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Roslings/Woolworths: London Road

Woolworths photographed in 2007: now the '99p Shop'
Photo by Tony Mould

‘Are you being served?’

My godfather Clem Rosling had a department store in the London Road. The site was sold to Woolworths’ in the 1960s, and is now occupied by the ’99p Shop’. Clem and his wife Kathleen, and Clem’s parents lived in a flat on the top floor of the store. There were many stores like this, a bit like ‘Are you being served!’ I can remember a trip to the toy department downstairs and leaving with a nice toy. I caused a certain amount of envy at school by having an Uncle Clem who owned a toy shop.

A charmer with the ladies

Clem used to spend his day walking around the shop floor greeting customers. Apparently a lot of ladies remember Mr Rosling as being very charming and visited the store to see him. The Rosling family had a plot of land in Patcham which they used to visit after lunch on a Sunday. Clem was in charge of the orchestra at St Bartholomew’s Church just behind the London Road; he liked playing the timpani. He had a shop in Hove for a while, before he retired to Fox Hill Village, then Spalding and finally Bexhill in Sussex.

Do you remember Roslings? Maybe you met the charming Mr Rosling? Or do you remember the shop as Woolworths? If you can share your memories of the shops, please leave a comment below.

Comments about this page

  • My mother brought me a winter coat from Roslings, it was blue with a velvet collar. It must have been 1959/60 – it was a really nice store.

    By Eliza Chessell (28/06/2013)
  • I remember going to Roslings as a child with my Mother to buy her ‘stays’ corsets here in the fifties. They were enormous great satin-y pink things with suspenders and whalebone. They had an overhead cash payment system in operation which fascinated me.

    By Jackie Thomas/Parker Nee Jones (28/06/2013)
  • Does anyone have images of Roslings before Woollies to post on this thread?
    What about the fire after which the basement was closed off – was this in the early 1980s?  So many bargains so long as you didn’t smoke damaged goods 🙂

    By Motown Mickey (09/01/2014)
  • As a young boy (I’m now 85) I well remember that it was a bit on the dark side in there but always fascinating because of the wealth of stock 

    I was later to set up in business as a haberdasher so something must have rubbed off. I loved watching the vacuum money shuttles .

    It exuded all the confidence and quality of the 19th century shop.This shop , Mence Smiths, International Stores, Maples, Home & Colonial, and of course Woolworths are sadly missed.

    By John O Beard (25/12/2016)
  • My late grandmother, Daisy Kathleen Ada nee Rosling (D. 1970) had a cousin called Clem Rosling, who was a draper in Brighton. I was told this by my father and aunt. Daisy was the daughter of Alfred Ernest Rosling and Catherine Emma (nee Faulkner) Rosling,who owned the Arlington Hotel, Brighton. Can anyone confirm whether this Clem Rosling was the son of a man who had the same name, and who was probably a first cousin of AE Rosling, my great-grandfather, mentioned above? The family came from the Lincolnshire Fens.

    By Ina Lawson (11/07/2021)
  • Does anyone remember where the Roslings store was in Hove. I seem to remember it in Portland road near the bottom of Westbourne street where the Co-Op is now?
    Have I imagined it?

    By Marilyn Jones (22/03/2022)
  • Yes I have now confirmed it was on Portland road in 1964 where the co-op is now.

    By Marilyn Jones (22/03/2022)
  • In reply to Ina Lawson’s enquiry, l can say that my godfather Clem Rosling, and his wife Kathleen moved to Spaulding in Lincolnshire for a while. My father and l visited them there. Clem told me that his family had come from there, and we met some of his relatives who lived there.

    By Bernard Dutton-Briant (12/04/2022)
  • Clem Rosling performed in Merrie England, January 1943. It is likely that Kathleen also participated. My mother, 16 at the time, thought enough of Clem to identify him in a press clipping photograph. My family was associated with St Bartholomews; I was baptised there in 1946. I have autographs of both Clem and Kathleen, and am happy to scan for anyone interested.

    By Michael Hamerston (13/06/2022)
  • Responding to Bernard Dutton-Briant (12/04/22), I wonder if your godfather Clem Rosling had any children, and what their names might be? And if any descendants are still alive? He was certainly my grandmother Daisy Rosling’s second cousin, as their fathers were first cousins.

    By Ina Lawson (19/03/2023)
  • To Michael Hamerston (13/06/22): I would be so pleased if you would scan the autographs of Clem Rosling and his wife, and could you also scan the photo of him (press clipping)?

    By Ina lawson (19/03/2023)

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