Category Archives: Retailers

R.A. Jones & Sons Ltd, High Street, Southend-on-Sea

This jeweller needs little introduction for many residents of Southend – though I guess newer inhabitants may not realise the significance of this store, its founder, and what he gave to the town. I have to admit, I’d not previously heard of it as the ‘county jewellers’. I just about remember the Jones store I think. At the very least, I’m pretty sure I can remember the display cabinets at the front of the store – I think you could walk right round the central one. And I have vivid memories of the clock sometimes, but mostly not working.

R.A. Jones & Sons, High Street, Southend-on-Sea
R.A. Jones & Sons, High Street, Southend-on-Sea

I won’t post too much on this page, as you can read much of it on the Wikipedia page concerning him, but suffice to say, he donated many of today’s wide open spaces, including:

  • Priory Park
  • Jones Memorial Ground
  • Victory Sports Ground

R.A. Jones died in 1925, but his sons succeeded him in running the business, and a local secondary school (Cecil Jones) is named after one of them.

After being Jones’ jewellers, the premises became Lavells and then Dixons. The most recent occupant of the site is ‘Yours’, with the store looking very much less elegant than it used to. The iconic clock, however, and the R.A. Jones lettering at the top of the building do still exist, in hint to the building’s past.

R.A. Jones & Sons, High Street, Southend-on-Sea
R.A. Jones & Sons, High Street, Southend-on-Sea

THE DAY YOU BUY A DIAMOND
You buy one of the most precious things in the world. A diamond is forever, its radiant beauty undiminished. The expert guidance of an experienced jeweller will help you to choose your treasure wisely.
The value and beauty of a diamond are enhanced by its clarity and cut. A diamond is considered flawless if no flaw is discernible by the trained eye when the diamond is magnified ten times. And only fine cutting can reveal its beauty. When light enters the polished diamond it is broken into the component colours of the spectrum an reflected in those enchanting rainbow flashes.
Our spacious modern showrooms display a wide selection of diamond rings and beautifully fashioned jewellery. As well as the many lovely things you would expect to see at the leading jewellers in the County.

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James Finch Ltd, Duke Street, Chelmsford

A strange advert, with the usual dodgy photograph thrown in. I’ve no idea what’s meant by the concept of an “itinerant foot-fitter”.

Sadly, although this retailer seems to have both a website and a Google+ page, the website does not work. A quick look on Google Streetview seems to show a shopfront that is in the process of being completely replaced – so it looks like this company is no more, though only relatively recently gone. The surrounding premises seem to be takeaways and charity shops, so seemingly Duke Street is somewhat away from the main shopping area.

James Finch Ltd
James Finch Ltd, Duke Street, Chelmsford
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Williams & Griffin, Colchester’s Newest Department Store

Williams & Griffin department store originally opened in Colchester High Street in 1963 – a merger of two independent stores founded in the 19th century. Since 2008, it has been one of Fenwick’s department stores.

Williams  & Griffin is seen below advertised in the July 1967 Essex Countryside magazine.

Williams & Griffin - Colchester's Newest Department Store
Williams & Griffin – Colchester’s Newest Department Store
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Mellon’s of Kelvedon

There’s not a great deal to say about this old advert. It is sourced from the July 1967 Essex Countryside, and neither the company, nor the address are traceable today. There is a Mellon’s Limited, Kelvedon registered with Companies House, but I do not believe it to be related to this one.

Any info? Please submit a comment.

Mellon's of Kelvedon - Ornamental & Wrought Iron Gates
Mellon’s of Kelvedon – Ornamental & Wrought Iron Gates
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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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Omega Constellation – G. Chambers & Sons

Below is a luxury watch advert, taken from the July 1967 Essex Countryside magazine. It is for an Omega Constellation watch, model BA 168 5014, costing £146/10/-. The price of the watch as shown equates to around £2,254 in today’s money, and the Constellation marque is still being used by Omega today. Obviously an enduring and successful brand.

Sadly, there seems to be no trace of the shop today though.

Omega Constellation - a Chronometer

Omega Constellation – a Chronometer
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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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Tailor Made – House of Tweed, Colchester – the Guinea

The ad below is taken from the July 1967 edition of Essex Countryside. 25 guineas for a made-to-measure suit was obviously a lot of money back then. A quick Google and a Wiki later shows that actually, the guinea had been superseded by the pound sterling from 1816 – but certain items, including bespoke tailoring, were still quoted in guineas. A guinea was worth 21 shillings – i.e. just over a pound. £1.05 in decimalised currency. Therefore 25 guineas would be £26.25 in decimalised currency – and worth a considerable amount more today. In fact, the inflation calculator here puts that at £402.49 in today’s money.

House of Tweed, Colchester
House of Tweed, Colchester
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