SHOP at Binns for Everything - that was the slogan which brought shoppers by the dozen to Hartlepool’s premier department store in Victoria Road for more than 60 years.
The grand building - occupying the whole block between Swanson Street and Stockton Street - was initially owned by clothing firm Gray Peverell from 1902 until April 1926.
But on Saturday May 1, 1926, Binns Ltd - West Hartlepool opened for business - with the new store stocked “with a large selection of fashionable goods for immediate wear.”
Indeed, according an advert in the Mail, “no trouble or expense will be spared to quickly bring this shop to the same high standard of service well-known in other towns.”
And, to help give the business a quick boost, a “Great Clearance Sale of Peverell stock” was held - with shoppers urged to “walk round the store and see the bargains.”
Among the items on offer were men’s tweed caps at 1/11, “dainty wool dresses” at 17/11, macintoshes at 30 shillings and winceyette night dresses from just 3/11.
The store’s cafe proved very popular, accounts could be ‘opened with pleasure’ subject to references and post orders received the ‘prompt attention of staff.Mail archivist Susan Swinney
Cami-knickers were a snip at 2/11, while woollen jumper suits cost 10 shillings, boys’ overcoats were 19/11 and men’s collars were slashed to 6d.
“The original Binns business was started by draper George Binns, who opened a small shop in High Street East, Sunderland, in 1807,” said Mail archivist Susan Swinney.
“After his death in 1836, the firm passed to his eldest son, Henry. It was re-named H. Binns - a name which became famous after the store was floated as a limited company in 1897.”
The post-war years saw Binns open its first branch shop in Darlington in 1922. Others in Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Carlisle, Lincoln and, of course, Hartlepool soon followed.
“Within a year of Binns taking over the Gray Peverell building, the new store had become ‘West Hartlepool’s shopping headquarters’,” said Susan.
“The store’s cafe proved very popular, accounts could be ‘opened with pleasure’ subject to references and post orders received the ‘prompt attention of staff.’
“Middleton Grange Shopping Centre was even built around Binns, and it formed an integral part of it. Sadly, however, the store finally closed in June 1992.”
Also in the news in 1926:
A FAMED “curer of all ills” - Mrs Clara E. Slater - made a return visit to Hartlepool on May 8, 1926; by public demand.
Mrs Slater, who claimed to cure women’s ailments, ruptures and internal weaknesses, made Waddington’s Rooms. on Stockton Street, her business base during her brief stay.
“She has just concluded a successful world tour, visiting Australia, South Africa and America. Thousands are grateful for the relief she has given them,” claimed the advert.
• Hartlepool United manager Jack manners signed Sinden (forward), Little (goalkeeper) and T. Henderson (left half) on May 6, 1926.
Several new platers also signed amateur forms this week, including Waite - a 5ft 11ins goalie from St Oswald’s - and W/ Hodgson, a right back from Belle Vue Athletic.
• Thieves left the 9.55am train from Sunderland to West Hartlepool running late on May 11, 1926 - after stealing a rail track between Shotton Bridge and Thornley Station.
• St Aidan’s Memorial Primary School, in Loyalty Road, opened in May 1926 - as a memorial to the 100 ex-pupils and one teacher of the original St Aidan’s who lost their lives in the First World War.
• Cerebos Salt Works closed for alterations in May 1926. “It afforded the girls a few days rest after their strenuous experience over the previous few days,” the Mail reported.
• It was standing room only when the St James’s Players performed five tableaux entitled Contrasts - part of a Missionary Exhibition - in the Masonic Hall on May 12, 1926.
• Baker William Charlton died, aged 73, on May 12, 1926. The Dalton Street man also served as a court baliff, was a Sunday School teacher and a “prominent Oddfellow.”
• Mr J.H. Vincent, of 15 Jesmond Gardens, West Hartlepool, received “an intimation of acceptance” from the Patent Office on May 10, 1926, with “provisional specifications,” of a patent relating to his ideas for a baby carriage.
• Rail clerk Stephen Wilson, of 7 Olive Street, had to be rescued after falling into Hartlepool’s dock on May 14, 1926.
Mr A. Shortland, a customs officer, fished him out.