FOR 30 years, Joyce and Roy Shiletto ran Farmery's, a family newsagents on the corner of Holgate Road and Blossom Street. It was the perfect spot - and the perfect job- from which to observe the comings and goings of life in York.

The business had been started by Joyce's grandparents, Joe and Maggie Hattee, and was originally known as Hattee's.

It was then taken over by Joyce's parents: mum Olive (who had been born Olive Hattee and was Joe and Maggie's daughter) and her husband Joseph Farmery. Hence the change of name.

Joyce herself was born in Holgate Road. But her parents moved, while she was still a young girl, to Langdale Avenue. An early family photo, however, records a family tragedy at Holgate Road. It shows Joyce's mum cradling in her arms a tiny baby boy - Joyce's older brother Gerald.

He died when just a few months old, so Joyce never knew him. "But my mum told me about him," Joyce says. "She went nearly crazy with grief."

York Press:

Joyce's mum Olive outside 32 Holgate Road with Joyce's brother Gerald, who died at just a few months old

Joyce had a younger sister, Margaret, and one photograph shows the pair of them with a 'News Chronicle' bag. Joyce, at 12, was the responsible older sister: Margaret, at just 5, was clearly not - she is pictured sitting in the bag, pulling a face. "I was always as good as gold, and she was just the opposite!" admits Joyce, now 82 and living with Roy in Acomb.

As a girl, Joyce occasionally had to help out with paper rounds when the regular paper boys didn't turn up. When she was older, she went to work in the shop.

York Press:

Joyce aged 12, with her little sister Margaret, five

She remembers the time when cigarettes were severely rationed. "We used to keep some under the counter. Then people would come in, and ask 'have you got any cigarettes', and when I said no, they'd say 'come on, I can see some under the counter!"

Roy, now 85, did his national service, and when he came back worked for his uncle's coal merchant, smallholding and cattle business at Newton-on-Ouse. He met Joyce at a Rowntree dance, and when Joyce's parents wanted to expand the business, he started work there too.

He'd been ill with appendicitis, which meant he could no longer do the heavy lifting required to continue working for his uncle. A job at the newsagent seemed the answer. The shop was expanding into what had been a sweet shop next door. But after the war, sweets were in short supply, Joyce says. The sweet shop closed and Farmery's extended into it.

Joyce and Roy married at St Clement's Church on Boxing Day, 1955, and after Joyce's father had a stroke a few years later the pair took over the business themselves.

York Press:

The newsagent in the early 1900s, when it was still Hattee's

Through the years, the couple had more than a few run-ins with the Yorkshire Evening Press - usually when customers rang in to complain that their copy of the newspaper was late.

"We'd get so many people ringing up sometimes because The Press was late that we used to take the phone off the hook!" Joyce says.

But there are plenty of good memories, too - and some great photographs from the family album, among them a picture of Hattee's in the early 1900s and a later, post-war photo showing a troupe of circus elephants heading up The Mount towards the Knavesmire, with the family newsagent on the corner in the background.

The coupe retired in the late 1980s. They'd hoped for a while that their son, Simon, would take over the business.

"He said he would do when he failed his degree," Joyce jokes. "But then he didn't fail his degree!" Their daughter Diane was also interested in taking over for a while, but in the end decided not to.

Instead, the business was sold. Today, what was once the newsagent is now a house.

But Joyce and Roy's memories, and their photographs, serve as a memento of a family business that survived for three generations - and which will still be remembered, no doubt, by many readers of The Press...