‘I left school aged 15 and shampooed poodle dogs’

Walton Street, Aylesbury, 1963, showing the Poodle Parlour
Walton Street, Aylesbury, 1963, showing the Poodle Parlour

A woman whose parents took over the Poodle Parlour in Walton Street, Aylesbury in 1964 has told how she went to work with the pampered pooches after she left school at the age of 15.

Elizabeth Arnold, who now lives in Weston Turville, left Prebendal School and recalls working with the dogs until her mother and step-father gave up the business in 1973.

Mrs Arnold, who contacted us after seeing a picture of the parlour featured in Back in Time, said it was mostly just poodles that came in back then, compared to the variety of dogs given the star treatment now.

She said: “We had the odd breed in for shampooing but poodles don’t moult, so are good for people with allergies. I ended up adopting someone’s poodle after she moved abroad!”

There was no heating in the shop and Mrs Arnold remembers the only source of heat being from a parrifin store heater. She also recalls having to go outside to use the toilet when she lived in the flat above the shop.

She said: “My daughter was born in 1971 and then we moved to Weston Turville shortly afterwards, before my parents gave up the shop in 1973.”

Mrs Arnold remembers the shop’s neighbours – a Welsh couple who ran their own sweet shop.

She said: “I remember they moved to the underground market in the Friars Square shopping centre. I always wondered why our shop and the sweet shop survived when they knocked the other buildings down!

“I remember when the road was just a single carriageway and the parish of Walton was like a little village. It had everything you needed by the pond– a chemist, and lots of other little shops.”

But Mrs Arnold does not pine for the old days, instead saying: “I’m quite happy with my mod cons, thank you!”