Oh No My Beloved Debenhams – Tony May

photo: Tony May

Tony May… I’m planning a possible Debenhams article for ‘Hastings Town’ magazine as I ‘process’ my feelings re yesterdays awful news. In the meantime here is a blog containing (mostly) my happy memories associated with Debenhams Hastings store… https://tmchristmas.blogspot.com

Jeremy Peter Harrison… My best memory was back in the 1980s. I was shopping in the men’s department which at that time was at the back (seafront side). I was amazed to see two Lads pick up a complete rail of suits and run straight for the door. They hadn’t done their homework- it was a revolving door and they got jammed solid……!

Brigitte Lee… I worked on Santa’s Grotto, probably around 1980. Gordon worked in the lift that Christmas. I had started there as a Saturday girl, probably mid 70s. My Mum Trixie worked there and years later my daughter was a Saturday girl in another branch. Debenhams will leave a terrible hole in many town centres.

Judy Atkinson… I always remember that your mum was Miss Debenhams & still held the title as they never held the contest again

Janine Hemsley… I was singing on the gig that night at the Falaise Hall. 😂. We were so proud x My beautiful Mum Trixie was crowned Miss Debenhams in 1975. Those were the days when there were fashion shows during the day on the shop floor. Mum worked there for quite a few years.

Patricia Wapshott… Janine, I remember your beautiful Mum working on the make up counter, she was so glamorous and so lovely to talk to, her and my Mum who loved and was always buying makeup from her always got on so well xx

Janine Hemsley… I worked there briefly for Estée Lauder. I trod on a cable and put the whole of the first floor out. It was a Christmas promotion when Youth Dew first came out

Lucy Pappas… Tony, love your blog post x My oldest sister worked in the cafe more than 50 years ago. It seemed the height of sophistication to go for a milk shake and a bun when she was there. I still like the cafe even though it appears to be from another era. I’ll miss Debenhams, one of the few places I go to for pretty underwear and the occasional frock. Over the years, I’ve also bought luggage, bed linen, Christmas presents, new baby presents, make up, jewellery, the list could go on. What a loss to Hastings!

Judie Struys… Lucy, it wasn’t the biggest Debenhams but it was the heart of the town. I’ve been visiting it since I was 12. There used to be a special bit for teenagers in the 1970s, but I’ve forgotten what it was called. I used to buy so many of my clothes there when I was young. I’m so sad for the staff, some of whom have been there for decades.

Leigh Wieland-Boys… My first job on arriving in Hastings in 1971, it was Plummers then. So sad

Susan Butchers… We went there today no sale everything just as it’s always been

Fred Marsh… does any one remember my mum Doris Santer she worked at Plummers during the war and returned in the 60s up until her retirement, now she could tell many a tale about Debs.

Brigitte Lee… I remember Doris. I lovely cheerful lady. I have a feeling she worked in the jumper dept when I started as a Saturday girl.

Stephen Moran… A really sad day, my sister used to work in the office in Plummers during the seventies and I have such fond memories of taking my then two year old daughter to the cafe for coffee (me not her!) and cake most mornings.

Jane Dorsett… Really sad, I was a window dresser at Debenhams, worked with Gary Palmer, Teresa White, our boss was Paul Coombes, the windows always looked lovely and the Christmas grottos we use to do, very happy memories.

Alan Esdaile… Very sad news. What’s going to become of it now? May I suggest, it would be perfect for a theatre/venue with parking at the town centre car parks nearby and St Mary In The Castle would be perfect for the Bayeux Tapestry.

Jack Irving… Excellent idea

Tony May…Great to hear a lot of your reminisences about Hastings Debenhams! If any of you have any old photographs of Debenhams/Plumber Roddis/ of well-known/loved members of staff or of anything to do with Debenhams please send them to me privately by e mailing unseated.tony@gmail.com. I have written a personal tribute to the store and am looking for some photos to go with the piece. The photos need to be yours though and not copyrighted otherwise I will not be able to publish them in ‘Hastings Town’ magazine. If I get more than I need I may well decide to write a ‘follow up’ story. Debenhams will be such a HUGE loss not just to our High Street but to our social history as well and I want to make sure that, if nothing else, the national archives won’t forget that…

Judie Struys… I remember that lady in Debenhams. So glamorous!