Who remembers Blacketts buttons at Sunderland department store?

Blacketts store in May 1972.
Blacketts store in May 1972.
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What a store Blacketts was.

The town centre venue hosted visiting celebrities such as singer Susan Maughn (remember Bobby’s Girl) and Cathy McGowan (presenter of Ready Steady Go!).

Blacketts is one of the long-gone stores pictured in this old photo of High Street West.

Blacketts is one of the long-gone stores pictured in this old photo of High Street West.

It had a quirky system for giving customers their change which involved a contraption of tubes.

It had a squeaky floor which the clientele seemed to love.

And when we asked for your memories of it, more than 28,000 people spotted the story.

We thank them all and here are some of your fantastic responses.

I loved helping out on perfume. Goya Black Rose was the ‘in’ one and Hartnell’s ... In Love in a heart-shaped bottle.

Norma Gowland

Evelyn Patterson remembered the money change system and said: “Yeah, we had to put them in the shoots up to the offices, then the change would be sent back down. X x”

She added: “The lifts were the worst!!!! They were manned and were worked by a lever, scarey stuff.”

The staff one was even worse, she said, as it was a real struggle to get it to “hit the floor you wanted - we did have fun though.”

Helen Robinson was not alone in remembering Blacketts’ own form of currency.

”My nan used to buy them cheap and always gave me some to buy records,” she said.

“I stood in a long queue to buy ‘All Right Now’ by Free when I was about 18 yrs old. Got a discount because I had Blackett’s buttons!”

Carol Elva Carlyon said: “Loved Blackett’s! As children we always wanted to go on the ‘moving stairs’ - rickety wooden ones. Then as a teenager, my brother would take me there for afternoon tea.”

Iain Lowson recalled: “My most vivid memories are of the lift doors and the area of squeaky floor on what I believe was the second floor. Funny what you remember after all these years.”

Then there were the readers who remembered the celebrities who came to Blacketts.

Dee Milner remembered “going to see Kathy McGowan she was opening the boutique”, and so did Marie Watson.

Henry Race said: “I remember Susan Maughn making a personal appearance there. She was the one who had a hit with Bobby’s Girl.”

Jacki Thew recalled “the lift and the beautiful giraffe that stood in the children’s dept. Waa a beautiful Are You Being Served-type shop. Bring them back...”

Then there were the Echo readers who used to work at Blacketts, or had a relative who was employed there.

They included Norma Gowland who told us: “I used to be a window dresser there and also worked in display department and I loved helping out on perfume.

“Goya Black Rose was the ‘in’ one and Hartnell’s ....In Love in a heart-shaped bottle.”

And there were the starry-eyed children who loved the store at Christmas including Sharon Carney who remembered: “Going to see Santa in the toy department, stepping on the ride and really thinking you had arrived at the North Pole.”

Patricia Stratton loved “seeing Santa in the grotto at Christmas!”

And Chris Honeyman Beirne chipped in with: “Got to be Xmas and Santa’s grotto!!”

Thank you to everyone who shared some wonderful memories. They just kept on coming in by the dozen.

Jan Wilson said: “My auntie bought me a brown and cream trouser suit there in early 1970s. It was crimpolene, with huge flares. Trendy!”

And as Dot Sumner pointed out, it was one of a number of stores which have sadly left the Sunderland scene.

“Blacketts, Kennedys’ Binns, Books Fashion, Liverpool House,the list goes on .SADLY NO MORE,” she said.

Pauline Chapman is loving the memories and said: “Those were the days. You just reminded me about Risdons. Bought lots of baby goods from there.

“I worked in Joplings as a Saturday girl from ‘65-67 in the toy department. Then worked in NatWest Bank till first baby. Some great pictures on this site bringing back great memories.”

Blacketts closed in 1972 and 150 workers were made redundant.

Thank you to all the Echo readers who helped on our wonderful trip down Memory Lane.