A Sunderland store which had it all - including the chutes for customers' money
The store which stocked just about everything. That was Blacketts.
But who knows the full story of the shop which first came to Sunderlad 195 years ago?
Philip Curtis, of Sunderland Antiquarian Society, certainly does and he told us more.
What a shop Blacketts was. From small beginnings, it progressed to become the store which sold everything.
It was set up in Sunderland in 1826 by William Blackett and was very small.
William was succeeded by his sons Charles and Eggleston and a limited company was formed in 1897 with many customers becoming shareholders.
By 1900 it expanded by annexing ten neighbouring small shops and Ernest Measor took over the management of the store in 1905.
He arranged further extensions including the removal of the Princes Street junction and having the store built across where the junction had been to link up High Street West.
The new large store stocked just about everything and, like a number of other Wearside retailers, it had a chute system installed for dealing with customers’
The cash travelled though the chute to the cashier’s department with the change and receipt being returned in similar fashion. Other features of the store were the grand staircase and large brass Otis lift.
Blackett’s was twice damaged by enemy bombing raids during the Second World War in 1941 and 1943 but on both occasions managed to open for trade the
following morning – a fact of which the owners were duly proud.
The damage, however, led to the removal of the shop’s two distinctive towers. In 1966 the store was taken over by the Hind Group but as the 1960s came to a
close, business began to decline and, in 1972, the store closed making 150 workers redundant.
Six years later the premises were demolished and shop units built on the site.
Our thanks go to Philip for sharing memories of Blacketts.
The Sunderland Antiquarian Society, which was founded in 1900, holds extensive archives which were amassed and donated by the people of Sunderland.
To find out more, interested people should visit the Antiquarian Society’s Facebook page or its website at http://www.sunderland-antiquarians.org
And to apply to become a member, email [email protected]
To share your own memories of stores in Sunderland, email [email protected]