Summer Lane Page 10 - The Pop Shop

The Pop Shop by Francis Horsley

The Pop Shop was owned and run by my parents George and Mary Horsley. The shop was addressed as 281 Summer Lane. The shop closed in the early 60s, I myself do not remember to much about it as with my younger brother I spent the first part of our schooling years at Open Air Schools, today more commonly known as bording schools.

I guess, we were there for health reasons. Anyway the shop was called the pop shop because of the herbal beer's and lemonade that my father made, they were not very strong alcohol wise although were very refreshing, it was said that if you had a night on the town and felt worse for the beer, go to the pop shop and have a drink of dad's brew, that would put you right, and from what I remember that was so true for a lot of people. The recipe for the brew was handed down through the family and was a closely guarded secret so much so it was never written down, which is a shame as it died with my father.

He was once offered a very large sum of money to share the recipe but been a man of his word refused to sell. I can remember as a lad watching him make the beer, always made in a big tin bath in the out house, he would let me stir it sometimes, when it was ready to be bottled, the first thing was to wash the empty ones, that was an art of its own, he used what looked like a gas ring with pipes welded over the holes just a touch longer that the bottles and connected to the cold water tap, he would turn it on and it looked like a fountain.

He would then put some small ballbearings in to the bottle and quickly turn them upside down and spin them on the tubes, the bearings and cold water cleaned them up real good. Then he would fill them with the new brew put a cork in the top, and he had a special way of tieing strong string round the bottle and cork so it didnt blow out. These were then put on the shelves ready for sale at a good price of 3d fot the lemon and 4d for the beer, which I might add were in stone bottles.