Days Gone By - Do you remember Fanny boutique?
Opening in 1967, Fanny was the first boutique to open in Ipswich, writes David Kindred,
Television personality of the 1960s, Cathy McGowan, came to Ipswich in February 1967, to open the boutique in Crown Street. Cathy was a presenter on the Friday evening rock music television show, Ready Steady Go, with its slogan, ‘the weekend starts here’. Were you there that day?
The boutique featured in Days Gone By recently when Crown Street came under the spotlight. Readers, including the shop owner, have written with memories of the trend-setting shop. Esmee Vince, emailed to say: “The pictures in Days Gone By about Ipswich, around the 1960s, featured a picture of the ‘Fanny’ boutique in Crown Street, Ipswich, taken in February 1967. The lady on the far right is my lovely grandma!
“Her name is Patricia Chamberlin (now 81 years of age!). Known as ‘Mim’ by most of the family, she was the owner of Fanny, and worked alongside my mother Kelly for many years in Ipswich town centre, in many different shops that she also owned. They included a sandwich shop named ‘Butties, and a small restaurant on St Nicholas Street called ‘Red’s’.
“After Fanny’s closed, Mim opened ‘Moons’ in the Thoroughfare. Moons was around for many years, had many regular customers, and by then, Mim had become a well-known face around town as many people knew her for her huge personality and friendly shop atmosphere.
“My mother Kelly worked with her for many years, and during that time my sisters and I were all born. Mum was straight back to work after having us and bought us all in to the shop most days, where we spent most of our time as toddlers.
“This is what made the shop such a friendly place to come in, it was almost like walking into someone’s home, with members of the family popping in all the time too. Mim was also very well known via her dog Luna, who attracted lots of attention from customers. Many used to bring her in treats and come in even more regularly just to see her!
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“Mim kept the shop running for such a long time, I think she was 77 when she finally retired! She worked a seven-day week towards the end before the shop shut. She loved the shop, it was her life. It is sorely missed by her and all of the family.
“Mim is one of the most interesting and eccentric women I have ever known. She has lived such a fascinating life. Most of her young life was centred around clothing and she had a massive interest in fashion.
“I can remember her telling me she was one of the first women to wear trousers when she was younger, she said she remembered everyone staring at her like she was crazy! But she didn’t care, that’s what we all love about her! Her stories from all of her memories still have us all in stitches, she has a fantastic sense of humour and is loved so much by everyone!
“Mim is still very active, I always find it brilliant, when I walk through town with her, the amount of people who make the effort to stop and say hello, she really is like a local celeb! Many people often tell her how much they miss the shop, and even still comment on Fanny too. Some people have even told her about the dresses and other clothing that they still have from there.
“I would absolutely love to get my hands on some pictures or information of either Moons or Fanny’s, that may still be floating around. I tried recently as I was thinking of making a scrap book, but could hardly find anything. It was almost like the memory had been erased, which would be such a shame for a businesswoman who kept her shop open in Ipswich town centre for around 40 years. I wish I had taken more pictures while I was still able to!
“Patricia is a wonderful woman, who we are all super proud to call our grandma.”
Meanwhile, Patricia herself said: “Those were the days, ladies, the sixties! I enjoyed every minute of my time with Fanny Boutique. The fun clothes, the juke box blaring out its music, the hat stands covered in feather boas. They were lovely days, spent with lovely customers. Hi to you all.”
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