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Locations - Co. Durham

 

Photographs

Beamish: Open Air Museum

Murton Co-op

 

Shops

The first Lamson system in the county was at Snowball & Son in Gateshead in January 1886. This was the year after Kelly became the London agent for the American company.

BILLINGHAM. Stockton Co-op, Branch 30, Belasis. "The Co-op was made up of several separate shops, the large corner shop was the general dealers, money was put into continers and sent on cables to an office which seemed to be up near the ceiling. I can still picture the cashier up in her little 'box' raking in all the takings." Stockton on Tees Local Photo Collection Online with photo of exterior.

BISHOP AUCKLAND. Co-op. Opened 14 July 1894. Pneumatic tube system by W. Kilburn of Bishop Auckland. Northern Echo, 26 Nov. 1897

BISHOP AUCKLAND. Doggarts, Market Place. "The much changed market place, dominated by Doggarts department store - where a minature railway of change dispensers whizzed wonderfully overhead." Northeast Food website . "Mr Doggart's grandson, Sandy, .. believes there may be pieces of the Lamson Paragon pneumatic tube payment system left in unused sections of the Bishop Auckland building." This is the North East website

BISHOP AUCKLAND. Wilkinsons, Newgate Street. 'Each till had a separate cable to the office, with a cash container attached,' says John [Heslop]. 'To us children, it seemed to work by magic!' Northern Echo website

BUTTERKNOWLE. Co-op. "The cash-carrying containers at Butterknowle were screwed onto a carriage which was then catapulted along the wires,” says Graham Redfearn of Bishop Auckland, whose father worked at the store from 1931 until it closed in 1968. “There were remnants of it left when the store closed, so perhaps the odd bit ended up at Beamish as one of the counters did.” Northern Echo website

CHESTER LE STREET, County House. "James Turnbull and Son are instructed to sell by public auction .. all the very valuable and extensive shop fittings, including .. cash overhead runaway [sic] complete. Sunderland Echo & Shipping Gazette, 13 Jan. 1939, p. 6

CONSETT. Doggarts. "That thing that used to take the money in Doggarts. The assistant would put the payment in and it would go whizzin' off somewhere and come back with the change.""Roxmar" posting to Consett and Derwentside Online Community, 23 Oct. 2005

COXHOE. Co-op. "We went to the Co-op, and I believe I was told Uncle Sid was manager. I had never been in such a big shop, as it was pretty rural at home. What I was in awe of,  was the fact that the cashier sat in a small glass office, and counter assistants wrote bills and took money,  and
then put both into metal canisters.  The canisters were screwed up onto an overhead wire, and then when a handle was pulled they flew through the air over our heads to the little office.  The lady in the glass box dealt with the bill, and put any change back in the canister with receipt stamped paid, and they then flew back to the right place." Coxhoe Local History Group website

CROOK. Co-op. Cash Ball system, rescued from a loft and now in Beamish Museum. The Museum

DARLINGTON. Binns. 1930s building. Acquired by House of Fraser in 1950s. "The pneumatic chute till system was a marvel to see in its day when customers' money went back and forth to a central cash desk out of sight." Darlington Heritage Trail guide

DARLINGTON. Co-op, Victoria Road. Photograph of grocery department with three Rapid Wire propulsions in Morrison.

DARLINGTON. Co-op, Priestgate. Peter Tarn in Forcett remembers seeing one in the Priestgate Co-op before it was converted to pneumatic ways in 1957. “The cashier was located in an elevated wooden “pulpit”, which had a series of steel wires radiating from it,” he says, evocatively. “The far end of each wire was attached to a “launcher”, which was located just above each sales counter. A chain and handle, which looked just like a lavatory chain, hung from each launcher. The chain was pulled by the sales assistant to send the cash and bill in a small wheeled bogie up to the cashier in the pulpit.
“The little bogie had to travel uphill to the pulpit, and the energy required to achieve this, in defiance of Newtonian laws, was provided by the assistant’s energetic pull on the “lavatory chain”...
“Failures were quite frequent, and sometimes the bogie came to a halt just short of the pulpit. It returned slowly by gravity to the sales counter where the assistant performed a much harder pull on the lavatory chain to get the bogie to its destination. Northern Echo website with photograph of exterior.

