Ahh, retail therapy? There’s nothing quite like it.
Forget your online stores, next day deliveries and mobile apps that allow you to but whatever you want without even looking out your window, there was once no greater pleasure than heading into the city and browsing the shops.
Saturday afternoons were made for putting the husband in front of a TV store window to watch the football scores – and then getting on with seeing what bargains could be bought.
And what a shopping mecca Sheffield was.
Department store likes Atkinsons, Cockaynes, Pauldens and Cole Brothers supplied everything from the finest fashions to household goods of astonishing beauty. Dozens of music outlets – like Violet Mays and Revolution Records – lined the city streets. The young and stylish could be seen flocking to buy clobber from Sexy Rexy’s and Chelsea Girl. Many a Saturday evening tea and Sunday lunch were bought from the butchers and grocers in Castle Market. And – lest we forget – for the children (and their dads), the dream world that was Redgates toy shop.
Today, Tuesday Retro continues our A-Z of hobbies enjoyed in the region with S is for shopping.
“Sheffield was, for a time, the shopping capital of the north, I would say,” says author Neil Anderson, who wrote The Shopaholics Guide To 1970s Sheffield. “Whatever your heart desired you could find it here. And, being Yorkshire, there was a feeling that if you couldn’t find it here, it probably wasn’t worth having anyway.”
Such was the city’s reputation for its stores, in November 1961, the Sheffield Shopping Festival was held. Thousands flocked to see limited goods in a range of outlets.
“Back then, there wasn’t much else to do with your Saturday afternoon – you went to the football or you went shopping,” says Neil, of Millhouses. “So town would be packed with people you knew.
“It felt like an occasion every weekend – it’s just a shame my pocket didn’t always stretch to buying what I wanted.”