Ipswich: Happy birthday to town’s M&S

This is not just a 100th birthday – this is an M&S 100th birthday.

Staff and customers of Marks and Spencer have decided to throw a party to rival that of any centenarian resident as the Westgate Street store today celebrates 100 years of serving the community.

Jackie Norbury, store manager at Ipswich, believes the milestone will strike a chord because the store has survived some of the toughest times in British history, including both world wars and the Great Depression.

“M&S is one of the longest-standing retailers in the town and is very much embedded in Ipswich’s high street heritage,” she said.

“We are all very excited and looking forward to welcoming customers old and new to visit us and enjoy our special celebrations to mark this historic occasion.”

The store was due to commemorate the occasion this morning with a band, special clothing lines, food and wine tastings and an exhibition.

Mayor of Ipswich John Le Grys and mayoress Doreen Aldridge were set to launch the celebrations with a ribbon cutting.

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Limited edition womenswear was to be made available throughout the day in addition to an exhibition of different products the store has sold over the years.

A live band accompanied by food and wine tasting in the food hall was also planned.

When it first opened in Westgate Street the store had a sales area of 1,000 square feet.

As part of Marks and Spencer’s expansion plans during the 1920s and 1930s, new larger premises were needed to meet the demands of the town’s residents.

With that in mind, the store was rebuilt in November 1927 and covered the plots from 16-20 Westgate Street.

A series of expansions followed in the following years as it extended into 22 Westgate Street in 1939 and two other extensions in 1964.

With the site now boasting a large area for shoppers, they then extended upwards in 1982 and opened up a second storey.