Sid Alterman

Alterman's Arcade

Alterman's Arcade c1973

Canvey Islanders will all be familiar with the Knightswick Centre site by the High Street in the centre of the town.

Back in the early seventies Alterman’s Arcade was still there on this site. This was a collection of retail shops in an arcade. It had a sort of Edwardian charm about it, but was rather run-down. It was owned by a local character named Sid Alterman. He was a small jewish man, who was very well known to everyone. He managed his investment, and rushed around as if he was very busy. He had an acute sense of humour, and was good fun.

After his death the arcade was inherited by Sid’s daughters, and later sold it. One of his daughters, Jo, now lives between Turkey and Leigh-on-Sea. His grandson, Jarrod, is a cockle fisherman, who works on a cockler out of Leigh-on-Sea.

Comments about this page

  • John, were you once based in an office in the High Street?

    By Maureen Buckmaster (16/02/2012)
  • When i moved with my family onto Canvey in 1967 i went to Sid Alterman in the hopes of finding some rented accommodation, as we were staying with my parents temporarily (who had also moved onto the island a year or two earlier) and he found us a flat in one of the two blocks that had been recently built by a local builder named Adams, (he resided in a large house in Furtherwick Road i believe) and had the flats named Compton Court & Maurice Court, in later years more flats were constructed by Mr Adams Son, including the Windjammer Public House along the Esplanade. 

    I think it may have been Sid’s Son-in-law (one Colin Joseph) that also worked for Sid at his office and was also allocated to collect the weekly rents from us all living at the flats on behalf of Mr Adams, Colin went on to run the new market stall area which is now the rear car park of the Kentucky Fried Chicken establishment opposite Canvey Supply in the High Street) after Sid Passed Away until it was eventually sold for redevelopment as is seen today. 

    Seem to also recall a Barber shop within the arcade which was run by a foreign fellow (possibly of Greek Origin) who for whatever reason chose to cut everyone’s hair using the basic hand tools (namely a comb and a pair of scissors) and either didn’t own( or chose not to buy)a pair of electric clippers, so (in my case) a crew cut would take a him a lot longer to produce albeit the finished article still looked as good as being undertaken by the modern electric clippers, seem to also think when the arcade closed down he perhaps became the manager of the Wimpy Bar opposite the Haystack Pub for a number of years.

    By Peter G Wonnacott (15/08/2013)
  • I also remember the Barber on the right hand side in the Arcade from the High st end.I am pretty sure he only had one leg.We all used to call him ‘Pegleg’. Children can be so cruel.Perhaps that explains the diabolical haircut he once gave me.

    By peter bligh (18/08/2013)
  • Hi, Peter W, a few weeks ago I bumped into Colin Joseph when I was delivering to Osbornes in Old Leigh. He said there wasn’t much about Sid on the Archive but I remembered this page and told him to put Sid’s name into the ‘search box’. I hope he comes back and finds your comment. Re the barbers in the Arcade he seems to have had the opposite training to Phil, on the High St at Small Gains Corner who was reputed to never use a pair of scissors. Peter B. the barber you refer to was Eardly Burbridge, actually in Furtherwick Rd between Warwicks papershop and Hoyles butchers, for more about him on the site see the ‘Teenage Mates’ story in the late Bill Gowers stories.

    By Graham Stevens (20/08/2013)
  • Hello You’re right about the barber in Furtherwick. The one in the arcade was on the left as you go in from The high street. He was a little Jewish chap who used to cut my hair and according to rumour was related to Sid. Regards Sparrow

    By sparrow (20/08/2013)
  • Does anyone remember RENE’S the dress shop in the arcade? It was at the bottom on the left as you went in, she used to stand outside and say oh that would suite you come in and try my dear. WELL one day I did, it was when the felt skirts first came in. I was only 14 so had no money she said that’s OK dear you can pay it off, so home I go with this skirt very pleased with myself. My mother was NOT so pleased, in fact she went mad. WHAT you got TICK, she got on her bike and went to Rene and paid her for the skirt and I was told to NEVER ever go there again

    By Margaret (19/10/2013)
  • Altermans Arcade, how I remember that. When the Arcade first opened, my parents, Kitty and Len, rented two shops in the arcade, my future husband Harry, rented another one. We had the cafe at the front, run by my Dad Len and me, a dress shop also run by me next door, and a pet shop run by my friend June.

    The cafe was great, frequented by local builders etc, shoppers and anyone passing by, so many laughs. 

    The day before Harry and I were due to get married, 1956, several of the builders and shoppers in the cafe told me to go home and they’d clear and clean up the cafe. And they did, bless them.

    Such happy memories.

    By Bee (06/11/2017)
  • I too remember having my hair cut by “ Pegleg “ the Barber, he was a cheerful fellow and knew how to give me a D A style (Ducks a…..) I also remember the clothing style for teenage boys. It was single breasted square bottom jackets and narrow legged trousers. Most boys had to save up to be able to get tailored suits in East London. Imagine how I felt when as soon as I reached Canada in my lovely tailored suit I was told, “that suit has to go“!! The style over there was very wide trouser legs called Strides. Oh well!

    By Gerald Hudson (07/11/2017)
  • Just came across this page.

    Sidney Alterman was my grandad and I have many memories of the market on Canvey.

    By Max Harris (04/11/2018)
  • Thing I remember most about the Alterman shopping arcade was the mens clothes shop, Trevers. This was in the early 70s. It and Johns man shop, on the high street were a must for the Ben-sherman shirts and luminus socks, all to get ready for the weekend discos at the labour club, or war memorial hall

    By Gary Casson (05/11/2018)

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