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Lewis's

michaelwicks54

Aston bred & proud.
Hi Just thought that I would share my memories of Lewis’s. I worked in the Food Hall around 1975-1976. I as Asst Manager on Cheese, Groceries and the Bread/cakes. We sold over 100 different varieties of breads and every Saturday there would be queues for the ring donuts that came fresh from Bradfords at West Brom. We would sell easily 2000 in a day. i remember that a we had fresh hot bread come in from Bradford’s on Sat p.m. bread that was actually made as Mondays bread buy we had it special. During that relay hot Summer of ‘76 we sold cold drinks in Minories, from bins and buckets filled with ice. We used to sell all sorts special offer groceries in the Minories to passers by..especially popular was tins of red Salmon..a real Sunday treat.

Lewis’s had a fabulous Deli counter staffed by a polish lady, it was far better than snooty Rackhams.

The food Hall used t have loose, self service, frozen foods - like pies and veg. This is coming into fashion 50 years to save on packaging!

Who remembers the loose biscuit counter with those wonderful Mrs. Kippax’s biscuits?

Ands who couldn’t forget the loose sweet counter where sold mountains of chocolate hazelnut whirls, Callard and Bowsers cream-line toffees and Mintoes too.

Happy days and a brilliant store to work in.
Hello Malcbroms. Welcome to this wonderful group. I remember the wonderful food hall in Lewis's. My mum used to take me every saturday. She loved going there. She said you could always smell the fresh bread & cakes, & no matter if you had, had something to eat before going to lewis's, you always felt hungry after going in the food hall. It was simply the best place to go. While my mum was in the food hall, I was often allowed to venture up to the 5th floor (toy department, where I would wait for my mum. Such, happy, happy time, I will never forget. Pity we had to lose this wonderful store. Visiting Birmingham, just isn't the same any more.
 

Gerry Cannell

master brummie
All this talk about Bradford's bread of West Brom, makes me hungry. I used to spend hours in Wimbush's, Perrywood Road, in Great Barr.....I loved their cakes, but I was going out with a lovely young lady that worked there too! By the way, for those that don't know, Bradfords Bakery/Sunblest was directly opposite the West Brom Football Ground, a Bakery (Allied) is still on that site.
 

MalcBroms

New Member
welcome to the forum what lovely memories you have...thanks for sharing them...the summer of 76 is a summer i will never forget...have to say though that back then i was a lot younger and heat did not bother me so much as it would now....

lyn
In 1977 after two great years at Lewis’s I defected to Debenhams across the road. I ran the confectionery dept there to start with.The first thing that i did was get the window displays taken away so that potential customers waiting at the bus stops could see my offers. I was in competition with my old boss in Lewis’s..if he sold an item at 99p, I did it for 98p and so on.

Whilst at Lewis’s I remember a few times chasing after shoplifters!! I stopped one man in the middle of Bull Street and in the struggle I tore the arm off his jacket!! Do people remember those black globes that hung from the ceiling that were security cameras? From the security office you could zoom in on someone to the extent that you could read the print on a newspaper!! A guy named Jim Whitham was the chief of security and he was a sharp cookie...he knew who the staff were that he through were thieves...and he warned them that he was watching them.

My manager used to slip across the road to the pub ( by Oasis ) for a quick one at 10.30 every day! One Christmas Eve he was somewhat bevvied and went home on the bus. The following morning his wife thought that their car had been stolen but my manager had forgotten that he’d driven into work on Christmas Eve and the car was still in the car park!!

A sad day for Birmingham and the other cities where Lewis’s traded when it closed down. Truly great Brummies and Midlanders ran that store, we were truly one big family.
 

bullring boy

master brummie
I loved going to Lewis's in the late fifties and early sixties when I was a kid because it had a toy department. I used to have to trail after my mum buying dress patterns and material first but it was worth the wait. Do you remember how they used to measure out the material and cut it? That always intrigued me. And the rolls of material had a special smell. I was allowed to wander around the toy department dreaming of all the toys that I could play with. If I'd been good then I'd get sixpence to buy a little cowboy or indian. As I grew I got a bit more sophisticated- an Airfix model at one shilling and eleven pence.

