The Former Mr Reynolds Hardware Shop on Mandale Road, Thornaby

In its day this small shop was the most famous shop in Thornaby-on-Tees, its owner and proprietor Mr Reynolds from Acklam, Middlesbrough cycled to it each day on a pedal bike. I can recall two assistants who worked there, and knew one of them – Brian Robinson, who I went to school with. Pumphreys next door tried to buy this shop several times but Mr Reynolds refused to sell it, so they built their then new icing sugar works around him. This shop then stood empty for a number of years closed and forgotten. I would hazard a guess that there was not a ‘old-time family’ in Thornaby who have not purchased goods from this once famous and well respected shop.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bob Wilson.

10 thoughts on “The Former Mr Reynolds Hardware Shop on Mandale Road, Thornaby

  1. I believe his name was “Truby” (or so my father called him), he also maintained he was a ventriloquist, as he always barely moved his lips when speaking! I can remember buying many items there. The shop was stacked with hundreds of items, but Truby knew where everything was! They don’t have shops like that now-more’s the pity – Jim Redshaw. A Thornabyite. Is there a Local History Group in the area? Does the group “Remembering Thornaby” no longer exist?


  2. I can still remember his deep, monotone voice with phrases such as “a pennorth of nails”, a tuppenny cane” and if you bought a saucepan – “with a lid or without a lid”. He was a small man and a man of few words but he seemed to have everything in that shop. My brother and I were fascinated every time we visited.


  3. I lived in 45 Mandale Road a few doors down from this shop. A tiny man who would greet you with the words “and what can I do for you today” the shop had a distinct aroma of metal wood etc,
    during the winter he would have a paraffin heater burning. There was a wall of tiny pull draw boxes must have been 60 or more and this huge ladder to gain access how he knew exactly what they contained. You could by a pennyworth of nails he would weigh them and wrap them up in newspaper and would always ask you if you needed something else. The guy who worked with him was a tall gentlemen and equally as courteous.


  4. As a kid I went into Mr. Reynolds shop and asked him for a “thing-we-bob” that stops the U-bend under kitchen sinks from leaking, without hesitation, he found me the item needed, and that sums up this wonderful gentleman expertise. Another time I was building a pigeon loft and couldn’t afford new hinges for the doors, I had tried ‘leather hinges” but they don’t work so well and allowed the doors to drag and scrape on the floors (leather hinges are made from cobblers scrap leather and nailed on the door beams) and Mr. Reynolds went through the back and found me 2 pairs of old hinges and gave me them free. As most of us know it was his voice that captivated our attention along with his olde-worlde manner of dressing, I do not think any of us knew his background and origins, certainly a man of respect who was loved by one and all. Here’s a talking point about him old clients will appreciate: Mr Reynolds ran a hardware shop and D.I.Y centre of sorts, but I don’t think his shop had seen a coat of paint for over 50 years? even his window display was years old and faded by the sun. A legend in his lifetime.


  5. I remember this shop well with Dickens on the other side of Mandale Road, as kids we got our kite stuff from one of them. Good days.


    • Yes I also remember Mr Reynolds in his shop over the Road from my Dads shop, I used to go over the road to Mr Reynolds for the odd thing to make an order up if we ran out of stock, as he did the same vice versa, yes he was nice man.
      The early days of the DIY shops, Dicken’s family over the years grew from that small shop, My Dad (Bob Dicken) was just 21 when I was born and we lived above our shop in Mandale Road, until dad could afford a house of his own.


  6. Every time I see the “Fork Handles” sketch, I think of this shop. As a kid I went in wide eyed at the expertise of customers and staff “You’ll be wanting a 3/8″ left hand thread gromit for that job” and one of a myriad of drawers would offer up just that item. I didn’t understand all the technical jargon, it was just like poetry to me as a young lad. Pure magic.


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