~ Gallery - Shops ~
Ruiton Street, Lower Gornal
Ruiton Street winds it's way from the Five Ways, Lower Gornal upwards towards Ruiton, several shops and businesses were and still are trading in the lower region around the Five Ways.
There is also a Methodist chapel, and three pubs, but only one of these "The Chapel House" remains.
In the early 20th Century, the upper part of the street was mainly small terraced dwellings, men folk working as miners, quarrymen and womenfolk were often brickyard workers and quite a number were engaged in the rag trade.
The 1911 Census shows many women working as a tailoress in a 'Clothing Factory'. [Possibly Clifford Williams in Louise Street?]
House/shop numbering is odd numbers on West side of Street, starting at No. 1 at the Five Ways. re-numbering took place in the early 20th Century, on the East side from the Five Ways No.107 became No.2 and thence even numbering.
In the above photo, from the 1950s up until the early 1990s, on the left (No.9) was Florence (Florrie) Smiths clothes shop.
On the right occupying both no.11 and No.13 was Jean Balls, another clothes shop.
The small lock-up shop at No.19 next to the British Legion was Lower Gornal Post Office from the 1960's until the 1990's after which the P.O. moved to the Newsagent's in Lake Steet.
Currently this is a model shop.
1876, Dudley Herald, October 28.
DESTRUCTIVE FIRE. --On Tuesday night last, a fire broke out in a warehouse adjoining Mr John Thompson's chemist shop, Five Ways, Lower Gornal, and completely destroyed the warehouse besides injuring the shop. It appears that the warehouse was filled with oil, turpentine, benzoline, and such like, and one of the barrels was found to be leaking. An assistant went into the place with a candle in order to discover the leak, and whilst doing so some straw causght fire, and before it could be extinguished the fire extended to the oil, the building soon being one mass of flames. The assistant called for assistance, and in a short time a large number of persons were in attendance, and by their exertions, the fire after raging for about an hour and a half, was subdued. One man, at imminent risk to himself, succeeded in bringing out a barrel of benzoline, and another man was almost suffocated, being brought out of the warehouse, where he was assisting in removing some of the furniture and some of the things inside the shop, in an insensible condition. Though some of the furniture and things inside the shop were injured, no very serious damage was done, in consequence of the door leading to the warehouse having been closed. It was a very fortunate thing the door was closed, as just over the door, inside the shop, were a number of packages containing gunpowder.. The damage to the stock and property is estimated at about 300, but insured in Liverpool, London and Globe offices, and property in the Law Union Company.
6 Ruiton Street: This was quite a large shop by Gornal standards, Katar's Builders Merchants last traded from these premises, it was a hardware shop in the 1980s, but previously and as the ghost sign shows was a 'Drug Store'.
Joseph William Thomas, Son of Isaac and Louisa Thomas of 'Sheepcotewall' (Kent Street), Upper Gornal, a chemists assistant at 17 years old.
1881 Census described him as a 'Chemist & Druggist' at 105 Ruiton Street.
By 1891 he was a Chemist and Postmaster in Ruiton Street,
Joseph married Mary Thompson in 1880, he died in 1909, his Son, Howard Bertram Thomas carried on the business, Howard married Nancy Turner in 1918.
Howard B. Thomas, druggist was listed in Kelly's 1912 Trade directory, exact address in Ruiton not given but most likely this was now his store.
Howard died in 1935, leaving his wife Nancy to run the business.
Sale advert 1950
Nancy Thomas listed in the 1940 Kelly's Directory, s drug store proprietor of 6 Ruiton Street, she died on 26th October, 1949, her estate included a number of properties from around Birmingham put up for sale in 1950, including two shops 2 & 4 Ruiton Street.
The subsequent owner, John Thomas led to the shop being known locally as 'Johnny Cacks', he ran the shop as a general and hardware store where you could buy everything from sweets to paraffin.
The store closed around 1972 and was unoccupied for a number of years, before re-opening as 'Katar Building Supplies', a DIY shop in 1982 and was trading only for a few years.
After the final closure, the store was unoccupied before being demolished in 2010, modern apartments have been built on the site.
