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Such wonderful memories of this department store i went to York House private School Stony Stratford Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire from the age of 4 years 1942 My mother twice a year took me to this store to buy the uniform then lunch As one can imagine in those days a treat to enjoy later years in 1959 my mother and myself made a special trip buying my pram “A Mar-met coach built pram in Bottle Green inside and outside , i remember well to match the pram a beautiful bottle green cover sheep wool one side . other items of clothing for baby , This pram was delivered by train then by road to our house The pram was used for all 3 children with love Rosalie Osborne 04-06-2021 i can still conjure up this magical department store
I was born in 1951. I guess my earliest memory is about 5yrs old arriving in a taxi, blue leather upholstery, outside Daniel Neal Baker Street. I think the shoe department was downstairs. I so well remember the X-ray machines. Looking through that eye shaped box at out green lit up feet! Couldn’t drag me away from it. Otherwise, clothes came from Harrods and some fancy shop in Bond Street that clothed Prince Charles and Anne.
I think of Heelas very fondly (myself and everyone I’ve known refers to it still as Heelas). My granny used to work there, and it’s one of the parts of Reading town centre I miss the most since moving away. I hope they never remove the ‘Heelas’ from the brickwork!
Apologies for taking so long to reply, That’s a great find! The tokens were issued in the 1930s and were given out to customers when they made a purchase, they provided the customer with a 1d discount on purchases made on Thursday mornings. Hope this helps!
My aunt was general manager of Pratts, I think in the 70’s? would love to know if anyone remembers her? Irene, she met her husband at Pratts 🙂
It would be lovely to have more information about Sheffield’s Cole Brothers. I still remember (just) when it was on Coles Corner – but we were blown away when the new Coles opened in 1963 – it was such a fantastic looking building (still could be) and the lovely green carpets and wooden fittings were a perfect cohesion of modern but special.
My paternal grandfather, David Rees, was sent by Mr John Spedan Lewis to be the first General Manager at Jessops. My grandfather held this position until he retired and his obituary and photograph appeared in The Gazette when he died at the age of 80. As a young child I visited the store at least once a week with my mother. I made friends with Stan the lift man, who had an artificial hand in the most shiny leather glove, which he used to open and close the concertina lift gate. The ladies in the office became my aunties, especially Miss Hollis and Ruth. The fur buyer, Miss Griffiths used to let me try on the coats when she wasn’t busy, and Miss Farrah the dress buyer, became a very great friend of my parents, apart from choosing always perfect outfits for my mother, who was one of the best dressed ladies in Nottingham.
I started my JL career in the Ticket Factory at Clearings in May 1987, before transferring to JL Nottingham.
Today I found a Jones Bros [Holloway) aluminium token in a field in Great Hallingbury, Essex which was issued to get more business on Thursdays. Do you know what period these would have been issued?
Unfortunately we don’t hold a detailed enough record of the building timeline to be able to date your visit unfortunately, but what a great memory to have!
My first paid employment, working as a waiter in the cafe there in 1979. I was atrociously bad at it, could never remember who’d ordered what, or which things I’d already served. Luckily the customers, mostly ladies of a certain age, were very tolerant! I left the same year, to find something more suitable to my lack of organisational talent.
Apologies for taking so long to reply to your question.
Their names were: Owen Owen, William P Jones of Jones Brothers, John P Jones of Dickins and Jones, Edwin Jones who had saved Bon Marche from collapse in 1892 and John Francis of Brixton grocers Francis and Sons.
Hope this helps,
I went to Pratts a couple of times in the late 80’s as my mother got a toy there for her Grandson now in his 30’s then.
It was a lovely building in green and when it closed it took Russell and Bromley across the road it really was the death knell for Streatham.
I was gobsmacked that bulding was allowed to be demolished and it was not listed.
The building there now is hideous.
Future worry for other places that have gone or are soon to lose their John Lewis branch.
Was a lovely store.
I got my first job in 1971 after leaving art college, in the JLP Central Display Studio, based on the top floor here. I worked on Jonelle packaging and internal forms.
Do you know the names of the 5 founders that took over after the death of John Barnes?
I remember going to the newly-opened Houseware Dept in the 1950s with my mother & aunt who were very excited about it. I believe we reached it by walking down a sloping temporary corridor, with small windows on to the large hole in the ground where the rest of the foundations were being laid.
