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Bellman's in WWII

A little while ago someone asked about Bellman’s. Their mother worked there during WW2. Maybe she is in this photo that my mother-in-law Edna has. She also worked at Bellman’s during the war.

This photograph of the staff at Bellman’s was taken when the Canadians came to our town.

Bellman's staff and military personnel
From the private collection of Josie Campbell

Comments about this page

  • I couldn’t recognise anybody in the photo. I think that the man on the right in the suit was Mr Behar. My mother was secretary to Mr Bellman and he is not in the photo. Perhaps in those days office and retail staff didn’t mix. They certainly employed a lot of people and I was very interested in the photo.

    I have two photographs taken in 1943 showing the staff at Bellmans when they went to Ford Aerodrome. Also one of the Helpy Club with the then Mayor Dutton Bryant, the head of the local Red Cross, Mrs Bellman and the Duchess of Norfolk. Bellmans’ staff were very involved in the war effort and raised large sums of money by holding dances etc.

    By Jennifer Goddard (nee Norrell) (28/04/2007)
  • I am the grandson of Sydney Bellman, The man in the suit to the far right is my grandfather and the lady to the left is my nana, Mrs E Bellman at the time. My compliments on the photograph.

    By Joel Curtis (16/07/2007)
  • Quite by chance, I came across this page on Sydney Bellman. His mother was related to some of my family members so I would be pleased to hear from his grandson, Joel Curtis, other family members, or anyone who knew the family. By the way,  Mrs E Bellman’s given name was Esther.

    By Eric Svirskis, Melbourne, Australia (10/01/2009)
  • Hi, I’m somehow related to the Bellmans but don’t know how and would love to be in contact with other members of the family. I can remember as a kid when I was a boarder at Preston College in 1944/45, going to the shop every Saturday morning to collect my 6p pocket money from Sydney, which was a lot of money in those days and having lunch at their house every Sunday afternoon. They were also guests at my wedding. My family were the Aarons and Jacobs. My sister in law’s family were the Bernsteins who were also related. This seems to be a huge family and I’d very much like to be in contact and wonder if anyone has though of doing a family tree. I bet that will bring a lot of surprises.

    By Stanley Kaye (10/02/2010)
  • Out of curiosity I looked at this again today. If the relations of Sydney Bellman, i.e. Joel Curtis or Stanley Kaye see this (or someone tells them about it) would they kindly contact me.… Thanks

    By Eric Svirskis (18/12/2010)
  • Elizabeth Mary Pinnell nee Jacomeli, born 26th December 1876 died 1950 (my paternal great grandmother) was buried together with her husband Edwin Charles Pinnell in Elm Grove cemetery, Brighton. The Jacomeli family had emigrated from Florence, Italy, some years before her birth. The family owned retail businesses in London. Starting in a small way in London they gradually progressed to owning a departmental store in Brighton. The Brighton business was the first store of its kind in the town and was situated in the London Road, north of St. Peter’s church near to the open market. It was eventually sold in the 1920s and then became known as Belmans Department Store. If anyone has any more information on the business pre-Belmans, I would love to know. Thank you.

    By Caroline Pinnell (07/06/2013)
  • I lived in Clyde Road, off Preston Circus, in the late 1950s and early 1960s and we shopped in London Road for most items. Bellman’s always had a great toy department and excellent staff. I was determined to be the first member of their Davy Crockett Fan Club, that they ran in-store when the show was first aired on television. I was first in that Saturday queue at about 8am!

    By Michael Dartnell (10/06/2013)
  • I remember Bellman’s store. My grandma Hall and my mum used to shop there. Does my memory recollect that it was situated where the Co-Op shop is now, across the way from Woolworths? We all lived in the Ridgway, Woodingdean. With my mum I was evacuated to my grandparents from London around the time of the Blitz in London. My dad stayed behind as he was an engineer with BSA and was working on a secret AAA gun in a factory near Uxbridge, so we did not see much of him.

    By Robert Coe (14/07/2013)
  • HI Robert Coe! I worked at BELLMANS in London road from late 50s to early 60s before and after it expanded, it was south of Oxford street where the Co-Op is now.

    By John Dine (26/11/2013)
  • Didn’t know Bellman’s. Has anyone any images before the supermarket building was constructed?

