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Locations - Kent

 

Photographs

Dartford: Kerr's and
Museum

Faversham Museum

 

Shops

BECKENHAM. Adams (drapers), High Street. "Adams the drapers, where .. your money went whizzing across the shop to the cash desk by pulling the handle of the overhead railway." Eric Inman and Nancy Tonkin. Beckenham. (Phillimore, 2001) p. 83

BECKENHAM. A grocers, Shortlands. "It seems but yesterday that a grocery shop in the main street was so cool and dark .. and change given by means of a rattling overhead railway, on whose wires metal cannisters were catapulted from counter to cashier in a flash and shot back, the container being unscrewed to extract the money and receipt." John Wagstaff and Doris Pullen. Beckenham: an anthology of local history to celebrate the golden jubilee of Beckenham's charter of incorporation, 1935. (London: Historical Association, 1984) p.49

BEXLEY. Dartford Industrial Co-operative Society, Baldwyns Park. "When you paid the bill he put the money into a pot that fitted on to an overhead wire and when he pulled the handle the pot flew through a hole in the wall to the cashier in her glass cubicle in the grocer's next door. After a while the pot came back with your change and a cheque for the 'divi'." Tony Helyar in History of Maypole website

BROMLEY. Co-op, Burnt Ash Parade. "There was an overhead system in the Co-op on the Burnt Ash Lane Parade opposite St Andrew's Church in the 50s. Totally fascinated me as a child." Philip Clayton in posting to Friends Reunited, 28/7/12

BROMLEY. Co-op, Widmore Road. "Who remembers the money put into the capsules that then swished across the shop on a wire to the cashier, who sent the change back the same way?" Pauline Lipton in posting to Friends Reunited, 18/7/12

BROMLEY. David Greggs. "I remember the overhead wires where the assistants put your money in a little pot/capsule and then pulled a string with a wooden handle on it and the change came back . They had them in David Greggs as well at the one at Bromley south. I used to love to watch them shoot along the wires when I was a whipper snapper." Tony Miles in posting to Friends Reunited, 19/7/12

BROMLEY. Medhursts (now Allders). Overhead cash carrier system in 1950s. (S.Hennessy). No sign of it now.

CANTERBURY. Baldwins. Wire system. (Simply Whitstable Visitors Book, 17/6/06)

CANTERBURY. Deakins. "In 1973/4 the shop underwent considerable modernisation. The ground floor ceilings were lowered, this made for a warmer shop, but it also meant removing the cash railway system for which Deakins had been famous for many generations. (Deakins of Canterbury: the story of a Canterbury tailor & outfitter 1856-1991, p.14)

CANTERBURY. William Lefevre. "During the 1950s, wire pulley systems in shops were considered ultra modern. The famous Lefevre department store, which later became Debenhams, had a wool shop opposite which sold materials and sewing machines. There were two young Lefevre sisters who served in the shop, using the old-fashioned wire pulley system." Suite101.com . Also Simply Whitstable Visitors Book, 17/6/06.. In use in 1970 ( Peter Mason).

CHATHAM. Edward Bates (dept. store), High Street. Lease between Bates and Lamson Pneumatic Tube Co. for pneumatic tubes, 1932 is in Kent History and Library Centre.

CHATHAM. Churches. Cash Ball system installed about 1889. (Molly Proctor)

CHATHAM. Featherstones. "The money was sent by overhead wire to a cashiers department. You then stood gazing vacantly into space while they prepared your reciept, put the small change in the canister and pinged it back. You could have easily walked over there in this waiting time, but I suppose one had to conform to the routine. :) They did have the suction tubes to do the same job from the upstairs floor." MOK in posting to Kent History Forum, 6/11/10

CHATHAM. Paines, 168 High Street. "My two great recollections of Paines were the fireworks .. and the overhead cash system which whizzed around to my great fascination." Chas in posting to Kentish History Forum, 2/3/13. Also photos of exterior and interior.

DARTFORD. Co-op. Pneumatic tube system. Chris Baker
 • "Do you remember the overhead cash-railway system used at this particular store? There was only one other in use at the time in Dartford."   Steve Thoroughgood on Flickr

DARTFORD. Kerrs, 6 High Street. Rapid Wire system. Installed in 1900. In use when I visited in September 1977. There were 6 stations - all straight runs. Shop closed in 1979 and part is now in Dartford Museum. Just before the shop closed, the BBC recorded it in action for their sound archives. Molly Proctor
• "John bought a shop in Dartford, which had been called Kerr's... Some of the workings of this shop are now in Dartford museum. It had one of those pneumatic systems where the money went shooting upstairs somewhere to the accounts department." (A rather inaccurate account!) Len Goodman. Better late than never. (London: Ebury, 2008) p.239