See also Shops on the Five Ways
In Mr J. R. Stenson's book entitled "Looking Back - Do you Remember? The Salop Street area on to the Five Ways Lower Gornal 50 Years Ago" . He recalls some of the shops and folk in Ruiton Street in the 1950s, these extracts included with his kind permission.
"Florrie Smith ran a quality drapers shop at No.9. As you entered this shop there was a large counter on the left with all sorts of display cabinets. Florrie was a nice obliging matronly lady. At the side of Florries were double gates which led to a coal yard. Roy Parkes delivered coal for her from there.
Sam Cox was at No.7. Sam was a good old fashioned traditional barber. He was of slight build, and wearing his white cow gown, would almost seem to dance round you as he gave you your short back and sides.
On the corner, Harry Robinson had a large cobblers shop. Harry was a stocky gentleman and always wore his brown cow gown. The shop was always busy and had that wonderful distinct smell of newly cut leather."
Holloway Stores (Nr.77) - two lock-up shops in Ruiton Street near the junction with Stickley Lane.
Photo CDM 2013
Major disruption on Ruiton Street.
Erecting 10 new apartments, 2019.
These two small lock-up shops occupy a rather unglamorous location where Holloway Street follows on from Ruiton Street near to the Stickley Lane junction, they were erected in the late 1940s.
Currently this has grocery and hairdressers shops.
J. Fellows was the proprietor of the grocery store in the 1960s and the hairdressers was previously a drapery store.
To the rear are fabulous views towards Kinver and beyond.
The following businesses were trading in Ruiton Street in 1911 - 1912. [Kelly's Trade Directory & Census]
107. George Round, grocer.
This was the large shop on the corner of the Five Ways junction, his wife Annie assisting in the business. [Census]
Was this 107 Ruiton Street? [Elect. Register]
2. John Bunn, fried fish dealer, described himself as a fish & fruit salesman. [Census]
4. Samuel Cox, hairdresser.
5. Joseph Smith, greengrocer.
At No. 5 in 1915. [ER]
Living at No.5 in 1893. [ER]
9. Dinah Carter, shopkeeper.
9l. Thomas Carter, wheelwright.
Mrs Carter's Son, he describes himself as a "blacksmith (shoeing smith)". [Census]
10. George Henry Raybould, haulage contractor (Coal).
At No.10 in 1915. [ER]
70. William Ball, Shopkeeper.
In 1901 he describes himself as an iron stone miner-pike man, and in 1911 as a coal dealer, his wife Emma, a grocer & shopkeeper. [Census]
96. John Westwood, shopkeeper, 'fruiterer'. [1911 Census]
  Nancy Turner, draper.
At 106 Ruiton Street (1911) draper with her three daughters, all being sewing machinists working at home. [Census]
  Howard B. Thomas, druggist.
Joseph William Thomas (father of Howard) was at 105 or 106 Ruiton Street in 1893. [Elect. Register]
  Alice Bradley, shopkeeper.
The following businesses were trading in Ruiton Street in 1916. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
John Bunn, fried fish dealer.
Dinah Carter (Mrs), shopkeeper.
Samuel Cox, hairdresser
George Round, grocer.
Joseph Smith, greengrocer.
Howard B. Thomas, druggist.
Nancy Turner (Mrs), draper.
John Westwood, shopkeeper.
Thomas Worton, draper.
The following businesses were trading in Ruiton Street in 1921. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
George Round, grocer.
William Ball, shopkeeper.
John Brookes, draper.
John Bunn, fried fish dealer.
Dinah Carter (Mrs), shopkeeper.
Samue Cox, hairdresser.
Joseph Smith, greengrocer.
Howard B. Thomas, druggist.
John Westwood, shopkeeper.
The following businesses were trading in Ruiton Street in 1924. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
George Round, grocer.
3. Rebecca Shelton (Mrs), draper.
5. William Bennett, fruiterer.
James Brookes, draper.
John Bunn, fried fish dealer.
Samuel Cox, hairdresser.
Howard B. Thomas, drug stores.
John Westwood, shopkeeper.
The following businesses were trading in Ruiton Street in 1928. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
George Round, grocer.
