Cross's Florists & Fruiterers

Cross's shop

Cross's shop

Cross's shop

Cross's shop

3 Church Road

James and Ellen Cross moved to Lytham around 1872 from Little Harwood living in Woodville Cottage in Swainson St as James was employed as gardener at Woodvile which was later named 'The Leylands'. They raised a large family there. In the 1890s they moved away from there and opened a fruiterer's shop on Queen St. that became the newsagents. They weren't there long before moving round the corner to 3 Church Rd. James died around that time but Ellen continued to run the business assisted by her children. They did sell flowers as well as fruit and that was main line of the business. They also expanded into greengrocery as well.

The shop part of the building was originally half of the final size. When more space was required part of living accommodation downstairs became the shop. A staircase was moved and in the end all the living accommodation was upstairs, even using rooms in the attic. These were a good size but with a sloping roof. You were high enough up though to see ships in the river when the tide was in.

It was not just a retail shop as they also delivered goods initially by pony and trap , later by van. Over time Richard and Herbert did other things, but Maggie, Martha, Nellie and Joe ran the business after Ellen died in 1913. The pony and trap were kept in a building in the back street which was later used for the van. They all lived above the shop, Nellie moving to 23 Church Rd when she married John Hodkinson who was a tailor. Joe moved out after marrying Hilda Clark again living at 23 then 29 Church Rd eventually moving back to 3 Church Rd in the mid 1950s when Maggie and Martha died.

The aunties ran the shop and did the floristry whilst Joe did the deliveries and bought the stock, driving to Iddon's in Freckleton where he always tasted the apples first. Other items were purchased from the growers on the Moss, flowers from Billy Eccles in Wrea Green. Joe couldn't use the van for deliveries in the winter of ?1947 when there was very heavy snow. He used a sledge to get the orders to Ballam Rd.

The shop catered to the needs of the more well off part of the population and the Clifton's were customers although they tended to be rather slow at settling their account. One order that they placed took a lot of packing and organisation of transport as it had to be delivered to Kildalton House on the island of Islay.

Crosses always made the Rose Queen's crowns for Club day and my mother Cicely Cross was sure she had worn more of them than anybody else. Once they were nearly ready she had to wear them whilst the final adjustments were made to the flowers. Another annual job was Christmas wreaths that people ordered from afar and asked to be placed on various graves at St Cuthbert's. There was a great big hand written plan hanging on the back of a cupboard door that was vital on Christmas Eve when it was time to put them on the graves, usually just as it was starting to go dark. Sometimes if the grave wasn't on the plan and couldn't be found the wreath ended up on one where it looked appropriate.

As time passed younger members of the family helped run the business until they all got older and trading conditions changed. The business finally closed around 1967.

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Cross's shop
c. 1912
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Original deliveries
c. 1912
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Shop van
1920's
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Receipt
1950
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Floristry counter
c. 1960
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Cross's shop
1966
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Small carrier bag
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Wrapping paper for flowers