Celebrating 50 years after move from Cole’s Corner

John Lewis staff Balloons
John Lewis staff Balloons
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Fifty years after staff spent a weekend lugging the entire contents of a department store from one site to another there was rather lighter task for them to mark the anniversary.

Cole Brothers staff carried vast amounts of goods from the shop on Coles’ Corner, up Fargate and into the new building – now John Lewis – back in September 1963.

Releasing scores of yellow balloons to celebrate the milestone proved rather an easier job.

The glamorous women who worked in the hairdressing department when the store moved sites also threw a reunion of their own.

It was organised by Linda Barret, nee France, who remembers the big move weekend clearly as well as the delight of both customers and staff at the sparkly new shop.

At 6pm on Saturday, September 14, 1963,the shop at Cole’s Corner closed its doors for the last time after 124 years and the move to Barker’s Pool began.

It was likened to a military exercise and all members of staff were involved, kept going by a fish and chip supper.

They were packing, labelling and colour coding boxes of stock and fixtures until 10pm that night and were back again ready to start on the Sunday morning at 8am.

The unpacking was finished by 9pm on the Monday - 51 hours after it had begin.

Customers started lining up outside the new shop at 8.30am Tuesday morning and by 11am a huge crowed had gathered to see it officially opened by Lord Mayor Alderman Lewis.

John Lewis marked half a century of being in Barker’s Pool with a range of activities including free cake for customers and an artist in residence session with city artist Joe Scarborough.

There were also chances to be given a look from the 1960s and share memories.

Emma Flack, operations manager at John Lewis, said: “As well as Joe’s appearance we served birthday cake in the shop and offered customers 60s style makeovers throughout our celebration.

“Shoppers could also take a walk down memory lane with our memory wall in The Place to Eat, and share their own experiences of the shop through the years with our special anniversary book.”