2. John Bunn Jones, fishmonger.
3. Rebecca Shelton (Mrs), draper.
4. Samuel Cox, hairdresser.
5. Joseph Smith, draper.
70. Emma Ball, (Mrs) shopkeeper.
97. Nancy Turner, draper.
Howard B. Thomas, drug stores.
John Westwood, greengrocer.
The following businesses were trading in Ruiton Street in 1936. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
1. Harry Robinson, boot & shoe repairer.
4. Samuel Cox, hairdresser.
5. Percy Smith, draper.
6. Sarah Smith (Mrs), shopkeeper.
70. Mary Greathead (Mrs), shopkeeper.
Thomas Carter, wheelwright.
T. Hughes & Son, coal dealers.
Louis Rollason, draper.
Howard B. Thomas, drug store.
96. Harry Nock, greengrocer.
97. Nancy Turner (Mrs), draper.
The following businesses were trading in Ruiton Street in 1940. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
1. Harry Robinson, boot & shoe repairer.
5. Sarah Smith (Mrs), shopkeeper.
6. Nancy Thomas (Mrs), drug store.
7. Samuel Cox, hairdresser.
9. Joseph Smith, draper (No.9) & also shopkeeper (No.11), in 1939, [Register] Sarah Smith is 'shopkeeper (draper)' .
18. Harry Nock, greengrocer.
70. Mary Greathead (Mrs), shopkeeper (draper).
  Louis Rollason, draper.
Shops and businesses trading in Ruiton Street during the 1950s-1960s.
1. H & H Turf Accountants - Harpers bookmakers, later - J.B Racing Services, video shop, currently a fast food outlet.
In the late 19th Century believed to be Jabez Addenbrooke's grocery store.
7. Sam Cox, hairdresser - later Arthur Smart, greengrocer.
  T. Wall (Garages) Limited, Five Ways Garage. Petrol, oil and repairs.
The premises has contnued to be used as a car sales and repair garage to date.
   Baker & Johnson, Holloway Stores. Groceries, frozen foods, confectionary.
9. Florrie Smith, drapers shop.
17. John Ernest Westwood, grocer. He died on 26 January, 1959.
18. Tilly Nock, greengrocers.
52. Avis Hair Stylist.
Ruiton Street, recent activity timeline...
Many of the old retail shops in Ruiton Street have been lost to modern residential development, other properties have also been converted back to residential. Only a small scattering of independent shops around The Five Ways junction remain, and the two lock-up shops at the Stickley junction.
No.1 Ruiton Street (West side)
N.B. Some re-numbering of shops and houses has occured in the past.
Ruiton Street - West side
1. Ruiton Street
1998-Present: Eastern Delights, take-away.
1980s-1990: H & H Records, records, videos, cards and fancy goods.
1970s: J.B Racing Services, bookmakers.
1960s-1970: H & H Turf Accountants, bookmakers.
1950s: Harry Robinson, cobblers shop.
5. Ruiton Street
2018-Present: Unoccupied.
2009-2018: Bostin Baps, sandwich shop.
1993-2009: Sandwich shop.
1980s: Sweet shop.
1963: H & H Turf Accountants, prop E.M.Harper, also shops at 4 Abbey Street, Gornal Wood and 42 Clarence Street, Upper Gornal.
7. Ruiton Street
2014-Present: Five ways Garden Ornaments, previously occupied 9-17.
1960s-1990s: Arthur Smart, grocers.
19. Ruiton Street
2016-Present: Marks Diecast Models, model shop.
2009: Jukebox Gems, record shop.
1970s-1990s: Lower Gornal Post Office
Ruiton Street - East side
2. Ruiton Street
2022 - present: Dank, car number plates/Thrill Seekers, vape shop.
2019-2021: Lords, barbers shop.
2010-2016: Jags, hairdressers & beauty shop.
2009: Five Ways Bathrooms Lofts & Interiors, (occupied No.2 & 4).
1980s: Matchplan, fishing tackle shop,
1970s: Millwards
4. Ruiton Street
2016-2020: Thrill Seekers, vape shop.
2021-present: Candy Cavern, sweet shop.
77. Ruiton Street
1960s-Present: Holloway Stores, convenience store & off licence.
- Ruiton Street
2009 -Present: Freak 2 Chic, hairdressers..
Links to other non-residential properties in Ruiton Street