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Locations - Essex



Ilford: Fairheads



BRENTWOOD. Bon Marche, High Street. "Looking back to 1967... Bon Marche, the High Street drapery store so beloved by Brentwood shoppers, pensioned off its overhead cash railway system and enticed a former manageress out of a 20-year retirement for the afternoon to send the last £1 note rattling overhead." Brentwood Gazette, 3 Apr. 1997, p. 2

BRIGHTLINGSEA. International stores (or Co-op?). Wire system. Peter Moon

CHELMSFORD. J.G.Bond (draper). "Mr J.G. Bond.. has just introduced this time-saving and interesting invention into his two principal shops, and being the first 'system' at work in the town it has the attraction of novelty. Four lines, supported by thin and almost invisible wires from the ceiling, radiate from the cashier's desk to the different parts of the establishment. There are two tracks on each line, the one being inclined so as to convety the hollow balls, containing the cash and checks, to the cashier, and the other inclined in the opposite direction, to bring back the balls to the assistants." Chelmsford Chronicle, 28 Mar. 1890, p. 5

CHELMSFORD. Co-op.  "It was a very large grocery store, separated into sections for the various lines (cheese, bacon, butter, and so on). Also had one of those overhead wire cash transfer systems. The assistant would put the money into a little cylinder, and insert the cylinder into the overhead carrier, whereby it was transferred to the central cashier's office. The change came back by the same method. A source of fascination for a small boy!" Noel in posting to Great War Forum 27 Feb. 2007
"All the Co-op shops had these in Colchester. As a child they were facinating." Jan Payne on Facebook

CHELMSFORD. Grippers. Cash carrier in 1960s. John Harris on Facebook

CHELMSFORD. F.Luckin Smith (grocers), High Street. Wire system in mid-1960s. Martin Pay in posting to newsgroup. Company was bought out in 1970s.

CLACTON. Rattees, Old Road. Cash carrier. Lisa Langston in posting to Facebook

COLCHESTER. Co-op. "I recall that the Co-op were still using this [cash carrier] system as late as 1980 in their clothing dept." Feisty CBC in posting to [Colchester] Daily Gazette, 4 Jan. 2009
 Later I worked in the Co-op in Colchester from 1968 to 1970. They had the vacuum tube system. Michael Burrows in posting to Facebook, 29 May 2017

COLCHESTER. George Ager and Sons (drapers), High Street. "Messrs. George Ager and Sons .. have recently introduced into their business arrangements a very interesting novelty, in the shape of a patent automatic cash railway... This model railway is suspended all round the extensive shop and show-room, on almost invisible wires, and has its up and down lines, a junction, nine stations, and a terminus, the latter being located in front of the cashier's desk." Essex Standard, 26 Mar. 1887, p.8. Also see COLCHESTER: Evatt Sanders below.

COLCHESTER. Evatt Sanders and Son, High Street. (Household Supply Stores). "We must not omit to mention Lamson's patent store service cash railway, a very ingenious contrivance, by which all cash is at once transmitted by an automatic railway to the cashier's office, any change required being at once sent back by a return line. This sysyem is already at work in Colchester on an extensive scale at Messrs. Ager and Sons' drapery establishment, and the apparatus at Messrs. Sanders's will comprise several recent improvements of the patentee... Messrs, Evatt Sanders and Son .. have purchased for their retail business the premises lately occupied by Mr. Bunting, ironmonger." Essex Standard, 29 Oct. 1887, p.8

COLCHESTER. Oliver Parker, North Hill. "The best shop of all was Oliver Parker, the grocers at the top of North Hill, in what is now the Post Office. Your mother went to each counter in turn with the family's coupons to buy bacon, margarine, sugar, whatever. These were sold at different counters around the shop. As she finished at each counter, the assistant would send a docket in a metal container flying along an overhead wire to the cashier. At the end, your mother would go to the cashier, pay for the goods and take you home. You would be reluctant to leave because there would be the fascinating constant flow of dockets flying along the overhead wires. Sheer magic for any child." Boris in posting to [Colchester] Daily Gazette, 4 Jan. 2009

DAGENHAM. Co-op, Martin's Corner. "I remember the little capsule flying across the ceiling in the co-op .. when I was a kid in the 60s." "Stavros-innit" posting to Daily Mail chat, 18 Jul. 2005

GRAYS THURROCK. Co-op Grocery Store. Cash carrier during/just after WW2. Gordon Blake

GRAYS THURROCK. Paine's., 9 High Street. "The shop had an ‘office’ which was a partioned off, raised room area in the haberdashery department with glass windows and a door. Payments would be sent through to the office via a cash railway...  There was a network of rail tracks along the ceilings in all the departments for this purpose.  I think it was likely that this was a Rapid Wire." Bygone Grays Thurrock with photos of exterior.
• "At the Grays shop when customers bought items the payments would be sent through to an office via a cash railway.  A wooden container would have money and the bill placed in it and it would then be screwed into a metal holder and propelled by a catapult to the cash desk. It was operated by a handle on a rope which would be suspended from the ceiling. The assistance would pull this down and it would wind the machine up.  Upon release it sped off along a wire near to the ceiling to the cash office and then any change etc. would be sorted by the cashier and returned to the department in the same way. There was a network of rail tracks along the ceilings in all the departments for this purpose.  I think it was likely that this was a Rapid Wire." Ann in posting to Kentish History Forum, 6 Nov. 2010

