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Lewis's

michaelwicks54

Aston bred & proud.
I travelled a section of Macy’s escalator in 1981. Found this 15 min trip up and down on YouTube.

Thank you for sharing that video Pedrocut. I would have had loads of fun on these when I was a lad. We only had 5 floors at lewis's, but these just keep going. It could so easily have been Lewis's as they looked exactly the same lay out. I wonder who had them first, then maybe they were copied.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
The other thing about these escalators is that they were narrower than the modern ones, I remember being very aware how they seemed to be almost claustrophobic, because there was not the space there.
Bob
 

Niqs

New Member
I remember Lewis's well and can also remember the smell of the fresh food area.
They always had a great Father Christmas grotto for the kids too.
I remember Lewiss with fond memories too. As a 70s baby, Lewis's was a staple visit on a Saturday with my mum. My dad worked in the fabric department, as a manager, the first black man ever to have such an accolade. ( he was well known in our community as ‘ the black man that worked in Lewis’s lol) black people used to go in there to make sure he wasnt a myth. He Evenutally ended up working on the Aramis counters, (we had lots of samples at home-can still smell it now) i loved the Santas Grotto too, still have the pics to prove it. My mum was an avid seamstress we visited the haberdashery department - what felt like every blessed week, but i did enjoy going through the boxes of Buttericks and McCalls clothing patterns.10yrs later my mum worked in the beauty department for Zuri cosmetics, another first. Zuri were the first make up brand for women of colour. I remember the childrens department and buying school shoes. Lewis’s will always have a fond place in my heart as a very inclusive store with happy memories, in a time when the rest of the world was not so kind, to folk like us.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Welcome Niqs. You’re joining a big Lewis’s fan club on BHF ! So many of us have fond memories of the store. Lovely to hear about your family connection.

And Aramis - once smelt never forgotten ! Very strong stuff.

Viv.
 

Robert Ensor (bob)

master brummie
I remember Lewiss with fond memories too. As a 70s baby, Lewis's was a staple visit on a Saturday with my mum. My dad worked in the fabric department, as a manager, the first black man ever to have such an accolade. ( he was well known in our community as ‘ the black man that worked in Lewis’s lol) black people used to go in there to make sure he wasnt a myth. He Evenutally ended up working on the Aramis counters, (we had lots of samples at home-can still smell it now) i loved the Santas Grotto too, still have the pics to prove it. My mum was an avid seamstress we visited the haberdashery department - what felt like every blessed week, but i did enjoy going through the boxes of Buttericks and McCalls clothing patterns.10yrs later my mum worked in the beauty department for Zuri cosmetics, another first. Zuri were the first make up brand for women of colour. I remember the childrens department and buying school shoes. Lewis’s will always have a fond place in my heart as a very inclusive store with happy memories, in a time when the rest of the world was not so kind, to folk like us.
Lovely story please post more, your folks have a wealth of history that would be welcomed here on BHF
May sound strange for some today that your dad had people come by to see if it was true a person of colour worked in Lewis,s.
Welcome and thanks for sharing a little of your family history.
 

wendylee

master brummie
I remember Lewiss with fond memories too. As a 70s baby, Lewis's was a staple visit on a Saturday with my mum. My dad worked in the fabric department, as a manager, the first black man ever to have such an accolade. ( he was well known in our community as ‘ the black man that worked in Lewis’s lol) black people used to go in there to make sure he wasnt a myth. He Evenutally ended up working on the Aramis counters, (we had lots of samples at home-can still smell it now) i loved the Santas Grotto too, still have the pics to prove it. My mum was an avid seamstress we visited the haberdashery department - what felt like every blessed week, but i did enjoy going through the boxes of Buttericks and McCalls clothing patterns.10yrs later my mum worked in the beauty department for Zuri cosmetics, another first. Zuri were the first make up brand for women of colour. I remember the childrens department and buying school shoes. Lewis’s will always have a fond place in my heart as a very inclusive store with happy memories, in a time when the rest of the world was not so kind, to folk like us.
Love that story Niqs, loved the big department stores, shame they are disappearing so much is sold online...I never shop online!!
I bought my husband a bottle of Aramis at Christmas he wore it when we were courting 50 years ago, thought I would get him to give it another whirl.
Fond memories of Lewis's for me too, thanks for telling us your memories Niqs. Welcome to the forum .
Wendy:)
 

michaelwicks54

Aston bred & proud.
Thanks Viv. Made my day finding this forum. Been chatting all eve about those days with my mum too.. Great times
Welcome to the forum Niqs. I too have very fond memories of going to Lewis's. It was my favorite department store in birmingham even though I loved working at woolworth's in the bullring. I spent many happy hours going up the wooden escalators to the 5th floor (toy department) especially when they had the animal corner.
 

