Prior to redevelopment, the area around St George’s Cross was a thriving shopping area with a mixture of large department stores and small local shops.
Masseys the grocers occupied the corner site at Clarendon Place and was one of the first self-service stores in the city. An easily identifiable landmark, the location was known as “Massey’s Corner” and was a popular meeting place. Other big stores around the Cross were D M Hoey, and Wood & Selby and, of course, St George’s Co-op.
As well as the large department stores, small shopkeepers provided local people with everything they could possibly need. It was said of the section of Maryhill road leading west from the Cross, that you could buy anything “from a needle to an anchor”.
At a time when few working people had refrigerators, shopping for fresh food had to be done on a daily basis. The people of Woodside were well-catered for with grocery stores, bakeries, fishmongers, fruit shops, butcher shops and dairys.
Going for “the messages” was something of a social outing, as everyone in the neighbourhood shopped locally so people would bump into friends and neighbours and be able to chat. Many of the small shops were owned by an individual or a family, and they knew their regular customers.
Today all the large department stores have gone, and there are very few small shops around the Cross. Woodside residents like people in other communities have to venture further afield for most of their shopping, where they will be served by strangers and are unlikely to bump into any of their neighbours.