DARLINGTON. Doggarts, Northgate. Lamson pneumatic tube system, even in ground-floor departments. Photograph in Hammond. Also mentioned in Northern Echo, 26 Jan 2000, p.6a

DARLINGTON. Jimmy Lowes, High Row. “I remember in the 1930s and 1940s Jimmy Lowes’ shop on Darlington High Row which sold haberdashery,” says Pauline Savage in Romanby, Northallerton. “I was taken there to buy hair ribbons, and their cash system was a series of wires and pulleys suspended from the ceiling.” Northern Echo website

DURHAM. Doggarts. Pneumatic tube system. Lee

DURHAM. Greenwells. Pneumatic tube system. Beamish Museum

EASINGTON. Co-op. "Easington Village branch of Murton Co-operative Society was broken into during the weekend... The thief .. crawled through a small aperture into the grocery department, and in doing so damaged the overhead cash railway." (Hartlepool) Northern Daily Mail, 14 Dec. 1931,

FELLING. Co-op. "When a customer paid for the goods, the money was put in a cylindrical container and attached to an Ariel wire, which, with a swishing sound was transported to a glass cubicle where the cashier checked the amount of money for your goods and returned the change by the same method." The Time Capsule - Childhood

FELLING. James McGuiness (drapers), High Street. "Sale of fixtures and fittings, etc. ... Compressed Air Cash Carrier." Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 2 Oct. 1939, p. 3

GATESHEAD. Shephards. Overhead wire system. Jarrow Online Forum, 2/2/03. Later changed to pneumatic tubes. Mike at Hebburn website

GATESHEAD. Snowball, Son & Co. 15-21 High Street. "Lawson [sic] and Co., of New York, have been engaged during the last twelve months fitting up the patent system in this country, at Edinburgh and Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, and the Metropolis, principally for large drapery firms; but it has only now reached the banks of the Tyne, and the credit of introducing it is due to the enterprise of Mesrs. Snowball, Son, and Co., of Gateshead. The opening of the monetary traffic by this ingenious method was deemed of sufficient importance yesterday forenoon to secure its inauguration by the Mayor, who sent the first cash ball rolling to the 'deep pocket' at the cashier's desk; and thereafter, in toasting success to the firm and its cash railway, took occasion to have a very natural and excusable 'crow' over the laggards on the other side of the bridge... There are no fewer than twenty-one stations on Messrs. Snowball's cash railway, which is 650 feet in length." Newcastle Daily Leader, 20 Jan 1886. Picture of exterior. Part demolished for the Tyne Bridge approach road and part became Kent House.

HASWELL. Co-op. Pneumatic tube system from W. Kilurn of Bishop Auckland. Northern Echo, 26 Nov. 1897

HETTON. Co-op. Pneumatic tube system in 1959. Hughes

JARROW. Shephards (department store), Ellison Street. Overhead wire system. Jarrow Online Forum, 2 Feb. 03

MURTON. Co-op. Photograph of "Typical grocery , 1939" (probably Murton). Hughes.

SHILDON. Co-op. Cash carrier. "Better than John Hendley's." Northern Echo, 13/2/98.
"I spent much time at the C.W.S. .. and was very familiar with the 'cash systen'. It was a dual 'Lamson' system. On the ground floor was the Lamson Rapid Wire System - a system of wires on which little trucks were propelled by pulling on a pulley which opened the gap between 2 wires causing the 'bomb' as they were known to whizz along the wire & through a little square window into the cashier's cubicle." [This sounds more like a Gipe system]. "Then there was the pneumatic system, whereby capsules about a foot long & 4" diameter were whistled through tubes from one floor to another. This latter system was still used within I.C.I. right through from the fifties to the nineties to send 'samples' from plants to laboratories." [The dimensions given are more appropriate to this kind of system.] Ken in posting to Shildon Net, 26/2/04

SOUTH SHIELDS. Cash and Carry (clothing), King Street. "Also had one of those tube things they put the money in. They used to sell jeans and work clothes. (Cisco in posting to South Shields Sanddancers Forum, 5/4/05)

SOUTH SHIELDS. Co-op. "You put the cash and a little receipt in the cylinder, lift a flap and pop it in, then [it] shot off to the cash office on the top floor and returned with a receipt and change a couple of minutes later." (Baldy Smith in posting to South Shields Sanddancers Forum, 24/3/05)

SOUTH SHIELDS. T. Crofton (drapers), 29-30 Market Place and 1-2 King Street. "T. Crofton .. to facilitate the despatch of business, to decrease the commotion, and in consequence add to the comfort of his patrons, has had the Cash Railway System laid throughout his extensive premises." Shields Daily Gazette, 7 Dec. 1889, p.4

SOUTH SHIELDS. Hintons (grocers), Fowler Street. Pneumatic tube system. (Jerry in posting to South Shields Sanddancers Forum, 26/4/05)