Barry Worrall

Brummie babby
Lewis's store

Hi All,
it was great reading about Lewis's department store, I worked there from about 1957 to 1965,Starting on the Luggage department under Mr Smith in "A" block ending up as assistant Manager on the Do It Yourself Dept under Paul Whitfield in "B" block. During my training I worked for Miss Carter on the China Dept, but most of my time was spent on the Gardening Dept which Mr John Smith also managed. I also did some part time lift driving when the gardening dept wasn't busy around christmas time, I had to run the express lift from the 5th floor toy department down to the ground floor to help clear the crowds. I used to put the lights out and fly back up from the ground non stop much to the disgust of people waiting on the other floors when I stopped on the 5th and opened the gates you nearly got killed in the stampede. I stood outside untill the rush died down, then you had to put a few of the people off because they had left no room to operate the car or to shut the gates. You put the handle over and the car dropped like a stone, and as you applied the brake as you passed the first floor everyone went ooohhh, as the hung onto their stomachs, I used to say "Hope you've got strong elastic ladies" and laugh. I remember taking my lift driving test and it was one of the engineers who tested me John I think, some times Mr Stokes the chief engineer used to pass you out and give you your licence which I still have. I was always facinated by the lifts and when I first started I used to get on well with the 2 lady lift drivers on the "A" block side, Mrs Batchelor and Mrs Attenborough, (Batch & Atty) we called them, and they used to let me have a go and I stood behind them and operated the car so that Frank Wilson the supervisor couldn't see me, Albert the staff lift driver was always a bit rude and miserable to most people. Joe the senior driver on the "B" block was a character always laughing and joking. Originally I had the lift driving licence because I had to stop behind at night when I was on the gardening dept and take the plants up to a small roof area (not the main roof) and give them a watering and bring them down in the morning before the store opened. I remember having to take a load of counters up to the 6th floor with the porter before the General Managers inpection ( Mr Mountford I think) and the lift was full of them, as I passed the 5th floor I went to half speed, nothing happened, then shut off nothing happened much, it only slowed slightly, thankfully we were carrying some weight which slowed us down, then crash we hit the roof of the shaft, it was like being on a ship wreck, counters all over the place, the car bounced down to half way between the 5th and 6th floors, so I just touched the handle over and the car drifted to the 6th and we got out and went back down in another car and reported the fault to the engineers. The Assistant General Manager was Mr Andrews, he was a gent and I got on very well with him. Mr Cashin was the basement Floor Manager, he helped me a lot to further my career, Mr Smith Gardening and Luggage Manager, Mr Leamington Paint & Wall, paper, Mr Hogg Turnery, Mr England tools, Mr T*** was the Assistant Manager on the luggage, I didn't get on very well with him, today he would be accused of being a bully. Mr Goldsmith was the Counting house Manager, always looked a bit miserable, Mr Harris personnel Manager, Miss Hill Personnel, Mr Newcombe parcels delivery office, Mr Fields House Superintendant, Miss Carter China, Miss Irving cash office, Was it Mr Proudfoot in charge of the receiving room ? Then you had all the part time firemen who did the portering and supplemented the lift driving staff, Ginger Jones, Scooter Coombs, leading fireman Bill Carrington lived out towards Sutton. I met my wife there, she was a "Mobile" ( had to work wherever there was a shortage of staff) she was only 5ft and 1/2 inch and is, now 4foot 11 plus, and couldn't reach the big brown tills on the gardening dept so I got her a daffodil crate to stand on, and we got told off because someone reported us for having a kiss and canoodle in our lunch break on the roof.Miss ? and Lynne were in staff training. Joe Carney wrote the display tickets out free hand with a paint brush. Stan & Horace were 2 of the comissionaires. Len Ashman operated the paper and cardboard press in the sub basement somewhere by the clocking in clocks. Fred ? was in the part where you had to hand in your parcels and bags etc', The Luggage department stock room was part of the old lampson tube room, and the tubes were just cut off clean to the wall.They were good days I used to go on day release and night school to get my certificates, and then I left and went into a factory for a couple of years to get some money for a deposit on a house and get married. Remember the Tyburn Depot in Eachelhurst Road, Mr Sydney Lemmon on the despatch (Pronounced Le Mon not as the fruit)
and the Furniture Depository in Hockley.
I Must stop there probably finish off in another posting, that is if you are not fed up already
Regards Chris B
Hello Chris,
Do you ever remember a Gladys Marjorie Davis working in one of the clothes departments.I can elaborate but just wondered if the name rang a bell at all.I always remember Lewis's store like so many other people.It was my favourite store especially with the expectation of the toy store absolutely my favourite store and I couldn't wait to get to the 5th floor when we were in the lift.I was born in 1950 so remember late 50s early sixties the most.

Best regards,

Barry
 
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