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Your memories of Sunderland's Blacketts store - including the scary lifts, shoes for school and buying records

It had a scary lift and a chute system which was used for money – and most of all, it had Echo readers reminiscing in their dozens.

Monday, 17th January 2022, 1:19 pm

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We are talking about the former Blacketts store which was on Union Street and High Street.

Thanks to Philip Curtis, of Sunderland Antiquarian Society, who first provided us with details of the shop and told us how it progressed from small beginnings to become the store which sold everything.

Echo readers have shared lots of memories of Blacketts.

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Lots of you had your own memories.

Claire Duffy said: “I can remember the money chute. I was fascinated with it when I was little and the lifts where the door was pulled across but you could still see out.”

Sheila Jameson said: “Loved Blacketts watching the money chutes going round the shop.”

Dawn Welsh said: “Mam worked there - I remember the chutes the money went in up and round the store.”

Blacketts in May 1972.

Kim Webster was one of those who remembered the lifts and reminisced: “I can remember going in the lift it was like a cage where you could see the inside of the lift shaft, quite scary for a kid.”

Some of you were employed there including Sandra Herring who said: “Worked there in the office upstairs and loved it.”

Evelyn Patterson ‘worked there for 4 years. It was a beautiful store, sadly gone now.”

Jean Oliver said: “Worked there” and Margaret Horn commented ‘my dad worked there’.

A view inside the store.

Kay Richardson commented: “My Mam worked in the shoe department.”

Plenty of you recalled visits to the store including Margaret Osman who said: “I loved going there with my mother and my sister to see Santa.”

Another festive visitor was Denise Dixon Bryson who said: “I remember going to see Santa Claus there.. sitting on pretend sleigh… and pictures on wall being rolled by as if on a real journey, beautiful memories.”

Alison Markides Weikel said: “Got to go see Santa there”.

The china department in the basement.

Angela Barnfather got her ‘first pair of school shoes for seniors from there’ and Bernie Mavrogiorgis said: “Mam shopped there. I remember getting my Sunday best coats from Blacketts.”

Liz Brown said: “Bought my first baby pram there 57 years ago, how time flies.”

Some of you were music lovers who bought records at Blacketts including Colleen HC who said: “My mam bought me my first single there in 1968 when I was 8 (Cinderella Rockerfella).”

Greg Sharon Smith commented:”Yep , bought my first record there, Spirit In The Sky by Norman Greenbaum. It was a Saturday and it was raining.”

Clasina Jenkins said: “My mum and dad bought all their furniture and carpets there in the 60s.”

Gail Healy had memories of ‘the cafe and people modelling clothes’ while Joan Smith said: “My mam used to shop there. I remember it well.”

Another view of the beautiful interior of Blacketts.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the story.

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 Sunderland’s stores of the past, email [email protected]

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Outside the store.
Blacketts being demolished in 1978.