Last day beckons for oldest shop

AS the last shelves come down and the doors set to close for the last time ever, staff at Ipswich's oldest shop today reflected on the sad end to a long era.

AS the last shelves come down and the doors set to close for the last time ever, staff at Ipswich's oldest shop today reflected on the sad end to a long era.

Hardware store Martin & Newby is to shut down for good tomorrow after 131 years in the business.

Managing director Michael Atkinson, who is the great grandson of the founder Frederick Newby, said: "Obviously, it is a sad time for everyone.

"The shop is a part of the family and it is an end of a trade of 130 years. But, one has to treat it realistically and we have to accept that the level of trade we were producing made it inevitable."


You may also want to watch:


In total, 21 staff will lose their jobs as from Thursday. Many of them have spent all of their working lives there and some are very uncertain about their future.

Richard Gallington, 44, has worked there since he left school at 16.

Most Read

He said: "I still haven't got a job. It is one of those things. I have been here 28 years so I have had no intentions of leaving.

"It hasn't really sunk in but I know on Wednesday that on Thursday, I won't be turning up."

When Mr Gallington first started, there were 11 workers in the tools department, but on the eve of its closure, there are just two.

In the days of DIY superstores, the family-run business, which prides itself on providing a personal touch for its customers, has found it impossible to compete.

But it is this friendly service and the old-fashioned atmosphere the staff will miss most.

Mr Gallington said: "What has surprised me is the amount of support we got from the customers saying it is sad and a shame. The majority of people are interested to find out what we will be doing."

David Mullett, 67, who has been at the store for 40 years, said: "I'm a bit sad. I will miss getting up in the morning and meeting folks from this side of the counter.

"Over this period of time, I have got to know so many people in various trades and from all walks of life - old, young, rich, poor, you get the lot.

"Times do change, don't they?"

The company was formed in 1873 when shoemaker John Martin and ironmonger Mr Newby combined their businesses.

Two years ago, its electrical contracting department closed following the retirement of its manager and now the rest of the store is soon to be consigned to the history books.

What do you think of the store's closure? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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
Comments powered by Disqus