple jewellers moved into the precinct selling the cheap gold chains that suddenly became popular.

The multiples took the heart out of Stockport. People have been very remiss. I hear they are going to knock down the ugly 60s development in the Underbanks, this place will look a lot better then and the Uderbank will become a busy and thriving community again, lots of little businesses and shops, they’re the perfect size for that, they’ll put the heart back into Stockport.

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