STOCKTON-ON-TEES. Co-op, Wellington Street "Emporium". Pneumatic tube system from W. Kilburn of Bishop Auckland. Northern Echo, 26 Nov. 1897. (Not sure whether this is the shop referred to.)
"At that time [1930] and well into the store's life the money was put into tubes and transferred from the counter to the cashier's office, the relevant amount being taken out and any change sent back to the counter via the tube system." Stockton Local Photo Collection Online

STOCKTON-ON-TEES. Co-op Branch 8, Holly Street, Norton. "No. 8 (1910) Holly Street, Norton High Street had an earlier cash-ball and track system installed." Stockton Local Photo Collection Online

STOCKTON-ON-TEES. Co-op Branch 12, Bishopton Road. "The general grocers had the cashier in a raised cubicle at the back on the left, and money and chits were sent across the room in containers suspended by pulleys on wires, and launched on their journey by pulling down on a spring loaded handle. This was one of the main reasons I loved being sent there on errands." Stockton Local Photo Collection Online with photo of exterior.

STOCKTON-ON-TEES. Co-op Branch 24, Richardson Road (grocers and butchers). "I was fascinated with a system of wires and pulleys and springs to send the cash up to someone in what appeared to be a little cabin on the floor above." "The overhead wires that took the money to the cashier who was in an elevated office up in one corner of the store." Stockton Local Photo Collection Online with photo of exterior.

STOCKTON-ON-TEES. Co-op Branch 29, Leven Road, Norton (grocery and butchers). "Norton Co-op No 29 the building is still standing in Leven Road, closing as a Co-op in 1969... Many will remember.. the cash disposal systems. No 29 (1930) had a cup and wire way from counter to cash kiosk." Stockton Local Photo Collection Online with photo of exterior.

STOCKTON-ON-TEES. Doggarts, 73-74 High Street. "Your Mum will remember the air tube system for payments." Picture Stockton Archive 22/08/02

STOCKTON-ON-TEES. Elephant Central Cash Stores, Central Buildings, north end of High Street. "Call and see the Lamson Cash Railway System." North-Eastern Daily Gazette, 30 Oct. 1886

STOCKTON-ON-TEES. Farm Stores (butchers), Dovecot Street on the corner of West Row , "The sales people transferred the money to the central till via an overhead mechanical shuttle system which went out from the central till to several locations in the shop where the sales people were serving. Each individual feeder had a small cylinder attached which housed the persons money and a receipt which when the lever was pulled shot the cylinder across to the person on the till who placed the receipt in the till and collected the right amount of change and sent it back with another corresponding pull on the lever letting the shuttle fly back to the counter. As a child I was always fascinated by this mechanical wonder." (Around 1957-8.) Picture Stockton website with photo of exterior.

STOCKTON-ON-TEES. Robinsons, High Street. "The basement was used for .. the famous Lanson [sic] vacuum system for sending money around the store in vacuum tubes. Staff in each department would send customers' cash in canisters, place [them] in the system, and the transaction [was] handled by cashiers in a central location. All the change and receipts were then sent back to where it came from via the 'system'. I helped dismantle the system in the basement in 1965/66 although I believe it was not used for a few years prior to that. It was a work of mechanical engineering, art, noisy, hot and sticky. " Alan Davis comment in Stockton Local Photo Collection Online

STOCKTON-ON-TEES. Toogood and Wilson. "The Cash Railway System has been in full working order since October 18th, 1886. at Toogood and Wilson's, the Elephant Cash Stores, Central Buildings, Stockton. This Store is the most complete for quick cash trading. Teas, Groceries, Provisions, Flour, and Patent Medicines at strictly cash prices." North-Eastern Daily Gazette, 22 Feb. 1887

SUNDERLAND. Beardalls, Cobden Exchange.
"I'll tell you news (in case you've missed them)
Of Beardall's new cash cash railway system!
(On Lamson's patent style of action),
A public boon and satisfaction!
Progress ne'er yet found Beardall strolling;
He ever sets the ball a-rolling!
... This new cash railway, please remember
Starts this last [day] of November
... Onward let Beardall's railway dash,
Fed by the fuel of hard cash,
While men shall say in glad surprise,
'Here's luck to Beardall's enterprise'."
Sunderland Daily Echo, 28 Nov. 1889, p.1
.
[Is this what became later Kennedys?]