DARTFORD. Sherrys (later Rosebys), High Street. Pneumatic tube system. Dartford Museum has some parts. Chris Baker

DEAL. Baldwins. Rapid Wire system. (Molly Proctor)

DOVER. Co-op, Cherry Tree Avenue, Buckland. "I can well remember the store with the cashier up in a little cabin with the overhead money containers shooting acros the shop on wires." Harman, Joe. My Dover. (Dover: Riverdale Pubs, 2001), p.113

ERITH.  Mitchells. "Mitchells had one central till and when goods were purchased at a particular counter the bill and the money was sent to the central point by an overhead cable system, The change came back by the same route." Trevor King's website and 'March51' in posting to Charlton Life forum, Feb. 2010

FAVERSHAM. Childs (drapers), 12-15 Court Street. Rapid Wire system. Parts now on display at Fleur de Lis Heritage Museum. Closed in 1971. Some photographs in Peter Stevens "Child of Court Street" Faversham Papers No. 76, 2001. "An Edwardian atmosphere, and even the overhead wire system taking cash and bills from the various departments to a central cash desk remains today." Faversham Times, 6 Oct. 1971, p.1

FAVERSHAM. Another drapers. "The firm I work for used to have one of those wire systems... A friend .. said the one at Childs the other drapers' shop was better, because the wires were longer!" Carol in posting to GEN-TRIVIA-ENG-L list, 8/7/99

FOLKESTONE. Co-op. Cash carrier. Tony at Wilkinsons, Burgess Hill

FOLKESTONE. Goslings, High Street. "The appearance of High-street has undergone a complete change for the better by the opening of Messrs. Gosling and Co.'s splendid new premises... An attractive feature is the introduction of the American cash railway... This miniature railway is creating considerable interest in the town... The name of Gosling .. has been known in Folkestone for upwards of half a century." Folkestone Herald, 26 Mar. 1893, p.5

GILLINGHAM. Co-op (drapery and millinery), High Street. "It was a very big shop, on about four floors, with a lift in it, and I remember it as a shop where they had the cashier’s office in the centre of the ground floor, connected by overhead pulley system, so that the money and the bill was put into a little cylinder container, and a lever was pulled, and this was transmitted to the cashier in the centre of the shop." Ben Beck's website
• (The old one on the site of what became the new Co-op, now Wiklinsons). "A classic small department store when I was a kid. I particularly remember it had a Pneumatic Tube system for sending money from the tills to the back office. Elaborate system of brass tubing." Wild Weasel in posting to Kent History Forum, 28 Oct. 2008

GRAVESEND. Small dept. store, Parrock Street. "There was a small department store in Parrock Street and they put your money in a small black container on wires above their head and it whizzed along to the cash office and they sent back your change and receipt." Gravesham People website

HAWKHURST. C.B.Butcher (small dept store). Gipe system with single line that ran from drapery department through to cash desk in the grocery store. Closed ca. 1956. David Lawrence

HAYES. Co-op. "I remember the co-op in Hayes. I too used to watch as the assistant put the money and the bill inside the cup, pull the strong and it when whizzing across the chop to the little office high up in the corner." Jennifer Slater in posting to Friends Reunited, 20/8/12

HERNE BAY. Hulburds (dept store), William Street. "When I left school in 1962, my first job was at Hulburds... This store had the tube system [in] which the money was sent to a little cash office, each department had metal box with glass fronted door you opened which was where you put in the bullet type cash holder and the air suction whisked it to the office. Underneath in the cellar was a maze of tubes connected to the cash office." Simply Whitstable Visitors Book, 17/6/06

HERNE BAY. Outfitters next to Woolworths, Mortimer Street. Wire system ca. 1955. (Simply Whitstable Visitors Book, 17/6/06)

MARGATE. Bobby's, Northdown Road, Cliftonville. "I remember Bobby's well. The bloke playing the piano upstairs and the compressed air-pipes taking the cash." Jeremy Jacobs in posting to Thanet Coast Life blog, 22/5/2009 Store closed at Christmas 1972.

MAIDSTONE. Blake & Sons (ladies outfitters) High Street. Wire system and short pneumatic system worked by a foot pump to Fashions department upstairs. Terminal there was a dolphin's mouth but stolen during alterations. Other apparatus still there in 1978 prior to closure. (Information from Mrs Proctor.) Building now occupied by Royal Bank of Scotland and Thomas Cooks. (Hales, Irene. Maidstone in old photographs. Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1990, p.32 ). Carrier system was given to Maidstone Museum (National Archives website)

MAIDSTONE. Chiesmans. Wire system? (Mike Pain)

MAIDSTONE. Henry Payne (drapers), Bank Street. Wire system on two floors. In use until 1970s and possibly 1980s. (Peter Mason)

