The Wilderness on left used as doctors' surgery; demolished 1971. "Gary" comments: Gateway opened their supermarket on that site in February 1972 .Terry Wogan even opened it ensuring a front page piece in the DET. Kwik Save took over in 1986, merging into Somerfield until being bought by Co-Op in 2010.
The surgery, which was housed in the central part of The Wilderness, our family home, was run by Dr Rudge, who lived in the unusual villa with the double fronted staircase on Dale Road, on the left hand side, about 100 yards after the parade of shops at Huntley Avenue.
On the corner of Poplar Avenue, opposite our house, The Wilderness, was a ladies' dress shop run by Mrs Montin. It connected to her husband's gents' outfitters - he was Mr Harrington. Then came the food shop run by Allan Stevens. This was next to the phone box and bubble gum machine, where the Bobby-on-the-Beat reassuringly stood. By the zebra crossing was the bread shop (Co-op?). Then a general / newspaper shop run by Albert Elson. After a small yard there was the fish and chip shop run by Morris Alsopp. He was always "round the back" and I used to love the act that you had to shout "shop!" as you walked in. Mr Walker's vegetable shop, was then followed by Barton's butcher, on the corner of Chapel Street. on the other side of the road, slightly up Dale Road, was the double fronted grocery run by Mr Blanchard. The Post Office was opposite the White Hart. By the side of the jitty running down to the Rec was another butcher's shop. Then Mrs Copp the Hairdresser and the electrical shop run by Bob Simms. Opposite The Wilderness was Mrs Coxon's butchery. She "manfully" took over the business when her husband died. The tall house, opposite The Wilderness, was occupied for decades by Mrs Rotherham. The Co-op building, next to the petrol station, was the Cinema, which we called The Flea Pit. The reel to reel films broke regularly. Beyond the petrol station was Housley's Pharmacy. The Village Hall was next door to The Wilderness.