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Gunners Drapers Store

A Memory of Tonbridge.

In 1978 I had my first Saturday job at Gunners in Tonbridge (on the corner of Lyons Crescent and the High Street - now Parkers Kitchens and Bathrooms, with the original building gone).

Gunners was a very old-fashioned drapers store and I was to assist a Mrs Reddy (lovely lady) on the haberdashery stand - which was a glass counter, full of wooden pull-out drawers of buttons, zips and threads; I have vague memories of having to tidy them regularly.

And there was a wonderful very English, no-nonsense "stiff-upper lip" lady who also worked there - she must have been in her late 50s/early 60s and was always very smartly turned out, and always in heavy black brocade tight fitting 1950s style dress with matching jacket - which contrasted drastically with the very white powder applied liberally but carefully to her face and her bright red lipstick. At break times, after tea, she used to sit, re-painting her lips and say, with her very English accent, things like "Oh, Americans are terrible, they just can't spell you know!"

Does anyone out there know or remember anything about the wonderful "Mrs Stern"? Or indeed, the General Manager of the store who I recall vaguely was a suited, bald, bespectacled man in his late 50's/early 60's?

And does anyone have a photo - especially a colour one - of the front of the store?

It would be good to hear about any memories of Gunners in the late 1970s...

A memory of Tonbridge

Added 15 December 2020


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