GRAYS THURROCK. Joyes Emporium, New Road. Wire system. The cash office was "a sort of cubicle with frosted glass" ( website) Photos of shop at Bygone Grays Thurrock

GRAYS THURROCK. Pellings (grocers). Cash carrier during/just after WW2. Gordon Blake

HORNCHURCH. Co-op. "The money would be put in a box and sent across the store to the cashier who would open it and put the change in and send it back." Francis Frith website
• I  remember seeing one similar [wire carrier] in Hornchurch Co-op in the late 50's. Mike Slingsby on Facebook

ILFORD. Bodgers, Cranbrook Road. Ilford Library has photographs showing pneumatic tubes below the ceiling in kitchenware, fabrics and furniture departments. "Money boxes flying across the ceiling" 'Musikooluk' in posting to Whirligig message board, 21 Nov. 2004. Reported to have Rapid Wire system in Daily Mirror, 21 July 1977.

ILFORD. Fairheads, 60-64 Cranbrook Road. Opened in 1908. Five-station Lamson pneumatic tube system (originally eight stations) with Standard Gravity Desk. Installed in 1959 and in use until about 1991 (Liffen). Three Pneu Art stations were still visible on first floor and one on ground floor in Oct. 2004. Ilford Library has a photograph of neckwear department showing tubes and a station dated 1957.
"The snaking pipes of Lamson pneumatic tube systems .. can still be glimpsed on the walls and ceilings of some drapery stores, such as Fairhead's in Ilford, although they have inevitably given way to stand-alone cash registers." Morrison, p.76
Photos on Flickr. Shop closed on 6 December 2008 and sold for development. Photographs

ILFORD. Harrison Gibson (furniture). High Road. Cash carrier. Eileen Hinde in posting to Facebook.

ILFORD. Moultons Store, High Road . Lamson wire system. Photo of cash office with about eight lines in Hammond.
• "The Lamson Rapid Wire cash system which has been installed is also a valuable aid to quick service."

ILFORD. Pointings. Pneumatic tube system. See Reminiscences rt

LAINDON. Co-op. "The Co-op Stores with several different departments: butchers, bakers, grocers and drapers. The overhead cash canisters that whizzed above our heads on wires, with the money and invoices, across to the elevated wooden booth, which housed the cashier who would pull a handle to return the canister with the change and receipt to the waiting customer." Patsy Mott in Laindon and District Community Archive

RAYLEIGH. Devesons, 91 High Street "In the early 1900’s the building was called Commerce House from which Deveson’s the drapers traded in the last shop in Rayleigh to use an ‘overhead wire railway’ to the cashier." OnlineFocus website. Later became North Thames Gas Board showroom.

ROMFORD. A haberdasher's, South Street, near brewery. Cash carrier. Ceri Green on Facebook

ROMFORD. Whites (drapers) High Street. "Put their cash into canisters which were taken by overhead wires to the cash desk." Romford Recorder, 30 Apr. 2010

SOUTHEND. Brightwells (upmarket draper). Cash carrier in 1960s. Alan Martin

SOUTHEND. Dixons. Pneumatic tube system. Posting to alt.folklore.urban newsgroup, 20 Apr. 2001

SOUTHEND. Harris and Sons (drapers), Alexandra Street. "A novelty has been introduced - at least, a novelty as far as Southend is concerned - viz., Lamson's cash railway." Southend Standard, 3 Oct. 1889, p. 3

SOUTHEND. A.J. Sopers, High Street. Operating into the 1960s. Alan Martin
• "Soper's (a drapers) in Southend used to have one of these. The assistant  would put the money inside the wooden cup and attach the bill to a big clip on  the bottom. She (and it was always a 'she' because the - male - manager was  much too important to be on the shop floor) would then fit it to a trolley and  pull a handle. This would tension up a catapult affair which fired the trolley  along the track up to the place where the money was checked against the bill  and a ledger entry written; the bill (and any change) was returned in the 
opposite direction. At peak shopping times everybody had to wait until the one  person handling the money could finish their bit of the transaction. Life  was so much slower then!" DVDobbin in posting to Essex-UK-L list, 25 Sep. 2004

STOCK. Sewters (groceries and drapery), High Street/Swan Lane. "Entering the central door on the High Street, there were counters down either side with an elevated 'cubby-hole' at the far end where the cashier could view the entire shop and receive money from the sales assisants via an overhead wire transportation system." Stock website

WANSTEAD. Dunhams (branch of Fairheads of ILFORD). Wire system. Part is now in the collection of Redbridge Museums. Exploring 20th Century London website

WICKFORD. Helyers. "Another pleasure was to be taken around Helyers’ drapery shop on the left hand side of the High Street opposite Churchill Johnson’s timber yard. The bill and payment for purchase were put into little cylindrical holders which were attached to an overhead wire and then shot across the shop to the cashier’s office perched high up at the back of the store." Wickford Community Archive website

WOODFORD GREEN. Puddicombes (drapers). Tube system. Now closed. N.Pitt

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