Small Town Life from Martin Schell : Part 1
This is an excerpt from Martin Schell’s book Small Town Life: Fishguard in the 1960s and 1970s…
A&E Nicholls and Sons
Fishguard must have been buzzing during the 1960s, as why else would it have needed anything quite as all-encompassing as the wonders to be found behind the many doors through which you could have entered A&E Nicholls and Sons?
The shop took up the entire length of pavement space between the Brodog and the cinema. One set of doors took you into the section dealing with carpets and furnishings, the next into the general household section, and the final set of doors – the interesting ones from my point of view – went into the toy section.
A&E Nicholls and Sons had everything a young boy could have wanted. There were scores of plastic model kits, pirate ships, imitation watches and bejewelled rings, Letraset Waddington’s Transfer Panoramas, and every type of small and large toy imaginable.
On entering the shop and passing straight by the counter on the left, the young shopper would be confronted with shelves running along both lengths and one width of the shop, as well as a central shelf area running the length which could be accessed from either side. The toys were mostly on the left side of the shop and on the end wall, with a return journey up the right side leading past the tourist souvenirs such as (for some bizarre reason) Scottish flags to go on top of sandcastles, and signs saying: “Nice to handle, nice to hold, but if broken, consider sold.” I wonder whether that warning would stand up in court these days?
I spent a lot of my time and pocket money in A&E Nicholls and Sons during the 1960s, and to me it seemed the least imposing of the various shops of its kind in town. Maybe this was because the shop was brightly lit and the shelves were low enough to have been entirely accessible, but also on reflection the range of toys was simple and unthreatening. I mean, you can’t go wrong with a fake gold watch which looks pretty swish on your wrist, as it was never designed to actually tell the time in the first place.
Martin Schell grew up in Fishguard in the 1960s and 1970s, and lived there until 1989. This is an excerpt from his book Small Town Life: Fishguard in the 1960s and 1970s, available on Amazon Kindle and a snip at £2.50. Other titles of his are available there too.