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Lewis's

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
Welcome to the site Daremic.........Great story about the ice cream cones. Nice boss Mr. Braine, giving you both a tip but as he must have been doing well with the machines in the store I expect he could afford it. Unlike many bosses Mr. Braine shared his profits with his employees.

I didn't realize that there were other places in Lewis's where they had ice cream machines other than the basement. My mother loved the cones and when I was with her alone shopping(I had two brothers) she would go to the basement immnediately we arrived at the store and buy a cone for each of us. They were 4d then and this must have been in the early l950's. I can remember one day she bought us two each...must have had a few extra coppers that day! I often had to sit in the Pattern Department on those high stools whilst she went through all the Pattern Books and then looked for material and I was rewarded for being patient.
 

dennis

master brummie
Was on loan to Lewis's maintaince dept,
you should have seen the cash that we found
when we moved the various counters around when altering the
various department's
 

dennis

master brummie
Does anyone remember the Lewis's staff outing
we went on to Blackpool,in a broken down old Charabanc,
windows missing,caught in fog got back early next morning
 

arealpal

knowlegable brummie
The Minories

Hi Everybody
Does anyone know the name of the restaurant that was located at the end of the minories about 50 years ago.
 

Anne Jessel

master brummie
Lewis's and the Like

When I was old enough to ride my bike away from home, my best friend and I used to ride a circuit from West Bromwich, through Oldbury, and somehow end up on the Wolverhampton Road, through Quinton, and keep going until we got to Snowhill. We parked up our bikes outside Lewis's and went inside. We were fascinated by the escalators and the lifts, so up we went, down we came, up we went, and down we came and after the umpteeneth time, the lift manager told us he'd seen enough of us and would we vacate the building. No harm done just having exciting rides up and down.
Feeling like villains of the peace, we jumped on our bikes and rode back to West Bromwich along the Birmingham Road. I cannot believe we used to do that ride today. Our parents would have had a fit, or would they? We were making our own entertainment, lots of fresh??air and excercise in a very innocent manner. I remember it as if it were yesterday.
As I got older then Lewis's was frequented by me on a regular basis - often wondering if I'd get recognised!!
Also - what about the Kardoma opposite the Station for a quick frothy coffee, AND Lyons Corner House being waited on by pretty blackfrocks and white frilled waitress's in , serving us those delicious Kunzle cakes and pots of tea with milk IN JUGS. I had my mother or father for company then
All very English and lovely
 
P

peanut

Guest
did you ever go up to the roof garden of lewis's ?
they had the Austin pedle cars up there on a small road layout
amongst the garden.
 
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Anne Jessel

master brummie
Peddle Cars

Goodness NO I didn't. Do you mean my friend and I (see the first post on this forum) missed out a floor? AND peddle cars?
On my later shopping trips when I could behave , Lewis's served me well, inevitably they always had what I wanted.
How is it looking these days? I hope it is still there and not gone, or been taken over. If so, has the facade changed?
Lewis's to me is very much a part of Birmingham
 

Anne Jessel

master brummie
Lewis Catch Up

Being new Oisin has directed me to here after starting a thread "Lewis and the Like"....so.....there are more posts in there!
I'll enjoy catching up with these
 

sylviasayers

master brummie
Lewis's and the like

Anne, sorry to report that Lewis's is no more. It has been turned into a court mostly dealing with family, probate matters and the like. In the minories there are about 8 small shops, cafes etc., but they don't seem to be doing too well. On the ground floor, Corporation Street side there is a pub.
 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
Anne, here's a link with a couple of photos of Lewis's on it. It has many other photos of Brum places...As they were and as they are now if they have survived. https://www.virtualbrum.co.uk/corpst.htm

I did read somewhere a couple of years ago that a businessman was interested in purchasing the site, pulling down the buildings and
building...well...I'm not sure what.
 

