Category Archives: Westcliff-on-Sea

Blankfield Furs (incl Klous) Master Furriers

I daresay this is a trade that many would nowadays like forgotten – but this is an advert from 1967, showing that the practise was still alive and well back then (unlike the fur donors).

Blankfield Furs, Westcliff-on-Sea
Blankfield Furs, Westcliff-on-Sea

I’d not heard of musquash, though it seems it is another name for the muskrat. Disgusting to think that so many animals had to die for just one coat of vanity. The summer storage aspect is intriguing nonetheless. Was this to save storage space at home, or to prevent insect infestations during the warmer weather?

Nowadays, the property is home to an accountancy firm. Judging by the 0702 phone number in the window, they have been there for some time.

276 London Road, Westcliff : Lee & Co Accounting
276 London Road, Westcliff : Lee & Co Accounting

What I also found interesting though, was mention of this being opposite Howards Dairies. My mother used to work for Howards Dairies, and her father for Unigate (and maybe Howards before that). But in all the time I’d been up in that part of the London Road, I never made the connection that Howards was there. Delving deep into the depths of memory, on my trips to the old double width Maplin Electronics store that was across the road (and the single one before that), all I can muster is advertising billboards where Howards Court stands today. If you have any memories of when the dairy itself was demolished, please leave a comment.

Howards Court - on the site of the old Howards Dairies, Westcliff-on-Sea
Howards Court – on the site of the old Howards Dairies, Westcliff-on-Sea

 

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Robsons – The Corset Shop, 279 London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea

Corsets? In 1967? Really??

I suppose in all honesty, you can still buy corsets today – its just that I didn’t really imagine corsets to be such a commonplace garment by 1967. For me, the word ‘corset’ mainly conjures up images of 19th century women being laced up into corsets that they could hardly breathe in. Interestingly, unlike a lot of these old adverts/stores, I have found a request online from someone wanting memories and recollections of the place.

As readers of previous posts will know, I like to convert prices where shown into their equivalent prices today. Read on…

Robsons Corset Shop, Westcliff-on-Sea
Robsons Corset Shop, Westcliff-on-Sea
  • 5004: £13.79
  • 5004/4:  £17.32
  • 5073: £19.94
  • 5123: £37.32
  • 5192 (full cup): £44.57
  • 5192 (extra full cup): £53.81
  • Postage & Packing: £1.15

I imagine that in their day, Robsons were selling garments that would cause courting gents to get hot under the collar. Funnily enough, the location now hosts another type of business that can cause raising of temperatures – The Fireplace Trade Centre! The current colour scheme of the outside would, I am sure, suit many of today’s lingerie outlets!

Robsons - The Corset Shop, 279 London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea
Robsons – The Corset Shop, 279 London Road, Westcliff-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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Bignells of Westcliff – Lighting & Attractive Shades

This advert from 1967 describes Bignells of Westcliff. I am not sure when that lighting store disappeared – but it does remind me of an intrepid bike ride that I made up the London Road in perhaps 1990, calling into several lighting shops on the way, trying to get hold of a glass lamp ‘shade’ for a candelabra thing my parents had, which had been broken during a party I’d held when they were on holiday. I actually did manage to get a very good replacement – but when I confessed to my sins some years later, my mum told me she hated the lamp anyway, and wouldn’t have cared if it hadn’t been replaced.

Bignells of Westcliff
Bignells of Westcliff

The shop itself is now (or at least was when Google’s Streetview car visited) First National Computers. The design of the building at the top is rather interesting. Another case of me never having noticed until having examined the photos, despite the amount of times that I’ve walked along that stretch of road.

256 London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea
256 London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea
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