'Trip to Footman's was an adventure' - more memories of iconic store

Finding matching shoes at Footman’s sale in July 1966.

Finding matching shoes at Footman’s sale in July 1966. - Credit: David Kindred/Archant

Readers have been sending in their memories of Footman's, from the glamorous restaurant to the famous cash tubes and the Christmas grotto.

The sad news of Debenhams' impending closure has led many people to think about its much-loved predecessor.

A range of cheeses at Footman’s store in Ipswich in 1966

A range of cheeses at Footman’s store in 1966 - Credit: Ivan Smith/Archant

Following our previous article about Footman's, Maureen Manson wrote: "My earliest memories of Footman's are of being taken there as a very young child in the early 1940s.

"At the time, we lived at Aldringham, near Leiston, and a trip to Ipswich was a big adventure. Most memorable were the musicians playing in the restaurant, the carpets, smartly-dressed waitresses -- a whole aura of grandeur.

The top floor restaurant at Footman's Ipswich store.

The top floor restaurant at Footman's Ipswich store. - Credit: David Kindred/Archant

"And the toilets - ones that flushed! For ever afterwards called 'Real Ipswich toilets'. Coming from the country, we had only experienced earth closets." 

Maureen added: "Later, in about 1947, I had my first real party frock from there. It was pale blue taffeta, and bought especially to wear to the annual police Christmas party which was held at County Hall. I think it was probably the first 'shop-bought' dress that I had, everything being home made or passed down before that. I really felt like a princess.

Working in the bakery at Footman’s Ipswich in 1966

Working in the bakery at Footman’s Ipswich in 1966 - Credit: Ivan Smith/Archant

"There were so many memorable shops in those days--the 40s and 50s. Edwards on Norwich Road where my mother always bought school clothes for my brothers, and Grimwades, Ridleys and Masons for those special things, and always the reliable Co-op."

Sandra Souter (nee Mickleburgh) remembers working at Footman's in 1964, when Gerry and the Pacemakers made a personal appearance.

She said: ""As I remember it was a bit chaotic, what with the volume of fans, but exciting, I really enjoyed my time working at Footman's until I got married."

The Miss Anglia contest at Footman’s Ipswich store in May 1971

The Miss Anglia contest at Footman’s Ipswich store in May 1971 - Credit: Archant

Most Read

Christine Gault wrote: "I remember in 1970 l was working as a hairdresser at a salon in Queen Street. On Saturday afternoons, us girls would go to Footman's restaurant for delicious toasted tea cakes and a lovely cup of tea.

"There were round tables with linen cloths, and wicker chairs. The waitresses were very smart in their black uniforms with little white aprons. It was so relaxing. Footman's was wonderful."

Angie Sohatski also remembers visiting in the 1970s. She wrote: "I remember my parents buying a stereo from there in the 70s. I can’t remember much about the inside of the building except a lift and staircase.

"I do remember shopping for my school uniforms in Grimwades opposite Footman's.  Another iconic Ipswich store. Such a shame Debenhams is closing!"

Outside Footman's in the 1950s, with Father Christmas in the window

Outside Footman's in the 1950s, with Father Christmas in the window - Credit: David Kindred/Archant

Bob Hall shared his memories of two of Footman's most famous features, saying: "I've never forgotten the cash tubes flying around overhead, taking the cash from the tills to the cashier on the first floor, and Father Christmas and his grotto in the basement."

John Marney was another visitor to the store's Christmas grotto. He wrote: "I was born in Ipswich in 1943 and well remember going to Footman's at Christmas, and going down in the 'lift' to see Father Christmas and also seeing the puppet shows. How things have changed."

What are your memories of Ipswich shops? Email judy.rimmer@archant.co.uk 

To order photos, visit our website or call Diane Townsend on 01603 772449.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter