A retail giant is on the move in Hartlepool - but it’s just the latest twist to a long and rich link with the town.
Marks & Spencer will soon move to a new site at the Anchor Retail Park.
But it is only the latest move for a firm which has been a firm favourite for decades.
Hartlepool and Marks & Spencer have enjoyed a long and happy link.
There is evidence that the company had a Penny Bazaar in the Market Hall in Hartlepool at the turn of the 20th century.
In 1909 a new branch was opened at 39 Lynn Street. This was part of the director William Chapman’s expansionist policy.
The store was an open fronted Penny Bazaar.
There were no windows which meant the sales assistants had to work unprotected from the elements at all times.
Simple household items were displayed on the counters and hanging from the ceiling and they were all priced at one penny.
The selling area was 18 feet, six inches by 39 feet, six inches.
Six years later in 1915, the company took out a 15 year lease at a cost of £115 per annum.
By 1959, Liptons the grocers occupied the site and the ceiling that Marks & Spencer had put up in 1909 was still in first-class condition.
The branch was closed in 1926 with the opening of a new store in August at 47/49 Lynn Street.
It had large glass windows and the goods were carefully displayed within these.
For example, on August 20, 1926 the window had a display of small toy dolls and miniature cars, toilet preparations, loofahs and crockery.
And in December 1933, the store was extended as it continued to go from strength to strength.
Further expansion happened in November 1938.
The main frontage covered 68 feet with a total selling area of 7,700 square feet.
This store was closed on October 28, 1969 on the advent of the new branch that was to open in the town’s shopping centre.
This was opened two days later on October 30, 1969 in the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre with a Mr PL Moore as the manager.
The main frontage measured 75 feet and the total sales area covered 18,500 square feet.
Although Hartlepool had had a Marks & Spencer store in their town for almost 70 years this branch was on a new site and the store was bright, modern and in keeping with the new 1970s style of retail outlet.
In July 2002 the store was renewed with new signage and lighting installed as part of the nationwide renewal programme.