'Letterbox'

Dear Norma,

Thank you for the December issue of The Key – I was very interested in the old photo of Vaughan Street, North Skelton, which appeared on page 14.
I believe that the general dealer’s shop pictured was originally owned by my great grandfather, Edwin Tuck. I know that by 1891 the Tuck family ran the grocers/drapers and post office at Wharton Buildings in Vaughan Street, and that my great grandmother, Grace Tuck, ran the shop with her daughter Ellen being postmistress. My grandfather, Albert Tuck, was the grocer’s assistant.
My great grandfather also ran another shop – a grocers/drapers – at 37-41 High Street, Boosbeck, and in the census of 1891 other members of the family are listed here. In later years, other sons had shops in the area. My grandad Albert took over the running of the Vaughan Street shop and his brother, Sim, ran the greengrocers in Boosbeck.
By 1896, grandfather Albert Tuck had become the sub-postmaster for North Skelton, and the shop became called ‘ Tuck & Thompson’ – which was a post office and general stores. My grandfather went into partnership with his brother-in-law, whose name I believe was John Thompson. John Thompson had married Maria Tuck (Albert’s sister – who was always known as Pat) and they lived in Loftus with their sons, Eddie and Percy.
Albert married Emma Armstrong who taught at Stanghow Lane School in 1896, and together they ran the general stores in Vaughan Street for several years. In December 1897 my father, Alexander, was born in the flat above the shop. He was often looked after by his maternal grandparents, William and Mary Armstrong who lived at 71 High Street, Skelton. William was verger at All Saints Church.
My dad, Alex, used to mention playing with Vera Cross, whose father had the butcher’s shop in Vaughan Street a couple of doors away from the general stores. One day when the two were in a pony and trap, Vera pushed him and he fell out, breaking his arm. The arm was set but didn’t mend correctly so it had to be broken and reset. No anaesthetic was given in those days and Dad said that he screamed so much that his mother couldn’t stand it and had to leave the room!
When I visited North Skelton a few years ago, I was just starting to trace my family’s roots in what was then North Yorkshire. Although I had a lot of information from my father who was alive at the time, I never really pinpointed where the shop had been until later on in my research. Your photo of the shop, with the advertisement for Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish on the side of the building is the old post office/general stores of the late 1800’s.
If any of your readers can fill me in with more information on the shop at that time or the Tuck family who ran it, I should be very, very grateful. My dad never tired of telling stories of his happy childhood in North Skelton and when my husband and I visited the area we stayed at the Wharton Arms and were made to feel very welcome by everyone we met.

Pamela Last, Torquay, Devon

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