Jacksons department store, a much loved Reading landmark closed its doors for the final time on the 24th December 2013 after 138 years of trading. The store provided local shoppers with a range of oddities including lawn bowls equipment, school uniforms, wool, craft items and clothing. The old style interior with its wooden counters, drawers and quirky store layout made it really quite quaint, coupled with the service bells it really gave you the feeling you had walked into a scene from 'Are you Being Served?' The store still used a manual till system issuing hand written receipts and cash was deposited into a lamson pneumatic cash system, it was a particular treat to see the cash whoosh away up the tubes to the offices.
The store re-opened its doors again briefly on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of January 2014 so that the remaining fittings and fixtures could be viewed ready for a public auction. During this period the entire store, plus all the back rooms were open to the public creating a unique opportunity to the to see parts of the store that were normally 'out of bounds' to ordinary folk. Realising that this was the very last opportunity to visit such a historic landmark I decided to go along and see what was on offer. Unfortunately I didn't realise quite how much there was to see and I went ill equipped with just my phone in hand! All of the photos here were from this visit.
Once away from the shop floor the store layout was like something from a crooked house, it took me over two hours to explore the entire premises with stairs and doors and rooms that seemed to never end, the routes often mysteriously taking you back to where you started. I'm certain there are some rooms tucked away in the odd place that I missed. During my visit I worked my way all the way up the stairs on one side of the building and down the other-side into the cellars, with a few diversions where I got lost, eventually finishing my journey back on the shop floor. As a casual visitor to this store over the years I certainly never realised how much area the store covered. It was quite an experience to wander around a building with such a rich history, I'm sure some parts of it remained the same since the day it was built. Within the rooms were various items from the stores history including mannequins, old wooden tills, counters, chest, safes and general Jackson's memorabilia. Many of the rooms had a sense of eerie abandonment, especially if you found yourself alone in some of the larger storerooms, some of the offices looked like people just got up and left.
I am sure that the store with its sweeping sign and somewhat odd window displays, often featuring the freakishly weird 'Cruella' child mannequin will be missed by many locals. The store finally closed due to a mounting repair costs and diminishing sales. Although the building is sold the future use of the building remains a mystery.
See below for a list of links about Jacksons
about the Lamson System
see more about the auction here;
facebook page dedicated to the widow displays
#jacksonscorner #jacksonsreading #jacksons #readingberkshire #jacksonscornerreading
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