    By Motown Mickey (09/01/2014)
  • I am the granddaughter of Sam Behar and my father was Bobby Behar. I know of Bellmans having heard many stories from my families. How lovely to see this photo

    By Gina Behar (04/06/2014)
  • My grandmother married Aaron Bellman. I think he was 1st cousin to Sydney Bellman and Luba Bellman. Their dads were brothers. We would always get packages from Luba Bellman from the store. I had a chance to visit cousin Luba in 1970 and she took me to the Bellman store in Brighton. I remember it being quite large. It was around the time David Bellman, Sydney’s son, was getting married and so I did not get a chance to meet the rest of the family. I think the woman in the front right middle with the black dress and white shirt is Luba Bellman. I then went on to visit my uncle, Seymour Bellman, in Israel. I know Sydney and Esther had a son named David and I think a daughter named Patricia. Not sure about the name of the daughter. I have to check about the exact connection. Anyway, I would love to hear from any of my distant cousins. I was told that my side of the Bellman family stayed in England for about 3 years before coming to Chicago.

    By Shara Ami Fata (06/07/2014)
  • On leaving school I went to work in the office at Bellmans in London Road. We then worked Mon-Fri and Saturday mornings. I worked for Mr Gordon who ran the grocery department, but if there was a sale we were taken from the office to help out. I remember when hula hoops came out Sydney Bellman had myself and another girl on platforms outside to demonstrate them. Also, I represented Bellmans in the Miss London Road contest at the Regent (I came in second). It was a wonderful place to work – Mr Gordon very business like as was Mr Behar. Bobby Behar was a young man about 20 years old when I worked there. They had wonderful sales with people lining up very early to get in. They sold clothes, wool, groceries, etc. I moved to California 34 years ago and can honestly say that working for Bellmans was the best training I could possibly have had. Wonderful memories

    By Valerie Ingham (17/12/2014)
  • I was absolutely amazed when I saw the photo of the Bellman’s staff. My mother Rosa Lavender, nee Holmes, is in the front row, the third lady from the left in the white overall and I can also see an aunt of mine, Edna Thompson, nee Lavender, further back in the centre.

    By Anne Castle (24/02/2016)
  • A relative passed on this link to me today. Deeply enjoyed reading all the comments. I was particularly interested to read the one by Shara Ami Fata and am wondering if it is possible to be put in contact with her.
    [David- We will send her your email address and ask her to get in touch with you. Editorial team]

    By David Bellman (04/09/2016)
  • I was born in 1944 and mother knitted everything for me and as a child I remember going into Bellmans Wool Shop to select the wool. Because I was left handed, nobody seemed to be able to teach me to knit. BUT when I married and had my children, I managed to teach myself crochet from a little book costing 9d that I bought from Bellmans, I was hooked and still enjoy making baby shawls!

    By Grandmajim (10/09/2017)
  • Whilst researching Isaacs/Power family ancestry I came upon these comments re the Bellmans.
    My mother, Rebecca (Betty) Smith née Isaacs and Esther Bellman were 1st cousins; Esther’s mother Aunt Lily (Litman née Power) and my maternal grandmother Rachel (Isaacs) being sisters.
    I have very fond memories of (Great) Aunt Lily, Uncle Jack, Esther and Sydney Bellman who were lovely to my mother, brother and myself – and of staying with Esther, her family and (Great) Aunt Lily and Uncle Jack when we were children.
    Please, if possible, will you pass my email details on to David Bellman (although I notice his post was some years ago) as I would very much like to be in touch again, communicate memories from childhood and fill him in with family ‘history’ I have discovered if he is interested. I would welcome any contact from other family members too. Thank you. Clare Smith

    By Clare Smith (18/08/2019)
  • I used to go into Bellmans in London Road for the record department in the mid 1960’s. It was a great shop. Myself and a few friends would gather there and listen to new music. Bought some great albums there.

    By Allan Fowler (03/11/2019)
  • My aunt, Joan Foster, started working in Bellman’s when she left school, aged 14. This must have been c.1936-7. She worked there until around 1947 and loved it. She is probably in this picture. I would love to see the ones from 1943, mentioned above by Jennifer Goddard. Joan married a Canadian serviceman and emigrated after the war.

    By Anna Green (09/07/2020)
  • Correction to my last comment. My aunt, Joan Foster, worked in Bellman’s until around 1942/3 when she went to do war work in a munitions factory. Joan died in June 2019, leaving a big family of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in Canada. She loved to sing. Am I right in thinking that Bellman’s had a choir?

    By Anna Green (14/08/2020)

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