Working in Coopers the Grocers by Bella Condie

“I started work at the age of 14 in 1935.  I worked for Coopers the Grocers in Forres.  I got the job through my mother who often shopped there.  I was a cashier so I was not involved in selling the groceries, but I sat in a separate area and took the money.

 Grant Park in Forres

Grant Park in Forres

One of my memories was of lowering all the blinds when Sir Alexander Grant’s funeral procession passed through Forres (he donated Grant Park to Forres, I think because he liked football).  I had one day off a week and one week off a year and earned 10/- per week. I had a very good boss and always remember him saying to the staff, “Be good, I’m just going out to get my hair cut, especially you, Bella”, and that’s when I was encouraged to have a go on the meat slicer by one of the lads who worked there.  Of course, I cut my finger and had to run across to the chemist who bandaged it up.  The boss was not too pleased when he got back to see me with a huge bandage on my hand.  I remember a lad coming in to buy 20 Players cigarettes. He lived in Inverness but was working on the building of the new RAF base at Kinloss. The other staff thought that he was sweet on me, but I wasn’t bothered. I was promoted to the accounts section when I was 16.”

Bella Condie from Forres was interviewed by Heather Heppenstall, WRVS volunteer

Additional information

Information on Alexander Grant 
 “As a young baker from Forres in Morayshire, Grant had had the temerity to present himself at the bakery of Robert McVitie in Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, in 1887 and ask for a job. Told that there were no vacancies, he picked up a scone, examined it closely, and announced: “Ye canna mak’ scones in Edinburgh.” McVitie relented and took him on. ”  For more information on the Grant Family go to the source.

Grant Park Infomation– given to the people of Forres largely due to the generosity of Sir Alexander Grant. Forres House and its grounds made up the 32 acres that are now Grant Park. More information in a leaflet on the park.

More information on Alexander Grant– Biscuit manufacturer, who is said to have invented the ‘digestive’


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