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The Glenside General Store and Tearooms

These memories of the Glenside store were told by Mrs. Win Wright nee Hamblin, to Claire Bibby of Glenside, in 2002. Win’s family migrated to New Zealand in 1923. Her father, Charles Hamblin, was a time-keeper and cost clerk for the Public Works railway project, which was at Glenside from 1928-1935. He had a big office, north of the Glenside Post Office and store. The family lived further north along the road.

Win Wright remembers:

“The store was on the corner as you came to the bridge. The Caitlan's owned it and Mr and Mrs Martin."

"They opened it up as a big store and lovely tearooms. The store was very necessary because of the camp."

"I worked in the store for a little while. After I left school mother wanted me to be a florist. However, the Depression came on. There was no College at Johnsonville and no money for transport. In later years my sister was able to go to Wellington Girls College. I was at home with mother and in that time used to go up and down to the store, so it came that I worked there."

"It was very busy, especially at night when the lorry drivers came in for meals. Remember the road was the only way in and out of Wellington. The Hunter family ran the Hunter’s bus service from Porirua to Wellington. Where-ever you were on the road they would stop and pick you up."

"The tearooms were lovely. Very smart. There was a big sweet shop in the tearooms. The floors were covered with linoleum of a very nice pattern. The ladies kept it very nice."

"The campers would come over for a meal and the ladies did all the cooking themselves. Every day there was something different on the menu. There were roasts. Hot meals. Plenty of soups. The evening meal catered for the men. The tables were set, all with nice cloths."

It was a very well-planned building. It was one big building. One side was the store and one side was the tearooms and you could cross between them from inside. One lady served the store and one lady served the tearooms. They opened it up to a very high standard. I think they must have known what they were doing. They lived behind the store and tearooms. Mr Martin was a builder. Mrs Martin was about 40 or 45. She was the senior one in the business and a very capable person. She handled things very well."