The three other memories I have of Lewis's are the lifts- with their very own lift attendants "going up...."- although I preferred to take the "moving stairs"; having tea and a cake in the cafe -utter luxury and wonderful views over the city- all chimneys and railway lines- real "industry"; but most of all queuing on the staircase each December to see Father Christmas on the top floor. There were so many of us we queued for ages. Then it was in to the grotto with the marionettes, then Uncle Holly, who I think gave us a badge, then Father Christmas himself before going to the distribution point for the present- blue tissue paper for the boys, pink tissue paper for the girls. A big moment in my year!
 

Bobbygee

knowlegable brummie
I loved going to Lewis's in the late fifties and early sixties when I was a kid because it had a toy department. I used to have to trail after my mum buying dress patterns and material first but it was worth the wait. Do you remember how they used to measure out the material and cut it? That always intrigued me. And the rolls of material had a special smell. I was allowed to wander around the toy department dreaming of all the toys that I could play with. If I'd been good then I'd get sixpence to buy a little cowboy or indian. As I grew I got a bit more sophisticated- an Airfix model at one shilling and eleven pence.

The three other memories I have of Lewis's are the lifts- with their very own lift attendants "going up...."- although I preferred to take the "moving stairs"; having tea and a cake in the cafe -utter luxury and wonderful views over the city- all chimneys and railway lines- real "industry"; but most of all queuing on the staircase each December to see Father Christmas on the top floor. There were so many of us we queued for ages. Then it was in to the grotto with the marionettes, then Uncle Holly, who I think gave us a badge, then Father Christmas himself before going to the distribution point for the present- blue tissue paper for the boys, pink tissue paper for the girls. A big moment in my year!
In the mid sixties I had a Saturday job at Lewis's. I moved around different departments, but ended up as a lift attendant. I think that I was the only Saturday attendant. All of the others were full time. When I started on the lifts they put me on the staff and goods lift. It was the creakiest of all the lifts and the cable was a bit stretched. When I put the break on hard the lift would bounce up and down for a few seconds. I thought this was great at first. It was like being on a fairground ride. But, having done this all day, by about mid-afternoon, I felt as sick as a dog. From then on I used to ease the break on. I was eventually promoted to the public lifts, where I had to learn the various departments patter. "...first floor ladies wear; second floor paper pattern; across and down on...etc. I'm sure nobody took a blind bit of notice, but I did it anyway. I met my first love at Lewis's when I was on the sausage and pork pie counter. She was on the cheese counter. After work we would go to the Kardomah in New Street, both smelling like a sweaty grocers shop. Happy days.
 

Maria Magenta

master brummie
Really happy times. I remember Mom & me during the war, we would travel from Great Barr on the 119, Midland RED into town, and to me, Lewis's was a magical place. A zoo, toys, a roof garden, Father Christmas, a barbers shop, Everything you could ever want! I loved it.
I do wish I could remember the roof garden - and the lifts!

I remember the Corocraft (jewellery) counter, and the strange way you never quite knew what you were going to find around the next corner , or that's how it seemed to me. It was almost magical the way bits of the building linked up.
 

Jayell

master brummie
My auntie, Evelyn Hanson, who was very glamorous worked on the Cosmetics counter before the war, leaving to do War work. I loved Lewis's but getting stuck in the lifts as a child has given me a phobia of lifts to this day. There were two lifts with glass sides going up in the same shaft. I don't remember how old I was (probably around 7) but the lift I was in was packed and then got stuck near the 6th floor, between floors. I was squashed in the corner and all I could see was the drop down the shaft. A frightening experience for a little child.
 

Arnold Mason

master brummie
My memory of Lewis's was in about 1948/9 when I was about 5 or 6 and my Dad took me to see father christmas at Lewis's on a Sat morning. The queue was out side the shop and along the pavement and we joined on to the end. After a while when the queue moved up my Dad realised the the queue actually continued across the road and a long way along the other pavement. We sat tight! It was still a long wait walking up the stairs (4 floors?). Christmas isn't the same any more.

Regards from Redruth

Arnold
 
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