Late Night Tales

Late Night Tales #2

Torquay, April 1896. “I regret to inform the family that Mr Skelton Cole has passed away at Braddon Court. The sea breezes did not cure him of illness after all. The wonderful success of the business is in no small measure to this gentleman. Only yesterday, he spoke affectionately about Thomas and John, and sincerely hoped that Sheffield would always have a Cole Brothers.” (Gone, but not forgotten, and this sign recently reappeared in defiance).

© 2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved


The signs come down and John Lewis disappears

Workcrews abseiled off of the roof of the store in Barkers Pool to remove the last letters of the John Lewis sign from Sheffield’s skyline. Photograph: Sheffield Star

The last call for John Lewis in Sheffield. The signs are down and its association with the city since the 1940s has been obliterated. It was one of eight stores axed nationally and brought to an end the history of Cole Brothers, the beginning of which went back to 1847, when John Cole, silk mercer and hosier, opened a shop at No.4 Fargate. He was later joined by his brothers, Thomas and Skelton Cole. Their Fargate store was taken over by Selfridge Provincial Stores in 1919, before being sold to the John Lewis Partnership. Cole Brothers moved to its purpose-built department store in 1963, and was renamed John Lewis in 2002. It never reopened after the lockdown and confirmation of its closure came in June.

The signs were lowered to ground level before carried away by work crews. Photograph: Sheffield Star
The John Lewis store by Barkers Pool closed down permanently in August after the decision was reportedly taken at the start of the third national lockdown. Photograph: Sheffield Star