Monday, May 9, 2011

EP Rose

Messrs. E. P. Rose and Sons, Dress and Mantle Makers, Milliners, General Drapers, Carpet Warehousemen, etc.,
50, High Street, Bedford

Advertising material for EP Rose & Son Ltd, from the
Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum Collections.

EP Rose was a department store, based in the building that now houses Debenhams.

The interview below is with Pauline Redman, who worked at the shop during the early 1950's. She remembers ironing underwear for models to wear in fashion shows the store held for select customers.



Hockliffes Booksellers
78 High Street, Bedford then later at 86 & 88 High Street, Bedford

Hockliffe's was a family run bookshop from around 1870 until the 1930's when the business was sold to WH Smith, however, even after 1930 the bookshop continued to trade under the Hockliffe name throughout the 20th Century.

The Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum is lucky to hold a letter from William Hale White to Frederick Hockliffe dated 1902.

The letter begins with an enquiry about some plates that William Hale White planned to purchase, but goes on in an informal, (even gossipy) way 'I wonder who will be Dr. Brown's successor. A man of a different type from Hillyard (sp?) and Bull of Newport Pagnel, I suppose..'

The letter gives an insight into the personal, and friendly service Hockliffe afforded his customers. William Halewhite is better known in Bedford as Mark Rutherford (1831 - 1913) who was a writer. George Orwell  'described Mark Rutherford's Deliverance as 'one of the best novels written in English'

Below is an interview with Mr Philip Hills, who worked at Hockliffe's during the 1950's an 60's. He began at the shop straight after leaving school. He describes how large the shop was at that time, with about 10 departments and 70 staff.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Harrison and Simmonds

Harrison & Simmonds
Tobacconist & Fancy Goods
78 High Street, Bedford then later 80 High Street Bedford
Established 1928
Harrison & Simmonds at 80 High Street, Bedford. (c) Harrison & Simmonds 2011

David Simmonds (c) Harrison & Simmonds 2011

Nathaniel Simmonds c. 1960 (c) Harrison & Simmonds 2011

This interview is with Michael Simmonds who still owns and works at the family-run shop, which is one of only two High Street Shops to have remained open throughout the twentieth century, and into the twenty-first!

Michael Simmonds also talked about his memories of working at the shop, as part of our Clocking In exhibition in May 2010.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

John Bull

John Bull
Jewellers & Silversmiths
47 & 49 High Street Bedford
Established 1825

Photograph provided by Richard Stoodley

When John Bull died in 1870 his two sons decided to pull down the original premises and build the elaborate premises oat 49 High Street, Bedford. The building featured a large projected clock which was adorned by a golden bull. The original bull is now in the museum collection. However, it was such a popular site on Bedford High Street that a fibre-glass replica was built, and can still be seen today.

Here is our Keeper of Social History, Lydia Saul talking about John Bull.

Here is an interview with Richard Stoodley who's father began as apprentice at John Bull in the 1920's and became manager during the 1930's.

Richard describes how his father used to collect the water the gold was washed in and give this to the people of Bedford who believed it had healing properties.


Goldings Ironmongers
80 High Street, Bedford then later moved to
107 High Street, Bedford.
Established 1867

Goldings continues to fascinate shoppers with its remarkable range of household goods. It is one of only two High Street shops that have remained open, and family-run throughout the twentieth century (and into the twenty-first!)

Did you know Goldings was the first commercial premises in Bedford to have gas central heating? Also, the shop originally had its own forge for making and mending metalwork.

This interview is with Linda Warner who worked at Goldings for many years and is married to the current manager.


Goldings c. 1950's. Image provided by Linda Warner.