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Rackhams Store

oldMohawk

master brummie
This is the Rackhams I remember, lovely old shop, always seemed slightly upmarket - at least to me.
I also remember the phrase 'Meet you at the Back of Rackhams' had certain meanings years ago !
 
B

BernardR

Guest
That was a lovely looking place both inside and out. I seem to recall my Mom using it to buy haberdashery. As a kid I was fascinated by the overhead money system.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dennis
Rackham's seem to have first appeared between 1880 and 1882 , when Rackham & Matthews , drapers, seem to have taken over the building on the corner of bull St, formerly a wholesale drapers, Wilkinson & Riddell. Arthur would have been about 15 then, so, unless he was extraordinarily precocious, i doubt if he began the Rackham's dynasty
mike
 

paul stacey

master brummie
does anyone remember the wire pullys and schuttles that used to wizz round over your head I would stand entranced with this money system later they went to tubes with air gushing out marvelous.
 

Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
does anyone remember the wire pullys and schuttles that used to wizz round over your head I would stand entranced with this money system later they went to tubes with air gushing out marvelous.
Oh yes. Perks' the Grocers had them in Stechford. You may be interested to know that a bigger ( and expensive) version of the vacuum tube transport system of old, a la Lewis's, is now used by George Eliot Hospital Pathology labs to shoot bloods and stuff from Ward areas to the Haematology reception areas...occasionally...when it works. Cough cough...
 

Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
More pics and info on Rackhams confirming Mike's dissertation on origins and history. From 'Birmingham Shops And Shopping' by Peter Drake & Andrew Maxam
 

Aidan

master brummie
Lamson System - did Rackhams have this wire system or the vacuum variant? Interesting either way and horrifying reminder that rationing was still in force in 1950 as shown in one of the many signs in the CWS pictured.
 
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mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
incidently, I can't give you info on which system was at Rackhams, but you might be interested to know that there is a "modern" Lamson system still in use at Reading ( https://www.ids.u-net.com/cash/jacksons.htm ). By coincidence the picture below was taken last week
Mike

 
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Aidan

master brummie
Thanks for the view of the Lamson system - I think the bigger shops must have used vacuum. I think modern supermarkets have a similar system.
 
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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Apparently Rackhams acquired its name from one of its original floor walkers, John Rackham, who joined the Wilkinson & Riddel textile firm in 1861. By 1881 he joined forces with his colleague, William Matthews, to take over the retail side of the Bull Street shop which was renamed Rackhams and Matthews. The store was later sold on to businessman Charles Richards, but Rackham remained with the company - which was then known as Rackhams and Co - until 1896. Viv
 
W

Wendy

Guest
Thanks Viv I didn't know the connection with Wilkinson & Riddel. My brother worked there in the 60's. I have a book on the history of the company from 1851 to 1951. I will have to look if there is any reference to John Rackham.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
In the 1950's I used to walk past the Back of Rackhams to one of my favourite shops which can be seen on the corner of Temple Row/Cherry Street in this 1946 photo.

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Carolyn h

Brummie babby
did anyone work for Rackhams in 1971. I started work there on their buyer course which meant a day release at Matthew Boulton college. For the first year we worked in 4 different departments and then at the end if the year you wrote down which one you would like to work in. My first dept was fashion accessories on the ground floor, then handbags, children's wear and Coats. I asked to go back to fashion accessories but I got Stationary instead. This turned out to be a lovely department to work in especially at Christmas time. Can't remember full names of the girls I Started with but one was Jennifer Collins, Lesley and Maggie.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
This mural was produced for the Lilac Tree Restaurant in Rackhams in the 1960s. I don't personally remember it having never been in the restaurant. Wonder if it survived the store’s many internal changes since the 60s ? Viv.

image.jpeg

image.jpeg
 

Lady Penelope

master brummie
Viv, I don't think I ever went to the restaurant when it was the Lilac Tree (we usually went to the Orange Room at Kean & Scotts) however, because you can always get a table, we very often go now when we're in the city but it's looking very tired and dated. There's no sign of the mural as far as I know. They've re-vamped their Sutton store so maybe they'll be doing the same with the city one. Perhaps the mural will be re-instated (just waving to the pigs as they fly past...).
 
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