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A prim and proper store

Hannington's East Street frontage
Royal Pavilion and Museums: Brighton and Hove

Started work at sixteen

I used to work at Hannington’s when I was just 16 or so till I was 19. I worked all over the place as a ‘floater’ with several other people. When someone was off sick then that is where a so called ‘floater’ went to work for the day. I used to work in the Father Christmas Grotto every year. I remember the work that went into making it just right for the opening; and the children, their faces were a sight to see. It was just like magic in their eyes.

An amazing old building

I was in the ‘China’ and ‘Children’s’ departments a lot too. The old staff room was pretty grotty, up some old stairs. It was the most amazing old building, of which a lot of it was unseen by the public. I remember the staff very well and have often what ever happened to them all. I remember Mike on the ‘Clock’ department and Stella in the ‘Pen’ department. I used to do staff training, teaching the new staff how to do credit cards on those old machines and how to write out an account for someone. I remember that Nancy Reynolds was buyer in the ladies ‘Lingerie’ department.

Prim and proper

It certainly was a fascinating place, a one off. It was all so prim and very proper when I was there. In those days we had to call people Sir and Madam unlike today in stores where attitudes are all very casual. I now live in Perth in Australia, and have been here for over thirty years now. But it only seems like yesterday I was there at Hannington’s and I remember my time with great affection.

Do you remember?

Did you shop at Hannington’s? Maybe you had afternoon tea there? What about the Christmas grotto? If you can share your memories of Hannington’s, please leave a comment below.

Comments about this page

  • I was there from 1966 until 1975. I had a good time there – it was hard to start with but I liked it. I was a porter and was out on the vans and helped out in the funeral dept. I now live in Scotland. So sad to see it is no more.

    By Arthur Westgate (05/10/2013)
  • The lift was amazing to go down to the toy department and the grotto was so good it was on a train and our school took us each year – irreplaceable imaginary fun gone for ever.

    By Shelly Regan (23/10/2013)
  • I had my first job there after leaving school as a window dresser. I remember the vaults under East Street where we kept our materials for dressing the windows. They went all along East street. We used to have fabulous window displays. Lovely department store and lovely staff. 

    By Tessa Crane (nee Farncombe) (21/12/2016)
  • I worked for a short time, delivering goods to customers on a Vespa with sidecar. What I would like to know is, has anyone got a picture of that delivery vehicle. I would really appreciate it if you could let me know how I could get in touch with you, thanks in advance.

    By Rodney Lawrence (09/10/2018)
  • I often shopped at Hanningtons. I remember as a child seeing Santa Claus there. The shop sold furniture which was delivered by way of a van pulled by two beautiful shire horses. How I would love to see a photo of them

    By Mary Parker (24/05/2019)
  • I worked at Hanningtons in 1968/70 in the fashion department as buyers clerk for Miss Deacon,
    until I got married. I just think I had an amazing time and training .Anne Rogers (nee Beddoe).

    By Anne Rogers (08/07/2020)
  • Bought my wedding dress in 1981. My Mum and l loved going there all dept’s linking along, all different . We were in there one year with my young son and had to leave asap due to a bomb threat. My son loved the Christmas grotto. Such a shame it had to go. So many good times and memories of Brighton in the 60’s and 70’s.

    By Teresa Mackintosh (20/05/2022)
  • I can remember going to the haberdashery several times as a child in the mid-70s. My sister went to dance lessons at Molly Caulder’s school in Black Lion Street and my mum used to buy elastic, poppers, hair ribbons and what-not for the shows at The Dome. My poor mum absolutely HATED sewing but they were all expected to make the costumes! I think they sold ballet shoes there as well.

    By Tania Browne (Nee Harris) (28/05/2022)

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