Death of a Department Store

Before there was Selfridges, Sears, JCPenney, John Lewis or Nordstrom there was Allders. Allders was a department store in my part of the world that stood the test of time, right up until this Autumn.

As a child I rode my bike into town with friends and hung around the shopping precinct which Allders fronted and got in trouble with the security men for riding up to the plate glass windows and doing skids, bouncing off the glass. It wasn’t us though, it was some other kids, honest.

Anyway, Allders, which had been around since 1862, had been in trouble for years. It was old school – marbled floors, wooden display cabinets and rickety old escalators. And it was filled with stuff that you could get on the internet. It had no chance.

We took a last tour of the old lady:

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The place is emptied out. We started going through the perfumery area – Clinique, Clarins etc – nothing left! Then down to the basement.

The basement was full of all things a cook needs – cookers, grills, fridges, freezers, bread-makers, pots, pans, cutlery and food processers. Now it’s all gone!

So this Christmas there won’t be a last minute rush to Allders – because it won’t be there. Sad days indeed!

I’d like to thank my wife for putting up with me for the past 4 hours I have spent trying to get the Greg Lake tune on this post to synch over this bloody video clip. WordPress is great, mostly, but it has driven me sodding mad trying to get the video to work with the music overlaid on it!

36 thoughts on “Death of a Department Store

  1. I hate when stores that are part of the fabric of a community close. We’ve lost a few over here including some bookstores and it just depresses me. I do what I can to support some small local businesses. I like to think it helps a little.

  2. I think the way things are going in the end there will be one huge store where we’ll go for everything. I miss so many stores over here that have been swallowed up by bigger entities. Sad.

  3. I don’t know this store, but it’s sad to see these old institutions fade. Fortunately, in my community there is a venerable department store that’s still thriving and one of the nicer places to shop. The music was a lovely addition to your video; I’m glad you persevered!

  4. Never been to Allders. I don’t think they existed in my part of the U.K. I was very sad when Woolworths closed though.
    Good luck with the shopping Mall. They are not the answer to everything either.

  5. There are tricks like music overlays that I was able to add to my first blog efforts years ago – that are nigh unto impossible in WP.

    But, I persevere. This is, after all, being written from scratch – not adapting other forms and protocols especially. I would suggest emailing the customer support folks about problems, though. They’re helpful.

    And – email Matt, himself: matt@mullenweg.com

    He will read it.

  6. I hate seeing history being destroyed. It’s sad, especially since it had such a long history. They pulled down one of my favorite old southern two story homes from the 1800’s near here a couple of weeks ago. I loved that house… Enjoyed reading your blog..
    PS. Thank you for stopping by my blog to read and spend a moment of your time. It is greatly appreciated! 😀

  7. It’s such a shame to see these out establishments close. They had so much character. We’ve lost a number of them here in the States too and are left with a bunch of malls with the exact same stores, all offering the same things. Hardly worth any shopping expeditions.

  8. How sad – all the old places like that are slowly dying out. I like the last camera swing before you went out through the doors… a wistful last glimpse. And the music was very fitting even if it was a hassle! I worked in an old department store for a while… think “Are You Being Served?” and you’re not far off!

  9. Thank you both for taking the time to share this. Wow, 1862! From the video it looks actually really up to date. It was a huge establishment! Do you know what it is going in it’s place?

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