A quarter of sherbet lemons

18 Nov


The foundations of the British Empire were built on our sugar addiction.  Without the British people’s insatiable desire for sugar, we may never have colonised large sections of the globe and the world could be a very different place today.  One of the many legacies of the Empire’s sugar trade, is the dizzying array of sweets invented by the British.   Sugar has been fashioned into soor plums, kola cubes, rhubarb and custards, aniseed twists, sasparillas, dolly mixtures, gobstoppers, cherry lips and hundreds of other varieties of confectionary.

When I was growing up there were sweet shops in every neighbourhood, selling treasure by the quarter (4 oz) in little paper bags.  I can still remember the happy day my Grandpa gave me £1 to spend on sweets, a dizzyingly large amount in the late 1970’s.  Instead of my usual agonising decision over what to buy with my pennies, I had the wherewithal to choose some of all my favourites.

Nowadays proper sweet shops are a dying breed, but Lollipop Sweet Shop on St John’s Hill, near Clapham Junction is a nostalgic recreation of every sweet shop I remember from my childhood, with rows and rows of bottles full of brightly coloured jewels.  When you make your choice the shopkeeper still shakes the sweets in to the metal bowl of the scale with a satisfying clatter, and you still hope his hand will slip and you’ll get a few more than you paid for in the pink stripy paper bag.  And choosing what to have is still an agonising decision.

This post is part of Wanderfood Wednesday. For more travel food stories, head here.


13 Responses to “A quarter of sherbet lemons”

  1. Laura 18/11/2009 at 11:15 am #

    We have a little sweet hut in the village. It is quite literally a garden shed and it’s been there for years.

    The woman who runs it is around 80 and when you go in you sometimes have to wake her up to serve you.

    There’s nothing like a quarter of sweets measured out and put in a little paper bag!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2009 at 12:45 pm #

      How lovely, I hope she has someone to pass it on to when she finally retires. A career move for you perhaps?

  2. Kelly 18/11/2009 at 12:43 pm #

    There is a shop like this in Lewes – I have to stop myself going in all the time. They sell Wham bars too which were my kiddy crack when I was a child 🙂

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2009 at 12:43 pm #

      Ooh I used to love Wham bars, all sweet and chewy with the little sour fizzy bits. Yum yum!

  3. Nisha 18/11/2009 at 12:56 pm #

    We have grown up on these sweet little things. they are part of childhood lives wherever the children are.

  4. TheMadHouse 18/11/2009 at 2:13 pm #

    I love old fashions sweet shops, one of my fav memories was popping to the corner shop with my 10p of a bag of mixups, half pence nad panny sweets. £1 is am amazing amount to be given to spend on sweets.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2009 at 12:41 pm #

      I know, imagine having 100 penny sweets. Quite an effective way of buying a child’s affection!

  5. jessiev 18/11/2009 at 3:35 pm #

    oh, yum!! what a lovely, lovely post. made me hungry!

  6. Tammie Dooley 18/11/2009 at 3:52 pm #

    what wonderful memories this conjures. there truly isn’t much as satisfying as a proper sweet shop. Thank you for this!

  7. marina villatoro 19/11/2009 at 12:11 am #

    what a great place. I’ll go nuts in there, so you can imagine what my son would do, besides being in heaven, he’d have a sugar overdose for sure.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2009 at 12:40 pm #

      We go there as a treat after we’ve had a long walk, in the hope that this mitigates the sugar rush somewhat!

  8. Wanderluster 19/11/2009 at 3:39 pm #

    I admit that my teeth hurt looking at these photos, but I still LOVE my sweets!


  1. Fish Club « It's a small world after all - 24/02/2010

    […] came courtesy of Lollipop sweet shop a few doors down the road.  We then cycled home across the muddy, wintery common fueled […]

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