It was August 1930, Cole Brothers at the corner of Fargate and Church Street, had been part of Selfridge Provincial Stores (owned by Harry Gordon Selfridge) for ten years.
There was excitement with news that Miss Amy Johnson’s aeroplane, a Gypsy Moth called ‘Johnnie’, was travelling overnight by lorry to go on display in Cole Brothers shop window.
The plane had been presented to her in Hyde Park, London, by Air Vice-Marshal Sir Sefton Brancker, Director of Civil Aviation, and was a replica of the ‘Jason’ machine in which Amy Johnson had made her epoch-making flight to Australia. She intended to use the aeroplane for pleasure flying.
It had been funded by the Daily Sketch, with the help of readers of the Sheffield Daily Telegraph and Yorkshire Telegraph and Star, and had been on view at Selfridges in London.
‘Johnnie’ was displayed at Cole Brothers for one week, creating enjoyment for the huge crowds that gathered in front of the store.
But there had already been an Amy Johnson connection with Sheffield.
She graduated from Sheffield University in 1925 having studied Latin, French and Economics. She then became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia after buying a single engine De Havilland Gypsy Moth aircraft naming it ‘Jason’.
Amy Johnson died in 1941 after a plane she was flying crashed into the Thames Estuary.