Before 1960 people used to do their shopping at the corner shop or the local small shop until the first supermarket opened in the Market Hall (Boxing Club), Market Street, Kidsgrove.
At one time Whitehill had five shops 3 of which were in the front room of the house. These were: a hairdresser (93 Whitehill Road), a grocers (115 Whitehill Road) and a general store/Post Office (216 Whitehill Road). The grocer at 115 also operated a corset measuring business. There was the Co-operative Society which by no means resembles the store as it is today. The Hairdressers next to the Co-op was a greengrocery/fishmongers. Lastly 216 Whitehill Road was a general store which also had a Post Office section.
The Co-operative Society resembled the shops you see at museums like Beamish. Cheese was cut on a marble slab and so was butter. Sugar was weighed in pounds and put in a blue paper bag. Most dry goods had to be weighed. There was little or no packaging in those days and certainly no bags were provided to carry shopping home. Youngsters were very rarely sent to the shop to buy eggs because they were put in a paper bag and would not always arrive home unbroken. You could buy one egg if you so wished. Mothers would buy their bread which was unsliced and place it on the bonnet of their child's pram and by the time they arrived home the child had chewed the corners off the loaf (no wrapping paper then).
Money was handed to the shop assistant who wrote out a slip in duplicate and placed one copy together with the money in a container, attached it to a wire, pulled a handle to send it on its way to an office at the back of the shop. The money was taken out and change put back in and sent back to the shop assistant. No credit cards in those days. Because all customers were members of the Co-operative Society they received a dividend (known as divi). Everyone looked forward to divi day.
When Sunday opening came into being stories tell that the Superintendent of Whitehill Weslyan Chapel (Bottom Chapel) said to the Sunday School children that he hoped that they would not spend their penny collection on sweets from No 216. How many penny gob stoppers were bought on their way home from Sunday School is anyone's guess.
Almost all every days needs were catered for by these 5 shops.
There were 3 farms in Whitehill where some produce could be purchased. Cotterill's farm (opposite 212 Whitehill Road), Archer's Farm (path leading from 128 Whitehill Road towards Tawney Close) and Hulme's Farm (opposite Maryhill School gates, Galleys Bank). A Mr and Mrs Mitchell lived in a cottage at Galleys Bank almost opposite William Road and they kept pigs and hens and youngsters would take their family's vegetable peelings to be made into pig swill which could be smelled in the street. In exchange for the peelings a sweet was given. If they did not require all their produce then they would sell it to the locals.
If you wanted something special like clothes or household goods people ventured out to Hanley or Tunstall possibly on Stanier's or Rowbotham's bus or even used the Loop Line.