Vintage Christmas magic

How Grannie Annie brought festive magic to town and helped inspire a love for vintage delights.

Time After Time has been in Stroud for well over a dozen years, run by Sandra and David Ireland, but the Stroud Vintage tradition goes all the way back to the 1900s. From 1900, David’s Gran, Annie Hill ran a magical sweet shop in Acre Street, sadly long gone.

David remembers, “When I was little, Granny Annie would tell me about all of the fabulous things that would come along at Christmastime in early Edwardian Stroud – mince pies, candied fruit, sugar mice…

“Every September, Annie would send off her special Christmas order wrapped around a five pound note to a toy manufacturer deep in the Black Forest of Bavaria.

“In mid-November, as if by magic, a huge wooden tea chest would arrive at the Acre Street shop to great excitement and anticipation. My father, Maurice, would help to unpack the tea chest. Maurice would have been four or five – his eyes lit up whenever he regaled us with his stories of the great unpacking. ‘Papa would break open the lid with a gurt hammer and the curly wood shavings would come pouring out all over the floor. And inside … well, I couldn’t believe my eyes!’

“Inside the chest were hundreds and hundreds of beautiful painted wooden toys of every shape and size. Trains and dolls and soldiers and animals. And a Santa or two. Those wonderful painted toys you still come across from time to time, so evocative of the past.

“Then the toys would be carefully lined up in the shop’s bow window, lit by oil lamps and carefully placed candles to the delight of everyone who passed by.

“We can all picture the little Stroudies pressing their noses against the glass in wonder!”

The dark afternoons and evenings have their compensation. When the light fades, Time After Time begins to sparkle. David tells us, “Our shop is full of sparkly things all year round, but it is during the run up to the festive season that everything begins to glow. We’re all about nostalgia and the past, and if recycling and responsible shopping is uppermost in your mind, then rest assured that everything we sell is hand-picked from the best of the past one hundred years!”

We think that Granny Annie would approve! “Yes, her five pounds went a long way! And so will yours at Time After Time. From our famous one-pound lucky dips to designer pieces and everything in between.

“Here’s wishing you all the season’s best!”

Time After Time will be open every day from Goodwill Evening until Christmas Eve.
Time After Time, 30 High Street, Stroud.