SUNDERLAND. Blacketts, corner of High Street West and Union Street. "I used to love Blacketts, they used to put your money in a canister and send it upstairs to the cash room. You'd wait a few minutes and your change would arrive. "AB22 Easy Tiger" in posting to RTG Message Board - Photography Discussion
• "A particular feature of Blacketts was .. the chute system which dealt with customers' money. The chute travelled around the shop to the cashiers who would return it with completed bill and change to the shop assistant." There may be a tube system in the photograph. Curtis, Philip. Sunderland: a century of shopping. (Seaham: People's History,1999) p. 107

SUNDERLAND. J.T.Calvert, High Street/William Street/Lambton Street/Back High Street. "An enormous store with three floors and a basement." Cash ball system visible in photograph of dresses, silks, gloves, hosiery and lace department (though not very clear). Curtis, Philip. Sunderland: a century of shopping. (Seaham: People's History,1999) p. 15

SUNDERLAND. Caslaw, Hayter and Tate, 162 High Street West, next door to Risdon's. "The shop specialised in school uniforms... They had a system for change with the cash travelling around the shop in a canister before reaching the cashier in her office. Once checked, the change would return in similar fashion. The shop retained many of its original fittings right up to closure in the 1990s. Curtis, Philip. Sunderland: a century of shopping. (Seaham: People's History,1999) p. 25

SUNDERLAND. Co-op, Central Drapery Stores, Green Street. "The new central drapery stores, Green Street, in connection with the Sunderland Equitable Industrial Society, were opened this afternoon... "The.. electric motor, and blower for the pneumatic cash carriers are placed in the basement in Cumberland Street." Sunderland Daily Echo, 21 Jun. 1899, p. 3

SUNDERLAND. Joplings. "'Service' is Messrs Joplings motto, and with this in mind they have installed an up-to-date 'cash railway'." Sunderland Daily Echo, 8 Nov. 1934, p.11
• "I started at Joplings in 1950... [The] cash office manager (where the Lampson Paragon 'chute' system terminated) was Miss Oliver... Customers' bills and money and sometimes Joplings' own tokens were put in a metal canister and into a chute connected to a cash desk in a separate office, and returned receipts and the change came back to the staff the same way." Sunderland Today website. Tom Charlton also remembers the pneumatic tube system.

SUNDERLAND. Kennedys, originally 39 High Street West and took over Cobden Exchange. "A feature of the shop was the way money was sent to the cashiers by way of a travelling container in a chute, the change returning in similar fashion... In the late 1950s Kennedy's eventually moved into the new units in Maritime Place." Curtis, Philip. Sunderland: a century of shopping. (Seaham: People's History,1999) p. 96

SUNDERLAND. Thomas Stephenson, 248-249 High Street. "With characteristic enterprise and business energy, Mr Thomas Stephenson, the well-known grocer and provision dealer, has introduced Lanson's Patent Cash Railway system into his extensive premises." Sunderland Daily Echo, 5 Feb. 1886

SUNDERLAND. Taylor and Co., 27-33 New Arcade. "Opening of the new high level cash railway in Sunderland... This cash railway system. one of the most recent and not the least of new inventions for saving labour is introduced in Sunderland by the well-known firm of Taylor and Co. Wm. A. Proctor .. has procured the new railway system to facilitate the conveyance of cash to and from the Cash Desk, a distance of sixty feet, thus saving the assistants a great deal of running about." Sunderland Daily Echo, 8 Feb. 1886, p.4

SUNDERLAND. R.W.Wilson & Son (drapers), 4 High Street West, near Sunderland Empire. "The whole of the shop fittings, fixtures and equipment, including .. three station cash carrier fittings." Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 10 Aug. 1953, p.10

WEST CORNFORTH. West Cornforth Industrial Co-op, High Street. Shop started operating 27 Jan. 1893. "An ingenious overhead cash system was installed in each department, whereby after any goods were sold at any counter in the store a bill of sale and money were put into a metal container which was attached to a system of wires and pulleys. The assistant gave a short pull on the handle and the container then travelled at speed along the overhead wire to a small cashier's office in one corner of the building. If any change was required this was returned by the cashier using the same system." West Cornforth website

WEST HARTLEPOOL. Co-op. Pneumatic tube system. Steve_S posting to Mamod Steam Forum, 22/11/09

WEST HARTLEPOOL. Cross & Co.(drapers), Lynn Street. "W.T.Walton, Jun., .. favoured with instructions from the liquidator herein, will offer for sale by auction, the whole of the high class fittings and fixtures on the premises in Lynn Street .. two separate services of Gipe Overhead Cash Carriers." Northern Daily Mail, 25 Feb. 1929, p. 4

WEST STANLEY. Co-op. Pneumatic tube system in 1950s. The cash office also dealt with the "divvy" tickets. Joe Leigh

WEST STANLEY. Doggarts (clothing shop). Wire system in 1950s. Joe Leigh

Museums

starBEAMISH. North of England Open Air Museum. Cash Ball system. The shop is in two parts with a cash office between. The equipment in the drapery department came from the Coop in Crook, Co. Durham and that in the hardware department from the Dean Motorcycle Co., Newcastle.

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