A Few Lost Rochdale Shops

Those who can remember the variety in the streets of towns in the North West will look back fondly to a time when Rochdale’s Yorkshire Street and Drake Street offered something distinctive and different to the streets of Bury or Oldham.  I could have picked Diggle and Taylor or Stock Liquidators, Lovick’s or Jimmy Duck’s, but I’ve gone with shops I remember with some affection.

Iveson’s Standing in Drake Street, this store was architecturally unmissable with the tower of the Trafalgar Buildings at the corner of Nelson Street. Founded in 1810 Iveson’s vied with the Co-op across the road in attracting footfall into town for its domestic ware, its furniture and carpets. Iveson’s was thought to be the classier store of the two, possibly because it was a family concern, and was prominent in the promotion of its goods through the Observer.

At its height the store employed 62 people from warehouse staff to shop assistants and office staff. Its range of goods was impressive, at one time shoppers being able to view an entire furnished bungalow in the store with over 4000 prospective shoppers coming in to see it. Not only did Iveson’s sell household fixtures but it carpeted many of the cinemas in town, equipped company boardrooms and furnished the Norden Riviera dance hall and picnic areas in 1936.

The last of the Iveson family Anne (then Slater) and John oversaw the closure of the store in 1984, Anne having worked first as a cashier and eventual owner. She was with the company for over 49 years.  The building was demolished in 2013.

Senior’s On the corner of Yorkshire Street and Baillie Street, Senior’s provided family clothes for generations. In 1919, the founder Sydney Senior had previously rented rooms above Wild’s gent’s outfitters but started to sell made to measure men’s suits for those demobbed from the army. He made a success out of small beginnings and by 1921 was able to buy out Wild’s and open the shop under his own name. Maintaining its sewing rooms, it soon became known for its bespoke tailoring and its eye for the latest fashions. So successful was Senior’s that the premises were extended to form a large store from three smaller ones.

Joining the business in 1958, Anthony Senior carried on the family tradition of producing quality clothes. By 1960 the company expanded and to meet the fashions of the day set up a ready-to-wear department on site. However, by 1999 the menswear department which had been at the heart of Seniors closed down and, on Anthony Senior’s retirement in 2001, so too the ladieswear section.

Redman’s Situated on Yorkshire Street, Redman’s was one of the main grocery competitors to James Duckworth’s although its provisions were distinctive and different. A large store, Redman’s seemed to be specialists in cooked meats and that smell was the first thing that hit you as you entered the shop. It was a smell which was carried through the store and into a large café that was a meeting place for many shoppers in Rochdale.

But Redman’s had certain products for sale that other shops didn’t have. I remember there being wire baskets containing what were promoted as ‘continental foods’ where you could find such strange delicacies as chocolate ants (goodness knows what they were !) and frogs legs which came in small sardine-type tins and which tasted of chicken.

Haworth’s One of the most prominent spots for a shop in Rochdale was on the South Parade just around the corner at the bottom of Drake Street. Owned by three generations of the same family, Haworth’s operated from this site for many years with the first Haworth, Edwin, opening ‘The Toggery’ in 1896 to sell menswear. Edwin was joined by his son Alfred in the company, expanding the shop over the years by taking over adjoining premises and setting up new and different departments – even launching a popular ladies hairdresser’s. The store sold both men’s and women’s clothes and at their height was the place to go if you wanted quality clothes in town. Geffrey Haworth continued the business after the war but Manchester shopping in the 1960’s and the rise of a new youth culture with which Haworth’s never really kept up, led to the shop’s decline. Haworth’s was eventually sold in 1984, falling between two stools in terms of its size – it was neither big enough as a department store nor small enough to maintain trade as a local specialist retailer.

With the prospect of an ever-bigger shopping centre at the heart of Rochdale and the rise of on-line shopping, it could be said that the days of the independent family store are over. That might be the case, only the names remaining of a town with ‘local shops for local people,’ a phrase that has sadly become only a sit-com joke. However, let’s hope for distinctiveness, style and shops that reach out to Rochdale with our future new shopping centre. .

Leave a Comment