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931, LO/286/237
Leicester Oral History Archive Collection

Speaker: Clarke, John, 1921 - , Interviewee, Male, Retailing executive director;
Speaker: Aurcott, S, Interviewer, Female

Summary of interview item: Recalls working for Simpkin and James department store in Leicester from 1935 as an errand boy working his way up to Executive Director until the store closed in 1971. Describes in detail the company, opening hours and departments. Comments on high standards of services in the shop. Recalls joining the wine and spirits department and details various training courses he attended through out his career with Simpkin and James. Describes staff dress, ways of addressing staff and directors and types of clients. Mentions other stores in Leicester and Simpkin's being equal to Fortnum and Masons in London. Effects of Second World War on store described. Describes management style, staff benefits, staff party and store security. Details cash system and names departments and branch shops. Gives prices of various drinks when he started work. Recalls the bakery, florist department and division of male/female labour in the store. Details the effects of the Second World War on the store and the delivery services. Details his work in Wines and spirits department after the war and becoming manager. Recalls the store closing in 1971 and the public out cry this caused. Mentions starting his own business.
Place of birth: Enderby, Leicestershire
Education: to age 14
Marital Status: , Children:
Father's Occupation:
Mother's Occupation:
Location: County: Leicestershire
Location: Town/Place: Leicester
Periods Covered: 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s
Language: English

Recording Date: 17/6/1986
Playing time: 36 mins
Access Restrictions: Full Clearance Item Copyright: EMOHA
Summary: Yes
Transcription: No
Copies: yes
Cross Reference:

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Last updated: 08/05/02
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