Hartlepool said goodbye to this shopping favourite in 1992

The end of Binns loomed in Hartlepool in 1992.
The end of Binns loomed in Hartlepool in 1992.

It’s 26 years this month since one of Hartlepool’s best known stores closed.

Binns ceased trading in June 1992 and, as the Hartlepool Mail reported at the time, it was “the end of an era for many saddened townsfolk”.

Binns staff said goodbye to the store in 1992 in their own fine style.

Binns staff said goodbye to the store in 1992 in their own fine style.

A vox pop at the time produced lots of similar opinions – it was such a shame because Binns was the town’s only department store.

And leading the fight to find a brighter future for the Victoria Road site was town MP Peter Mandelson, who called for urgent talks to find a new owner.

The Binns workers, though, were bowing out in fine style.

More than 100 of them turned up for a farewell ‘do’ at the Staincliffe Hotel in Seaton Carew where they donned fancy dress.

It wasn’t the House of Fraser that made the store what it was, or the fine building - it was the people in it

Keith Montgomery

The store’s window dressers made costumes with Henry VIII, Marie Antoinette, a palm tree and a toadstool among the guests.

Despite being out of work, the staff still held a charity fundraiser where they crossed the palm of Gipsy Rose Lee with silver and raised £40 for the local hospice.

As store manager Keith Montgomery said at the time: “It wasn’t the House of Fraser that made the store what it was, or the fine building – it was the people in it.”

But what else was happening in Hartlepool at the time?

l Hartlepool United’s players were on their way to a pre-season tour with a difference. They were heading to Transylvania to play a match against first division side FC Brasov, but also to give their support to young Aids sufferers in care in orphanages.

l A giant liquorice sweet was among the characters in the fancy dress parade at Greatham Feast, where other highlights included carousel rides and afternoon tea in the church grounds.

l There were fears that Freddie the Dolphin had died after the carcass was washed up at Hartlepool Marina.

l England were playing Sweden in the European Championships and you could watch it live in Piano’s Bar.

l Or you could get along to Bogart’s Bar in 42nd Street where it was ’60s night. There were prizes for the best bopper and best singer.

l On the big screen, Chevy Chase was starring in Memoirs of an Invisible Man, which was showing at the WMR Film Centre in Sunderland Road, Horden.

l If you stopped in, you could catch Wogan, Neighbours and Cagney and Lacey on BBC 1; Open Space and Black And White In Colour on BBC 2; Wheel Of Fortune, Blockbusters and Rosie and Jim on Tyne Tees; and The Henderson Kids and Brookside on Channel 4.

What are your memories of 1992. Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk