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Vintage photographs of store's history

Published: 20 Jul 2012 17:001 comment

VINTAGE images of Greenock town centre dating back to the 1930s have been uncovered as they get set to feature in a unique online archive.

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Clothing and food retailer Marks and Spencer's long history in Greenock can be explored for the very first time as part of the firm's new online company archive.

The 'Marks In Time' website features more than 70,000 items, including photographs that chart the history of the retailer's presence in the town.

Greenock's association with the company dates back to 4 December 1936 when the store first opened at 57 Hamilton Way in the town centre.

During the Second World War it had a tea room, which was very popular with shoppers and often had long queues.

The store even managed to survive the war unscathed, despite the hundreds of bombs that rained down on Clydeside.

This was thanks to efforts of staff who worked nightshifts in order to keep up a 'fire watch'.

The war ended and several years later, the store made the short move to 33 Hamilton Way and the town centre continued to grow around it, with the street being pedestrianised in 1975.

The Oak Mall shopping centre was then built to encompass several town centre stores, including M&S, in the 1990s.

As retail trends changed over the decades, the store became more established as a key high street retailer and underwent a number of redevelopment programmes to evolve into the shop customers in Greenock know today.

The branch's longest serving member of staff recently retired after dedicating 40 years to the company.

Angela Davidson, whose mother also worked in the store, met her husband Bobby there, as he was one of the contractors refitting the store in 1968.

Greenock store manager, Mark McCafferty, said: "It is incredible that Marks and Spencer has been trading in Greenock for so long.

"It is fascinating to look back on how the store survived the war, and how the staff contributed to the war effort."

Inverclyde residents can view archive photos and information about the Greenock store at the website marksintime.marksandspencer.com

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