RAMSGATE. William Marsh (merchant, tailor, outfitter and boot factor), 8-12 High Street. "Isle of Thanet elevated railway. Extension of line. Opening of new station. Increase of rolling stock. The popularity and success attained by this line has led to its early development. Twelve months have sufficed to prove that it was a wise step to adopt the 'Lamson's Cash Railway'... The Cashier's Desk has been removed to the back of the shop, and from it two lines of rails run. The first station on the Southern Line is at the juvenile department... The next is the fancy department... On the Northern Line the first station os the men's ready-made clothing department... The second station is the hat and cap department... Passing on, the line curves sharply into the woollen department, and continues to the new boot department... The increase of rolling stock amounts to 65 per cent of the previous supply... We expect a run upon the new coaches on the Isle of Thanet Elevated Railway... The public are invited to inspect this extended and improved railway which is the only one of its kind in this part of the country." Thanet Advertiser, 7 Apr. 1894, p.4

ROCHESTER. Featherstones, High Street. Pneumatic tube system. Shop now closed. (Mike Pain)

SHEERNESS. Bon Marche, High Street. Wire system in mid-1950s. (Roger Betts)

SHEERNESS. Co-op Menswear dept., Crescent. Wire system in mid-1950s. (Roger Betts)

SHEERNESS. Central Co-op Groceries dept, Broadway. Wire system in mid-1950s. (Roger Betts)

SHEERNESS. Featherstones, Broadway. Wire system in mid-1950s. (Roger Betts)  "I rented a shop from mr featherstone in the 1980s, my shop was in rose street sheerness (now a curry house)... It's still there in the high street just past the sun pier and i think its rented out as units now but it still had the money canisters that wizzed around the ceiling remnant of its posh days." Oldsunset in posting to Kent History Forum, 19/6/2010

STROOD. Harwoods. "Harwoods, one of the big clothing shops in Strood, had a splendid overhead wire cable-way for transporting containers of receipts and money back and forth between the counters and the cash-office." (WW2 People's War: an archive of World War Two memories on BBC website)

TUNBRIDGE WELLS. Edmund Allens, Camden Road. "The cashier's office with its network of pneumatic cash railways." Tunbridge Wells in 1909 (Tunbridge Wells Civic Society, 2008)

TUNBRIDGE WELLS. Goldsmiths (drapers) OR Waymarks (drapers), Calverley Road/Mount Pleasant Road. [May be one or both.] Cash ball system. (Butcher)

TUNBRIDGE WELLS. Frederick Wickhams, 21-27 Mount Pleasant. "The most modern and up-to-date shopping centre in the South of England... Ask also when here to see the Lamson Pneumatic CAsh Carriers in actual working. Cash carried from all the departments by electricity to one central office. One cashier does the work of four, in less time." Kent & Sussex Courier, 15 Nov. 1907, p.12
• "The clever mechanical apliances, such as the Pneumatic Tube Cash Syatem." Kent & Sussex Courier, 10 Apr. 1908, p.12

TUNBRIDGE WELLS. E. Waymark, Five Ways. "Our enterprising townsman and commissioner, Mr E. Waymark, has just fitted up his establishment with a novel American invention... It is termed the Lamson Cash Railway... Mr Waymark is to be congratulated on having secured this novel invention which has not hitherto been seen in this locality." Kent & Sussex Courier, 15 June 1888, p. 5

WEST WICKHAM. Co-op, opposite Swan Inn. Wire carrier. Clara's bookshop

WHITSTABLE. Co-op, Oxford Street. "Saturday last was a red-letter day for Whitstable Co-operators, for it was the occasion of the official opening of the fine new departmental store which the Faversham Co-operative Society, Ltd., have erected in Oxford Street on the opposite side of the street to the old store... Cash will be centralised and operated by the Gipe carrier system. The cashier's office is near the entrance... The whole of the commodious single floored premises cover an area of 6,000 ft." Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 21 June 1930, p.5
• In 1967 it had only recently disposed of its Cash Ball system. Posting to uk.rec.subterranea newsgroup, 8 Mar. 2000. [This seems to contradict the account above.]
• "Who ran off with .. the overhead cash tramway at the Co-op?"Simply Whitstable Visitors Book, 3/6/06.
• "Back in the 1950s, it was a department store including menswear, womenswear, grocery, green grocery, butchers, bakers and possibly other sections. There was a round cashiers 'office' in the centre. Shop assistants in the other departments used the railway to transmit the customer's cash and bill to the cashiers. The little pot returned with the receipt and change. Thus none of the departments had a till or money." Simply Whitstable Visitors Book, 16/6/06

Museums

starDARTFORD, Kent. Museum. See DARTFORD: Kerrs above. In operational condition.

starFAVERSHAM, Kent. Fleur de Lis Heritage Museum. Display on Rapid Wire systems including some parts from the system at Childs, Faversham.

 

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