Goodbye to Rosen's of Church Street

Photo:The shop when it was Shaffran's Hair Merchants

The shop when it was Shaffran's Hair Merchants

Photo:The shop when it was D & K Rosen

The shop when it was D & K Rosen

Photo by Jackie Fuller, taken in 2003

Photo:Location of D & K Rosen in Church Street

Location of D & K Rosen in Church Street

Photo by Jackie Fuller, taken in 2003

Photo:The building was demolished in 2010

The building was demolished in 2010

Photo by Henry Bruce

Demolished in 2010

By Jackie Fuller, North Laine resident

D & K Rosen’s, one of several second-hand clothiers at the top of Church Street, was demolished during 2010. It had shut down after the death of David Rosen, the last owner, in 2004 but before that it had been a family concern since 1919. The shop had a reputation for selling good quality second hand suits and jackets. The site at No 36 Church Street is currently [2010] subject to several planning applications but any development is required to retain the historic frontage to the property.

Not always a clothing shop

No 36 Church Street was not always a clothing shop, as you can see from the old photograph on the right. It began as a hairdressers or, as they used to like to be known, a ‘hair merchants’. Hair merchants included in their realm the art of wig making and chiropody. David Rosen, writing in the North Laine Runner in January/February 1996, said that he had been asked several times over the Christmas period for wigs for fancy-dress purposes.

David Rosen's memories

David Rosen wrote at that time:

“My great-grandfather, Mr Shaffran, had a business in Duke Street and then moved to Church Street in 1880. No 36 Church Street has now been in my family for four generations!

In 1918, when my grandfather came out of the army, the premises changed business to that of a second-hand clothiers, known as J Rosen.

In 1926 when my father reached the school leaving age of 14, he had to leave school in order to help my grandfather. That same year my grandfather had electricity installed. Previously the shop had been lit by gas, probably quite common then.

In the 1930s there was outside lighting and trading would have been from early in the morning to 9.00 at night - so shopping to 8.00pm is not a novelty. The only reason why late night shopping stopped was because of the ‘blackout’ in the 1939-45 war.

Like most people of his age my father was ‘called up’ and served in the army for six years. When he was ‘demobbed’, he came back into the business. Eventually my grandfather retired, leaving my father to run the business himself, which he continued to do until his retirement in 1988.

I have been here since my father's retirement and have seen quite a few changes in the North Laine in such a short period. There is a further generation who may work at 36 Church Street, but only circumstances and his own decision will govern that......”

[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 207, November/December 2010]



This page was added on 16/12/2010.

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