Agnes MacLean was owner of a café near Gray Street in the early 1960s. When Ida Barlow left a shopping bag in her café in September 1961, Agnes handed it in to Tile Street Police Station as lost property, saying Ida had realised too late that she had left her purse at either home or work and she had given her a free cup of tea. Not knowing Ida's name, she took the bag to the police saying she hadn't looked inside it to find out the identity of the owner. Unknown to either Agnes or the Sergeant at that time, Ida had been knocked down and killed by a bus soon after leaving the cafe and the bag proved to be an essential piece of evidence in later identifying her.

A month later, Agnes was a customer in Jackson's Chip Shop and chatted to Laura Fagan as they waited to be served by Frank Jackson. They discussed a local butcher whose wife had just died, unsurprisingly as her hands had started to turn blue. Mrs MacLean further stated that she would never buy meat from the butcher, "not after all I've heard about his dog!"

The following July, Valerie Tatlock was a customer in her café, having doubts about accepting Ken Barlow's proposal of marriage as she suspected her fiance was only looking for a mother figure. They discussed the day that Ida died and Agnes didn't help assuage Val's doubts when she spoke about Ken and David Barlow and the hole in their lives that the death of their mother had caused them.

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