The shops in Hampden Road were like a meeting place for all the housewives. There was no refrigeration in those days so they had to shop nearly every day. Where the post office is now was Mr Swalwell’s shop, a greengrocer – he used to stand in the doorway. He would deliver if necessary with his horse and cart.
Joan Harvey of the 1930s
Many of the old shopfronts on Hampden Road are still commercial meeting places which have simply adjusted to a modern lifestyle and income. Battery Point residents today often refer to shopping in ‘the village’.
Today’s cafes and restaurants were once butchers, bakers, hotels, dressmakers, shoemakers and general stores which appeared from the 1840s. Jackman and McRoss cafe at the corner of Hampden Road and Kelly Street has always been a bakery.
The proprietors lived on the premises with their families and businesses were frequently family concerns. During the 1930s, the corner of Montpelier Retreat and Sandy Bay Road was known locally as ‘Kirks Corner’.
Old Kirk had a grocer’s shop right on the ‘wedge’. The next little shop just around the corner on Sandy Bay Road was a confectionery one which his wife had. The next one, nearest town, was the tobacconist, also run by a Kirk. – Joan Harvey of the 1930s
Before public schooling, small schools were plentiful. In the 1850s, Mrs Lamont ran a ‘ladies seminary’ at 26 Hampden Road while Mrs Mary Barber ran a similar establishment at Number 52.
Mr Swalwell, the greengrocer in Hampden Road, used to stand in the doorway. He was quite a character and would deliver if necessary with a horse and cart. He was one of the first in Battery Point to have a car – an old T model Ford. He asked Dad if he’d like to ride out to the country to go rabbiting. But the car wouldn’t start so they pushed it along Hampden Road to the top of Montpelier Retreat and rolled it down the hill in an effort to start it, but without success. My father Fred said: ‘What’s that keyhole for in the dashboard?’ Swally had to run home and get the ignition key!
– Joan Harvey talking about her childhood in the 1930s