Your memories of a Sunderland shop which was all the fashion

Bells were certainly ringing when we triggered memories of Books Fashions in Sunderland.

Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 10:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 12:46 pm
Books provides the backdrop in this 1973 photograph.

And for some, they were wedding bells as the popular former store was clearly a provider of top-class dresses for that very special big day.

We asked you on social media for your recollections of the store which had its last days 30 years ago.

A Books fashion show in 1958.

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More than 32,000 people showed an interest, and there was a common theme for a number of you.

Dawn Simpson led the way and said: “Bought my wedding outfit in there. Cost an arm and a leg.”

Dawn added: “Fond memories and such beautiful clothes and wedding outfits xx God we were spoilt for choice beautiful shop xx.”

Liz Naisby was another to reply and said: “I still have my wedding dress and veil and I’m sure somewhere in my box of memories I have the receipt.

The Joplings Santa Parade took a route past Books Fashions in 1982.

“She added: “I remember passing the shop and seeing my wedding dress on a model and I fell in love with it. I couldn’t believe that I actually got the first dress I had seen. I did try other dresses on but always I had set my heart on the first one. Happy days xx.”

Viv Hutchinson also reacted to the post and said: “omg that makes me feel ancient. Bought my bridesmaids dresses in there and leather trousers and sheepskin coat lol saved for ages to get them 1979 ouch.”

Others shopped for general clothes including Michelle Baines who said: “I remember getting a long black wool coat from there ... thought I was the bee’s knees.”

Pamela Jones Quinn said: “Used to get my Afghan and leather coats at Books, fab shop.”

While Sandra Wilson commented: “Used to go here with my mam. Got my first sheepskin coat here and I also used to model for them when I was little.”

Kay Quinn reminisced: “I always went with my Mam. I got my first leather jacket from there hahaha xx.”

Thanks also to Liz Johnson who said: “Got a beautiful Afghan coat for my 18th birthday from here.”

And to Freda Fairley for her comments. She said: “I loved that shop I bought most of my clothes there very much in fashion then and my shoes. Also my jewellery to match xxxxx.”

Brenda Hackett poignantly told us: “Bought a fabulous suit in there when they were closing down ,quite an expensive shop. I could never afford their clothes.”

Then there were those of you who either worked there or had relatives who did, including Christine Bryant-Greenhow, who said: “My sister was the window dresser at Books Fashions.”

Keith Elliott commented: “My mother Vera Elliott was fashion advisor for them,” and Vivien Hancill said: “My great aunties were seamstresses there.”

Shirley Herbertson worked there and started on a government scheme in 1983, and Julia Colclough said: “I worked there on a government scheme back in the day, nearly 37 years ago.”

Michael Parkin told us that his great aunt Elsie worked there “into the early 1970’s”, and Lee Johnson said: “My mam also worked there.”

While Ant Atkin told us: “Me mam used to work there and Graftons.”

Others among you reflected on childhood memories of a visit to the store.

Micheala McCormick said: “I remember going in here as a child with my Mam. I always remember it being very posh with a very grand staircase.”

Dianne Pattison told us: “Got lost in here when I was about three. Must’ve only been a few minutes but remember being petrified! Lol.”

Vicky Cheetham remembered “going in there with my Gran”.

Lots more of you simply wanted to praise the former favourite including Joan Redford, who said, “loved Books Fashions”, and Linda Mcdonald who described it as a “lovely store”.

Margaret Murley remembered Books as “the shop to shop at” and said she got a sheepskin coat there which she still had.”

Wearside Echoes followers wanted to share memories of other shops in the vicinity at the time.

Elizabeth Storey said: “There was a sport shop with the Cut Above hair salon upstairs,” and Kay Quinn asked: “Can anyone remember Durham Book Centre? It used to be further up the road. I loved that shop.”

To share your own memories of Books and other shops, get in touch by emailing [email protected]