There was a very lovely old picture of St Anns Lane in Whitby posted on Whitby Memories on Facebook recently and it inspired me to start an ongoing article about 4 St Anns Lane which is now a one of my holiday properties called a Whitby Harbour view apartment.
I’ve no doubt that the very old building has been many things over the decades but the one thing that was interesting about the recollections from the 60s and 70s of local Whitby people was just how important this building was to the community as a business during this time. The front shop was Lawson’s Electricals and from the memories of the people served Whitby as a TV, radio, general electrical appliances, sales, hire and repair business. Seemingly during the 60s and 70s, especially television sets were so expensive that people didn’t buy them mostly book on the could afford to hire them and with the contract they would also get a repair service from the shop.
These are some of the comments made by members of Whitby memories about the shop and it shows you how important it was to the community.
Memories from Sue Mallinson Caddis talking on Whitby memories to me and various other members about the shop on the St Anns Staith which has an entrance to the flat above up the side ally way called at 4 St Anns Lane. “The electrical shop was Lawson's Alan, and half way up the lane to the right you entered a room where smaller electrical items were displayed and stocked. My dad took me up there to choose a radio for one of my birthday.
The shop was down on the front street and was packed to the ginnels with stock, it had a small desk with a flap lid which enabled the staff to come out onto the shop floor to get items down from the shelves with workshop through the back.. You then walked up the side of the lane into the upper rooms that were obviously utilised to maximise sales and store bigger items as well as repairing broken TV's & Radio's. I remember Lawson's had a personal service wherein they would bring a selection of items out to your home for you to choose from in private...My dad had them do that a couple of times”.
On the right Lawson Bros of St Annes Staith
Alan Davidson "Thanks a lot Sue thats interesting, I only knew it had been an electrical shop because Geoffrey Wilson told me last week I think he was related to the owners. I bet it looks completely different now it’s one of the apartments I rent out to holiday makers, take a look if you’re interested about you don’t recognise the place”
Sue Mallinson Caddis “Its a lovely apartment Alan but ( its called Harbour View Apartment now ) tnnothing like I remember. There was only one main room for display purposes as far as I can remember and the rest was for storage and repair... I do remember something about cycle repair tool”
Also Valerie Thomson Appleton will kindly also contributed these interesting facts about the property and the time spent there.
“I worked in the office from 1972-73. At the entrance door on St Ann's Lane you turned right into the workshop where Richard Page worked. If you went up the stairs and turned right there were 2 offices. Peter and his father Arthur worked with their secretary Carol Robson from Glaisdale in the furthest and another 3 of us worked in the other. I think that from the back of the shop you could go into the workshop. Peter's sister Mary worked in the shop. All the washing machines, TV's , bikes etc to buy were in the warehouses up the yard next to Cheevers. Arthur Lawson lived in the flat above the shop and offices.
Here were lots of rent collectors that travelled as far as Loftus, Brotton etc People rented TVs Washers etc by the week. David and Harry Miall were two of them. There were quite a few electricians and TV repair men who went to people's homes to do repairs.
My sister got her first bike from Lawsons in 1958. It was a Raleigh Trent Tourist. I then acquired it 3 years later and used to cycle to school from St Mary's Crescent to the Grammar School. It was hard work getting up Green Lane. Dad made us look after it and every week we cleaned the chrome with Duraglit and polished the frame".
This article about St Anns Lane apartment and the shop premises facing the harbourat St Anns Lane will be updated as we get to know more of the building’s history so please call back.