A “reunion to end all reunions” is to be held for staff of what was once Sunderland’s oldest store.
Joplings survived two World Wars, the Great Depression and a catastrophic fire in 1954 to serve generations of Wearsiders until 2010.
Now former staff are planning to hold a get-together next February, at the Port of Call in Park Lane, to reminisce about the good old days.
“To me it felt like the heart had been ripped out of Sunderland when Joplings closed,” said former group warehouse and transport manager Sheena Robson.
“The place was a huge part of people’s lives, not just for those who worked there but for those who shopped there as well. It is still sadly missed.”
England was celebrating victory at the Battle of Trafalgar when Thomas Jopling and Joseph Tuer first opened a drapery firm at 184 High Street East in 1804.
Joplings survived, and thrived, through the early part of the century, eventually moving to 176 and 177 High Street East in 1868 to allow for expansion.
The passing decades saw the partnership of Jopling and Tuer dissolved and, in 1882, the Jopling family finally sold out to Stephen Swan and Robert Hedley.
But, as adverts usually mentioned that it was “known as Joplings”, the store continued with the same iconic name, moving to a new base in High Street West in 1919.
Even a devastating fire in 1954, which saw Joplings reduced to rubble, failed to halt the success story – and it was soon back in business in John Street.
And so it continued, until Saturday, June 19 2010, when the doors finally closed, ending 206 years of history.
“It was a place of great camaraderie. Everyone was valued and it was a very special place to work,” said Sheena.
l The reunion will be held on February 20. Tickets cost £5 and include a buffet. Contact Sheena on 07984 644279.