Anne Jessel

master brummie
Pictures of Lewis's

Jenniann and Sylvia,
Oh what a shame - all those memories I have. Memories are always powerful enough to penetrate through deriliction, concrete jungles, and CHANGES.
Lewis's brought me a lot of fun, pleasure and shopping.
It's what they call progress I suppose.
The pictures brought everything back as if it was yesterday.
Never mind eh?
 

sylvia

proper brummie kid
I used to work at Lewis's in the early 1960's in the Counting House on the sixth floor. At the annual stocktaking as soon as the store closed the managers of all the departments had to do a stocktake and bring their figures up to be collated. There was a competition among the stores to be the first to phone through a final figure to Liverpool, you can imagine the scramble to finish. The best part was we were treated to a lovely meal in the managers dining room and sent home when finished by taxi usually in the early hours of the morning. I was sorry to see the store had gone when I visited Birmingham
it was such a landmark..
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Lewis's, its Toy Department and Hornby Trains

I think that it was Lewis’s which provided me with one of my very earliest memories.

Christmas, either 1938 or 1939. I am lifted up off the floor in order to view at eye level a vista which seems to extend for ever: a wonderful display of ‘0’ Gauge Hornby Trains. An expanse of LMS red and GWR green, gleaming under the lights, all in movement, rattling and whirring past buildings and signals, clattering through tunnels and under bridges. A sight to gladden the heart of any small boy, and not a few grown up ones who are also crowding around the display. Somewhere else in the Toy Department, on the way out, there is another, smaller layout, a little silver, streamlined train whirring around and around on a small oval of track. Even to my wholly inexperienced eye, this is a poor effort compared with the Hornby. And after all, what in life could ever compare with Hornby?

I imagine the occasion was that of the purchase of my first train set, a red clockwork tank engine with two four-wheeled tinplate Pullman coaches and an oval of track. I have no recollection of the moment of its appearance but I loved it dearly (and still have what remains of it). Not long afterwards, Hornby, Dinky Toys and everything else disappeared totally from Lewis’s and every other shop (including a couple of other toyshops which I recall from that time: Barnby’s in a city centre arcade and Benson’s - wasn’t it? - in Erdington High Street, both of which, together with Lewis's, seemed to me to be the nearest approach to heaven which Birmingham had to offer). All one could do was drool over images in copies of ‘Meccano Magazine’ and accept resignedly the message contained in the regular advert which said something like “Boys and girls, the Meccano factory is busy making other things and cannot at the moment produce your favourite toys. But be patient, we shall be back….after the war”.

I was lucky in that my Lewis’s set was supplemented one Christmas morning by a wonderful cardboard box, brimming with second-hand track and rolling stock, its previous owner no doubt preoccupied at that moment with other matters, in North Africa or Burma or on the high seas. I often wondered who he was and what had happened to him. Gradually too I managed to get hold of my elder brother’s stuff after he himself had gone off to war. When I see the current values of such ancient bits and pieces, how I wish I had treated them all with greater care and reverence!

After 1945, and ever so gradually – for it took years – Hornby started to reappear in the shops. One was lucky to glimpse it before it sold out. The ‘0’ Gauge range was very limited, just clockwork and no electric, and one or two basic model lines with few of the pre-war treasures ever being resurrected. All the attention was on the newer electric Dublo ‘00’ range, again for several years like gold-dust even for those who could afford it – a shop would get a consignment, word would get around and the locusts would descend.

In those circumstances it seemed a hardly necessary promotional effort for Lewis’s Toy Department to host a further splendid display which by that time, the late 1940s, I was able to view with a more discerning eye. This was a landscaped layout using Dublo and was a representation of the railway system on the Isle of Wight. Around it buzzed a few examples of the only Southern Railways locomotive Hornby had at that time, an 0-6-2 tanker, each hauling two or three green SR carriages. But if you had wanted to buy any of the bits, they probably would not have been available and even if they were, the prices, relative to wages (or in my case pocket money), were eye-watering and beyond the reach of many.

It was a wonderful shop in many respects and I’m sorry to hear that it no longer exists.

Chris
 

Anne Jessel

master brummie
Trains and Lewis's

Chris, what a lot of info. just right for my son-in-law. I hope you don't mind, but I copied it and emailed it on to my son-in-law. He's mad about trains and in his spare time he's learning to drive trains! (He's an airtraffic controller at Heathrow!!!!)
They've just had an extension and part of it was to house his rail tracks.
Anyway back to Lewis's at Christmas. Please find attrachment. I'm on the left. My diving coaches took me there 'cause I'd "done a good training session!"
Lewis's was a great place at Christmas wasn't it? and we were as happy as we looked.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Trains and Lewis's

Anne....

No problem at all, in fact I'm honoured!

(Just tell him not to get too excited over it whilst he's on duty....)


Chris
 
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