I missed a training event last year called London’s Lost Department Stores. It made me reflect on this type of shopping where you could purchase anything from kitchenware to bolts of fabric within one shop. You’ll see below a photo of Selfridges, where my elder sister worked on the Estee Lauder perfume and make-up counter when she was sixteen. 

I also held a job in a department store as a Saturday girl, where I would answer the telephone using the memorable phrase ‘Good morning, Hawes of Morden.’ It will come as no surprise to learn that I had to field many calls asking how much are you charging today, love?

It occurred to me that many families in retail held rather unusual names. I did a little research and came up with the following:

E Dingle & Co, Plymouth

Bodgers of Ilford

H Binns, Son & Co, Sunderland

Pratts of Streatham

Shinners Department Store, Sutton

Would you like to write a piece of fiction or poetry using one of these names for inspiration? Alternatively, use your experience of department store shopping to develop a story.


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