Looking back on Shares of Fawcett Street

A fire at Shares store in November 1969.

A fire at Shares store in November 1969.

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It does not seem so long ago that Sunderland’s commercial centre was packed with family shops, many of them run by Jewish families.

One of the best known was the furniture shop started and run by Izzy Share.

Shares in Bridge Street.

Shares in Bridge Street.

The business was initially established in Crowtree Road in 1902 by Israel Share who had moved with his parents to Sunderland from Russia. His shop was run by a staff of three until after the First World War when he transferred to larger premises in High Street West.

Izzy’s business went from strength to strength and, after a few years moved yet again, this time into larger premises in Fawcett Street.

Izzy’s slogan was ‘The Customer is the Boss’ and he established a reputation for value and dependability.

In 1939 the business, by then named Shares of Fawcett Street had grown so much that Izzy opened an extension and had a staff of 50 with his large sales force led by the manager, George Childs. Izzy himself travelled across the area selling his wares and built up a good trade, especially with the local mining community.

Claiming that his goods were sold at the lowest possible price for cash and the easiest terms for credit, Izzy’s business went from strength to strength

Philip Curtis

Eventually Izzy’s son, Adrian, joined the business and the success of the shop continued. In the 1960s, however, disaster struck when a fire badly damaged Share’s Fawcett Street shop. The business soon re-opened in Bridge Street. Although in another town centre street, the shop still retained the name ’Shares of Fawcett Street’ as it was so well established throughout the area.

In November 1969 yet another fire struck the business and the Bridge Street premises were very badly damaged.

The business was re-opened for a while on the other side of town in Newcastle Road, next to Fulwell Mill, before moving back to the commercial area of the town, this time on the corner of Frederick Street and Borough Road and trading as SCS.

Today the name Shares of Fawcett Street no longer exists but furniture is still sold in the premises.

Sunderland footballer Willie Watson being served by manager George Childs.

Sunderland footballer Willie Watson being served by manager George Childs.

The Fawcett Street shop.

The Fawcett Street shop.