Suters Department Store

A Memory of Uxbridge.

If you enlarge this picture you can see the letter ERS on the white building behind St Margarets. This was Suters, a family owned department store, built very much in the art deco style and the retail flagship of Uxbridge High Street. As a small boy all my clothes were purchased there. Shoes too. Purchasing shoes then was not the casual shelf-browsing do-it-yourself process that it is now. You described what you wanted and the assistant would bring out a selection. When you found what you wanted your foot was placed on a sliding measure to find the correct size. To make doubly sure the fit was correct they had an x-ray machine in which you placed your feet and peered through a binocular-like viewer. So you saw the bones and everything. The health authorities of today would have had a blue fit!!
My aunt had a Saturday job there on the haberdashery counter. Her particular responsibility being gloves and handkerchieves. Gloves were then a must-have even in the summer when no smart young lady was without a pair of white lacey gloves with a frill around the wrist for Sunday best. Linen handkerchiefs, large for men and ridiculously small and impractical for ladies were also much purchased items in these days before tissues became common.
There were no cash registers on the counters. There was a system of pneumatic pipes leading from each counter or department to the central register. The assistant wrote the article number and price on slip and this together with the payment was placed in a metal canister which was again placed in a slot in the tube. A button was pressed which sent the canister wooshing across the pipes under the ceiling to the central office. After a couple of minutes another woosh and clatter announced the return of the canister with the customers receipt and change. Call me old fashioned if you like but I still think think this was a genial invention as it relieved the floor assistant from time consuming responsibilities of balancing the till at the end of the day and at the same time was a security for the management against dishonest employees. It was also time efficient as they could start serving the next customer while the canister was being processed.
Suters also had an entrance from the back in Bakers Yard which was then the main bus terminal .

With thanks to Philip Cousins for this memory of Uxbridge

Added 25 October 2012


Comments & Feedback

I remember Suiters it had three floors but the middle was missing so you could see right up to the top,and the lift had no back or front just brick walls very in safe by today's standards,but good fun for us .
I was a curtain maker in 1966 for awhile at Suters spelt without the i, and made some curtains for chequers, I then became a curtain maker for Randalls in Vine st,. for about 18 months, which has now sadly closed
I remember the pneumatic tubes for the payments. I also remember that the lift was operated by an old boy with one arm, a veteran of WW1. Later in the 60s I got my clothes for Vyners School from there, one of only two places authorised to sell the school uniform, the other being Altons in Ruislip.

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