The end of an era

BHS opens, 1969, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
I saw something really sad yesterday. We have (or had) a  chain of shops called British Home Stores, or BHS as we inevitably shortened it to.

Sometimes, on a saturday mum and dad would do the *afternoon stroll* around Southend shops. God, it was so boring (you have to remember I was really young, and looking at clothes was never something I wanted to do at that age!).  BHS (or C&A) was the place to go if you couldn't quite afford the prices of M&S.

The classic memory I have of BHS was mum buying a winter coat, and trying on EVERY SINGLE COAT in the store (at least twice!). What I also recall about that time was me going around all the coats, on the floor, under the displays, and pulling off all the little packets that held spare buttons for the coats.

Yes, I was that child. 

I recall getting in trouble, but not as much trouble as the time I liberated a pack of marbles from the high street toystore and got caught... *coughs*.

Anyway, that is getting off the subject. The sad thing I saw was the Milton Keyne's BHS doing a last minute *everything must go* sale. Just a huge table at the front of the shop; DVDs, books, and some last minute clothes. A group of people were hovering around the table as the staff kept putting prices down. Yesterday was the last time we'll see a BHS, every branch is now shut, or nearly shut, a victim of a lot of factors; mismanagement, online purchasing, the economy...

It's been slow, insidious, but the high street landscape is changing. Pound shops, charity shops filling spaces where larger shops were before, huge hypermarkets...

Kind of sad, but there is an inevitable march toward the chain department stores just disappearing.

Hells, M&S might be next.

And then, where would I buy my Percy Pigs from?


  1. It's so sad both my sister and I had saturday jobs working at BHS. Its the end of an era and after Woolworths went it seems no shops are safe anymore.

  2. The high streets of our youth no longer exist.