Which year might that have been?
Thank you so much for your extensive history of the operation at Blakelands, this information is incredibly useful to fill the inevitable gaps in our knowledge.
I remember this well and can still visualise the outfit. I was a young partner at the time working for Mrs Donelly in the fashion department.
“In May 1979 the Gazette announced to purchase of a warehouse at Milton Keynes in which it was planned to house heavy electrical appliances allowing them to be sent directly to customers on a system known as “sample sales”. In the past large kitchen appliances had been sent to department stores and then delivered by local teams, but this new warehouse provided the opportunity for goods to be sent directly to customers, avoiding the possibility of damage and increasing the speed at which the deliveries could be made”.
I’m afraid this opening statement is, for the most part, wrong. As you say customer delivery of sample sales appliances were delivered by the individual store. That continues. Blakelands role is to supply the shops with those sample sales.
Below is a broader description of Blakelands operation.
Blakelands. Sample sales warehouse.
Sample sales had already existed to some degree for a while. In the middle to late seventies increase in trade started to put pressure on the space available in the shop and service buildings despatch departments. A lot of this space was taken up by a large electrical appliance stock. So to clear this space the decision was taken to build a central warehouse that would house all these appliances and free up the much needed space. This warehouse is Blakelands. It was centrally sited in Milton Keynes and had excellent access to the M1. It would be a central hub serving all the shops daily in the same way that Stevenage did, but with the added responsibility that all Blakelands goods were time controlled. This entailed the use of forty foot articulated vehicles to deliver the stock to the branches.
Apart from freeing up much needed space in the service buildings, the buyer would have better control of stock and be able to consolidate deliveries to one destination instead of suppliers delivering to all the shops service buildings, thus saving time and money on transport costs. Now, when making a sale the selling partner could guarantee a delivery date. Commonplace now but not in 1980. All deliveries of large electrical stock (817) into Blakelands was entered onto to a central computer, that was accessed directly by the 817 departments in all the shops, allowing the selling partners to make a sale. This was another advantage, because of a central and therefore a more controlled delivery method, there was always stock. When the partner made a sale it would generate a transfer with a customer delivery date printed on it. These transfers from all the branches were printed the same night at Clipstone St. in London, at the same time the central stock would be updated to amend the available stock for the next days sales. From here these transfers would be picked up by a partner from Blakelands and would be delivered to Blakelands by 06.30, where they would be sorted into branches and sent out to the pickers. The pickers would then assemble all the goods into the various branch lanes in despatch for loading. Blakelands would then deliver the load to the branch. At the branch, these goods were then loaded onto the customer delivery vans and delivered to the customer. So the time frame was:-
Day 1 Sale of goods.
Day 2 Goods picked and loaded at Blakelands
Day 3 Delivery from Blakelands to branch.
Day 4 Customer delivery.
At the time of opening Blakelands (1980) there were around seventeen branches and these were delivery times for branches further away, ie. Liverpool and Newcastle, Edinburgh. But, those branches that were closer to Blakelands geographically, were able to receive their goods at the branch on Day 2 ready for customer delivery on Day 3. As usual Clearings handled all 817 for Oxford St., Peter Jones and Brent Cross.
This guaranteed level of service, in those days, was not matched by our competitors. However even this lead time was improved by one day when Blakelands started a transport nightshift, which meant all branches received their 817 on day 2 for customer delivery on Day 3. Even when Aberdeen opened, the furthest branch from Blakelands, with a succession of drivers through the night, had access to customer delivery on Day 3.
The whole principle of Blakelands was totally governed by the customer delivery date, the goods had to be delivered on time without fail.
Later, flatpack furniture (816) was added to the sample sales system as were carpets (630) and beds.
Swiss Cottage was home to many German Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. They fondly referred to John Barnes as “ Johan Barnes”
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Carlo Boggia was my dad – he loved working at Trewins and was so proud to be a part of the John Lewis Partnership. I have many happy memories of coming to the restaurant for lunch or tea with my mum and brother, and being so excited to see my dad at work!
Bradstones was demolished and a development of large homes was built on the site!
I was a regular at Bradstones between 1967 – 1971
I served an apprenticeship in Ladies Hairdressing…1967-1970! I have a lot of fond memories of Bradstones, I actually met my husband there 51 years ago.
Where is Mike Munro now? He has many friends in Scotland who still miss him
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