Staff bid final farewell to John Lewis in Sheffield as interior is dismantled

New photos of empty shelves, deserted cafe, dismantled mannequins and static escalators in John Lewis' now shut store in the heart of Sheffield have brought back bittersweet memories of its glory days.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 2:20 pm

The department store at Barker's Pool was finally locked and shut for good last Saturday, according to one employee, after the decision to close the branch was made at the start of the third national lockdown in January.

In March, the company said it would not reopen, with the loss of 299 jobs in a massive blow to Sheffield’s high street shopping scene.

John Lewis had been part of Sheffield since the 1940s when it took over the Cole Brothers department store.

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John Lewis closed its store at Barker’s Pool at the start of lockdown three in January. In March the company said it would not reopen, with the loss of 299 jobs.

New photos from inside the store were shared on Saturday by one employee, who said: “We’ve just spent the last few weeks taking the shop apart and almost all of the staff have officially finished today.”

The fresh images prompted great nostalgia.

One person wrote: "I still have this side table purchased from them when I left home in 1975. Part a Scandinavian suite.

"Last time I was there was about 2015 & before that early 1980s. Lots of memories. Sad day."

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Another commented: "This makes me feel sad. It's only a shop, I know, but when I walked in here it felt like everything would be okay."

A third person reminisced about ‘milkshakes with gran, coffee and cake with my mum and friends for over 50 years, so many happy memories tied up in a shop’.

And another wished the store's former employees well, saying: "So sad, especially for those staff, those familiar faces I used to see over the years, I hope they are ok and have been able to move forward with their lives. Stuff Johnit’s about the real people who worked there."

John Lewis Partnership announced the closure despite having signed a new lease with Sheffield City Council in August last year intended to keep it in the city centre - paying a peppercorn rent - for at least the next 20 years.

That followed almost 20 years of negotiations over its place in a series of redevelopment plans.

The store at Barker’s Pool is a few hundred metres from the Debenhams building, which also closed down after the retailer went into liquidation in December.