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Wades in Western Road

Wades in Western Road undated
Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton and Hove

Do you remember Wades department store?

How long was it in Western Road?

Did you shop there and what sorts of things did you buy?

Maybe you worked there?

If you have any memories of Wades that you can share with us, please leave a comment below.

Comments about this page

  • Like so many others, I have happy childhood memories of visiting Father Christmas in Wades. Only last week while doing family history research, I discovered the bride-to-be of my grandfather’s brother, Alice Redford, was a domestic cook for the Wade family. In 1911 Walter John Wade, born Hertfordshire, and his wife Olive Wade, born Devon, were living in a 15 room house in Dyke Road Avenue. As a cook, Alice must have had her work cut out as living with Walter and Olive Wade were 10 of their 11 children. Maybe Alice received a nice wedding present from Wades on her marriage!

    By Suzie S (01/09/2012)
  • I remember going there in the early 1950s as a young child to see Father Christmas. You got in something that looked like a tube train, you got in one door and out of another.

    By John Leach (01/09/2012)
  • I remember shopping in Wades in 1960 for my first pair of black leather gloves, and l believe one of Mum and Dad’s last purchases at Wades in the 1970s was an Atari Pong/tennis game. Wades was a large departmental store in Western Road that sold almost everything. You would always hear someone in the street say “Let’s go along to Wades”. My late Aunt Kathleen used to work on the haberdashery counter there during the war in the 1940s. I remember her telling me that one Christmas the manager was concerned that the rolls of ribbon were not selling well, so she suggested to him that more people might be interested if the rolls were cut into smaller lengths. He agreed to this, and my aunt and her friend got to work cutting the ribbon into yard lengths. They rolled each piece up, priced them at 6d each and put them in a basket which they placed at the front of the counter. My aunt told me the ribbon was sold out by closing time and that she received praise from the manager for her initiative. My mother also recalls that my Aunt Kathleen and her friend were often called to fire watch on the roof of Wades during the war. Sadly, Wades closed in the 1970s soon after a fire destroyed Johnson’s store next door. I think many older Brighton residents greatly miss the large departmental stores that then catered for all ages and styles.

    By Gloria Unsted (02/09/2012)
  • Great pic. Early ’70s, judging by the cars and the ex-Southdown ‘Queen Mary’ bus - probably on route 5. Is the second car from the left an Austin Allegro?

    By Len Liechti (05/09/2012)
  • No, the second car from the left is a Datsun, but I’m not sure of the model.

    By Alan Phillips (07/09/2012)
  • The car second from the left is a Datsun Sunny 120Y

    By Christopher George Wrapson (08/09/2012)
  • I do indeed remember Wades. I’ve commented on it in another page on this web site.

    By Phil Allsopp (09/10/2012)
  • Loved Wades, if mum took me there I knew I was going to get something special. They sold all sorts but, of course I only wanted toys in the ’50s. I think I saw Father Christmas there too. A very large shop with good quality products, not cheap though!

    By Anne Newman (13/10/2012)
  • I worked at Wades from leaving school. I remember the World Cup that we won so it must have been 1966. I worked with a Miss Tutt on the haberdashery counter. Mr Absolon in despach was a right old so n so. I met Lynda White (now Newton) there and also Pat Kirkwood who I am sad to say is no longer with us. Lovely warm girl was Pat. We all moved to Grantham’s raincoat factory cos it was more money. I will return to this as I have so much to tell you.

    By Marian Gregson Jones (24/10/2013)
  • What replaced Wades? Littlewoods? C&A? Boots? Virgin? Top Man and others?

    By David Wilkinson (14/01/2014)
  • I have wonderful memories of Wades. When I left school that was the only place I wanted to work. They started all the new girls on the Haberdashery counter and if you worked well you were promoted to other departments. I received two pounds twelve and six a week and got a two shilling rise. There were three brothers running the store, I can remember Mr Douglas and Mr Norman. Also we never had cash registers, all the money was tubed up to the office.

    By Margaret Wesche (22/02/2015)
  • Was it in Wades Restaurant during the mid-1970s where there stood in a corner on display a grand early-20th century gold painted cash register? Then a young child, it was a source of much interest to me. – Something else not mentioned until now, I think : did this or any other department store or shop in Brighton & Hove ever play that supposed good mood-inducing background music as part of the shopping “experience”?  Muzak, the Seeburg 1000 system (of better quality perhaps, for the likes of Wades), or were there other (British) alternatives? I can only recall hearing background music in the then new Co-op Superstore at Peacehaven, and at the Spar shop in Lustrells Vale, Saltdean, by which time I’m sure it was already hugely out of fashion and rapidly dying out!

    By Sam Flowers (22/07/2017)
  • I worked in Wades Dept Store in the haberdashery dept around 1971/2. Every morning, I used to get there early before opening time, and all the glass counters had to be cleaned with metholated spirits. I only earned just over £5 pw! We had a container on the counter filled with loose buttons at 1p each, and one day a couple of boys who fancied me, kept coming and buying odd buttons, just to get the chance to talk to me! One of our regular customers used to be an old lady who appeared to be completely mad, and she used to browse the aisles muttering to herself. I was told that she was Jewish and had escaped or been released from a concentration camp.

    By Dawn So (23/01/2021)

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