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Locations - Berkshire

 

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Reading: Jacksons

Shops

NEWBURY. Camp Hopsons. "The most spacious shop premises in Newbury at that time were Camp Hopson's who covered everything from haberdashery through men's and women's tailoring to carpets, upholstery and removals (They still do.).... In several of the departments there were 'overhead railways' which carried cash and bills from the counters to the central cashier's office at the back. When a purchase was made, the bill and cash were put by the shop assistant into a screw-top container about as big as two fists, made to run along an overhead wire. This was then 'fired': a spring was released, the head of which struck the container and impelled it hard along the wire. It fairly flew off on its course, with a characteristic swishing noise which I can hear now, and you could watch its flight to the cashier's - a good, long way, too. Then, after a brief interval, it would return with the receipted bill and the change, arriving back with a loud 'ping' and a sudden stop. Sometimes there might be as many as four of these containers in flight at once." Richard Adams. The day gone by: an autobiography. (London: Hutchinson, 1990, p. 85)

NEWBURY. Alfred Jackson, Market Place. "Immense saving of time through our cash railway." Newbury Weekly News, 16 Dec. 1886, p. 1. (Alfred Jackson was a brother of Edward Jackson of Reading.)

READING. Burtons, Broad Street. Pneumatic tube system in 1960s to send the money upstairs. John Boy in posting to Reading Forum 3/8/11

READING. Colebrooks (fishmongers). "Colebrooks, that marvellous Fishmongers between Heelas and Debenhams had a lady wot sat at the end in a little office - I thought she was great, because the men all just yelled the prices at her as you were served!"   Piwaket in posting to Reading Forum, 17/11/09. (Possibly separate cashier but no cash carrier?)

READING. Edmonds, Butts Centre. Pneumatic tube system in 1970s. Entomokolo in posting to Reading Forum, 17/11/09

READING. Hedgecocks (drapers). Wire system in 1920s. "The extraordinary overhead railway system." Roger Searing. Down memory lane: Reading between the wars. Newbury: Countryside Books, 1985, p.13

READING. Heelas, Sons and Co., Minster Street. "Wanted a Young Lady as Clerk and Cashier, one .. accustomed to the Cash Railway system preferred."Reading Observer, 2 Sep. 1893. Shop is now John Lewis.

READING. Jacksons outfitters, 1-9 Kings Road. Lamson pneumatic tube system with nine Pneu Art stations. One of the last pneumatic tube systems in Britain to be used for giving change.
Originally there was a wire system on the ground floor. In the 1940s a pneumatic tube system was installed with two stations discharging into wire baskets. In 1959-60 the shop was enlarged and the tube system was enlarged to nine PneuArt stations. Thomas Macey.
• Seven photographs in the history of the shop by Macey. There are a short and a longer video on YouTube and a Video of BBC News item on the BBC website. It is referred to in the novel One night stand by Julie Cohen. It was featured on the BBC Television One Show on 27 May 2013 and was used to film an episode of Endeavour which was broadcast on ITV on 13 April 2014. The shop closed on Christmas Eve, 2013. Part of the system was retained by Jacksons' archivist (some now in Reading Museum - see below) and part by Robin Adcroft, the engineer who maintained the system. Wikipedia article

READING. Jenkins (hardware), Oxford Road. "Certainly at one time so did Jenkins (that other long-gone jewel-in-our-crown)." Piwaket in posting to Reading Forum, 17/11/09.

READING. Langstons, corner of West Street and Friar Street. Wire system. (Talk at Wargrave Local History Society, November 1998 and Les in posting to Reading Forum 26/5/11)

READING. Milwards, Broad Street. "Milwards in Broad St certainly had an overhead cash conveyor from the childrens' dept via an open panel over the top of the cash office door. Big treat was to pull the handle which sent off the container." Entomokolo in posting to Reading Forum, 17/11/09
• "They unscrewed the bottle, put your money in, screwed it onto a hanger on the line, pulled something like a toilet chain and the bottle shot off like a rocket, with a swishing of lines and swinging gaily .. from side to side and in through a hole in the bookeeper's office at the far end of the shop. The receipt soon returning the same way. I could not wait for my next pair of shoes!" Malcolm in posting to Reading Forum, 28/2/03

READING. H.J. Tutty, 53 London Street. Wire system up to 1970s. Jacksons

READING. Virgin Megastore. "When Virgin Megastore opened, they too (strangely) had a pneumatic railway, but only used for decoration rather than cash. Only on the ground floor though?" Riverside in posting to Reading Forum, 17/11/09. (Maybe a modern plastic system?)

READING. Wolfe and Hollanders. "There was another one in Reading at Wolfe and Hollanders." Waddy in posting to Reading Forum, 8/1/14

WALLINGFORD, Berks. Field Hawkins and Ponking. "The shop assistants at Field Hawkins and Ponking, the drapers in Wallingford, where your money whizzed in a little container on a wire across the shop to the cashier and back with your change." Desmond Fitzgerald. Many parts: the life and travels of a soldier, engineer and arbitrator in Africa and beyond. (London: Radcliffe, 2007) p. 77

WINDSOR. W.J.Daniel (small dept store) 120 Peascod Street.Wire system. "In 1924 .. they started their overhead Shuttle system to get their money to the cash office." Daniel Stores website. System still there in 1950s, on ground floor only. (Giles Barnabe)

WINDSOR. Suiters (drapers) St Leonard's Road. Shop was originally Greenfields, then Suiters, then Butlers (Beryl Mann in posting to Royal Windsor Forum, 18/6/10). Wire system in 1950s (Giles Barnabe). Photo of exterior following fire on New Year's night, 1964 at Royal Windsor website.

Museums

READING. Museum. One pneumatic tube terminal and two carriers from the Jacksons system on display. Reading Museum website

star indicates systems which are still there (as far as I know) though they may not be working.