Category Archives: Furniture

Mrs. Ryan’s Bedroom Shop, London Road, Leigh-on-Sea

The next advert from 1967 has a somewhat odd company behind it. Well, oddly named at least… Mrs. Ryan’s Bedroom Shop. Maybe a lot of shops were named like that in those days?

Mrs Ryan's Bedroom Shop, London Road, Leigh-on-Sea
Mrs Ryan’s Bedroom Shop, London Road, Leigh-on-Sea

The first shop seems too small to be selling beds and the like, being just a single fronted premises. It is now a Coral Betting shop.

Mrs Ryan's Bedroom Shop, London Road, Leigh-on-Sea
Mrs Ryan’s Bedroom Shop, London Road, Leigh-on-Sea

The second store, at 846 London Road appears to now be occupied by Nova Car Sales – though this actually occupies 840-846 London Road. It’s difficult to say whether Mrs Ryan’s Bedroom Shop was in the corner property, as the next shop along (directly across the road) is number 850.

Mrs Ryan's Bedroom Shop, London Road, Leigh-on-Sea
Mrs Ryan’s Bedroom Shop, London Road, Leigh-on-Sea
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Smerdons of Westcliff, Hamlet Court Road

I got a bit of a shock when hunting this one down, to see what state the property was in today. It turns out that Smerdons was in the premises that I knew as 7-eleven stores.

Smerdons of Westcliff, Hamlet Court Road
Smerdons of Westcliff, Hamlet Court Road

I knew that the building had been badly damaged by fire, but I admit I wasn’t expecting to see this building site:

Smerdons, 127-129 Hamlet Court Road
Smerdons, 127-129 Hamlet Court Road

That must have been some time ago, and I do not know exactly what the site looks like now.

Of the original advert, many shops really could do with taking note of the promise “A complete absence of high-pressure methods”. There are images of the old building (in Londis guise) on Flickr – just search for Smerdons Westcliff.

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D.H. Stevens, Soft Furnishers, 91-93 Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea

Another advert from the July 1967 Essex Countryside.  There’s no trace of D.H. Stevens today using Google. However, the second picture below (from Google Streetview) nicely confirms that Leigh Road Supermarket occupies the premises today. The shop front, in particular the windows, looks identical to the D.H. Stevens image. Even the framed white board, to the right of the furthest door looks the same.

D.H. Stevens Furniture Store, Leigh-on-Sea
D.H. Stevens Furniture Store, Leigh-on-Sea
Google Streetview of the D.H. Stevens premises today.
Google Streetview of the D.H. Stevens premises today.

The Streetview image does give us a clue to the premises past – in that the sign above the shop fronts advertises Parker Knoll furniture. The other side of the sign answers the question of the name of the most recent furniture vendor, with the large letters “LILLY” down the centre. Whether Lilly took over from D.H. Stevens, or whether there was an intermediate store on the premises, I do not yet know. Maybe the stack of Essex Countryside magazines that I have will have the answer.

Addendum: Since posting this on Ros Southend Past Facebook site, I have received the following information from Tony Hall: Lilly’s of Leigh took over the shop direct from Mrs Stevens and only closed in 2008. The convenience store only lasted 1 year max. Mr.Lilly still owns the property.

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Collier & Sons, Great Totham – Elm Garden Seat

How confusing it must have been to buy things in ‘the olden days ago’. This lovely looking rustic seat from an advert in July 1967 is priced at 10 guineas, including carriage – but in an earlier post, I related that the pound had superseded the guinea in 1816, except for in some trades. In the earlier post, that trade was bespoke tailoring. But here we see the guinea and the pound used alongside one another. The guinea was worth 21 shillings, whilst the pound was worth 20 shillings. Today’s equivalent prices of these items is therefore around £161 for the bench, and £123 for the table. That seems quite steep in comparison with what one would pay today. Mind you – is there much elm even left?

Incidentally, Collier & Sons get a mention on the 1986 Domesday Book. It seems they developed the business from garden furniture into the production of over 600 truck bodies per year by that date! They are still going today – but now in Witham, trading as Colliers Truck Builders Ltd.

Collier & Sons - Garden Furniture
Collier & Sons – Garden Furniture
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Clapham Bros Furnishers Limited

Clapham Bros Furnishers Limited
Clapham Bros Furnishers Limited

Another long disappeared retail name. Again, taken from the July 1967 edition of Essex Countryside. The only thing I could find relating to Clapham Brothers online didn’t seem to be this particular company, but instead related to a more industrial firm, founded in Keighley.

This Clapham Bros had two showrooms in Brentwood – in the High Street and Kings Road – and one in Billericay High Street. They stocked all the leading manufacturers, a few of which still trade today – though most seem to have disappeared.

  • G-Plan
  • Minty
  • Guy Rogers
  • Myer’s
  • Stag
  • Avalon
  • Jentique
  • Lebus
  • Cintique
  • Vi-Spring
  • Scandart
  • Leylux
  • Relyon
  • Stonehill
  • Toothill
  • Slumberland
  • McIntosh
  • Austinsuite
  • Dunlopillo
  • Rest Assured
  • Beautility
  • Parker-Knoll
  • Luxaflex Blinds
  • Vono
  • Uniflex
  • Hensher
  • Meredew
  • Put-U-Up
  • Remploy
  • Staples
  • Ercol
  • Wrighton
  • Limelight
  • Homeworthy
  • Priory
  • Sleepeezee
  • Stevens
  • Nathan
  • etc.
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