Fond memories of the store which was loved by its workers

Fabulous memories of Joplings staff have been shared by Echo readers.

Thursday, 24th May 2018, 11:00 am
Joplings pictured in the 1960s.
Joplings pictured in the 1960s.

And what recollections they were – especially of one amazing employee who spent 54 loyal years with the store.

We asked for your comments after we shared a picture on social media of former workers and asked who remembered them.

The 1998 photo showing the retirement of two Sunderland shopworkers who had goven a combined service of 104 years to Joplings.

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Thousands of you were reached and lots of you pointed out that the picture was taken in 1998.

The photograph showed two Sunderland shopworkers, who retired from Joplings after a combined service of 104 years. They were Eileen Knott, centre left, and Beatrice Nicholson, who were pictured with friends from Joplings.

Claire Douglas was first to respond and said: “My fabulous late ‘Aunty Beaty’ Fondly known as Miss Douglas throughout her 50+ years at Joplings despite being married. I worked there too for years as a Saturday girl in the restaurant x.”

And Paul Douglas also responded and said: “Only ever had one employer. From aged 15 till she finally retired at 69. That’s 54 years. Amazing.”

Our thanks also go to Sheena Robson who named all of the people in the picture. She said: “From left to right Karen Yvonne Margaret Marilyn Joyce Judith Eileen Margaret david Beatrice bob Sheila Jim Doreen Philip I think happy days.”

Kay Stonehouse said it was a shame that Joplings was no longer open and added: “Spent hours shopping in there. Loved it x.”

Susan Douglas Rochester said: “My aunty Beaty right in the middle of the photo; sadly no longer with us.”

And Sarah Elizabeth Hall commented: “My Auntie Margaret Orbell is hiding at the back!!!”

Ann Work said: “I worked in the store 1965 / 1969 when I left to have my son. Great place to work.”

We’re also grateful to Yvonne Foffy Moulding who said she started at Joplings in 1990/91 and added: “We wore the light blue pleated skirts then before the uniform changed to navy.”

Another to fondly remember Joplings was Donna Hodgson, who wished the store was still here. “Such a shame. I loved that shop,” she said.

And two more of you also recalled some of the people in the photos. They were Christine Lamb who said: “Yes Marilyn Addison and a few more.”

Justine Williams said: “Yes my Auntie Joyce xx.”

Lots of you gave the thumbs-up to the post including Lilian Anderson, Liz Collier, Sajir Ali, Taiyaba Samira, Claire Gardiner, Susan Barnett and Shirley Parker.

So did Audrey Williamson, Christine Lamb, Rachel Lewins, Helen Donkin, Carole Smith, Lesley Stubbs Thompson, Anne Shaw and Glenda Burdon. We thank them all.

Joplings survived two World Wars, the Great Depression and a catastrophic fire in 1954 to serve generations of Wearsiders until 2010.

The store dates back to 1804 when Thomas Jopling and Joseph Tuer first opened a drapery firm in High Street East.

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.

But a new use is on the way for the site.

An application has been approved to transform the massive corner plot into an 178-ensuite bedroom property for students. There will also be a private cinema, gym, fitness and yoga suites, a games and pool room.