Leisure => Retail => Department Stores => Topic started by: peterchall on November 06, 2010, 15:16:24

Title: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: peterchall on November 06, 2010, 15:16:24
I have a vague recollection that Featherstone's had a strange system whereby you chose your goods at the counter in the usual way, but then had to go to a 'check-out' department where you waited for your purchases to be sent there. Or was it that your money was sent to a central cashier via the vacuum tubes or overhead railway, and you had to wait for change and receipts to be returned? Either way, I remember shopping with my mother there was a tedious affair, yet she swore by them. Was there some sort of 'dividend' system, similar to the co-op?
Title: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: MOK on November 06, 2010, 15:23:04
Yes, second option, the money was sent by overhead wire to a cashiers department. You then stood gazing vacantly into space while they prepared your reciept, put the small change in the canister and pinged it back. You could have easily walked over there in this waiting time, but I suppose one had to conform to the routine. :) They did have the suction tubes to do the same job from the upstairs floor.
Boring, I have to agree, but as said before, my old mum loved the place. You could get stuff on tick too I believe.
Title: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: The Sheppey Kingmaker on November 07, 2010, 10:10:43
Was the Feathertone shop in the 1972 picture ever a Coaching Inn? If not could anyone tell me anything about it history.

I would be pleased with any help you can give me in this matter.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: twistedpretender on June 18, 2011, 14:55:26
I definitely have a recollection of the vacuum tube system, and I remember childhood visits to Featherstones before the Pentagon opened. As I recall they occupied at least three different shops along Chatham High Street.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: peterchall on June 18, 2011, 15:42:29
The only one I remember is the one opposite Gundulph Road, although it may have been more than one shop at the same location. There was a photo somewhere on KHF.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Bryn Clinch on June 18, 2011, 16:44:47
Featherstones, Bell Road, Sittingbourne also had suction tubes and I think you could buy `on tick` there as well.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: seafordpete on June 18, 2011, 16:53:56
Had a browse through the old phone books in ancestry
1922 233 Rochester High St, 106 Broadway Sheerness

1923 375 Rochester High St, 166 Parrock St Gravesend, Bell House Bell La Sittingbourne

1934, 1958, 1964  Old Palace Gate Palace St Canterbury, 375 Rochester High St, 46/50 Earl St Maidstone, 106 Broadway Sheerness,
,Bell House Bell La Sittingbourne

The early adverts describe them as "Universal Providers"
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Bryn Clinch on June 18, 2011, 17:08:39
Just had it confirmed that you could buy `on tick`. My wife`s brother-in-law used travel around on his`bike collecting the payments.

Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Bryn Clinch on June 18, 2011, 17:18:17
Had a browse through the old phone books in ancestry
1922 233 Rochester High St, 106 Broadway Sheerness

1923 375 Rochester High St, 166 Parrock St Gravesend, Bell House Bell La Sittingbourne

1934, 1958, 1964  Old Palace Gate Palace St Canterbury, 375 Rochester High St, 46/50 Earl St Maidstone, 106 Broadway Sheerness,
,Bell House Bell La Sittingbourne

The early adverts describe them as "Universal Providers"

Just discovered that it`s the Bell CENTRE that`s being demolished to make way for Travelodge. It looks as if Bell House will remain which was opposite Featherstones.

I`m a bit puzzled by "Bell House". Sittingbourne. As far as I can remember Bell House was built after Featherstones left and was on the opposite side of Bell Road, but I suppose the new Bell House could have taken its name from the Featherstone building. I think some of is being demolished at the moment to make way for a travel lodge.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Lyn L on June 18, 2011, 17:28:02
The three I remember in Rochester High St were the Carpet Dept , opposite the Synagogue, ( worked there for a while ) it was originally 'home' to the Featherstone family I think , I was shown the small family Chapel upstairs there, and next door was the newest building which is now the Bike shop, then the last one was just along a bit opposite the Gundulph Rd and is the one shown in the other thread, strange I can't remember what the other two sold now but have a feeling Fashion was in that last one, shall have to look at the pic in the other thread and see what was in the window.
Also remember one lady who used to come round collecting payments from my M-in-Law, long before I worked there though.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: prb on June 18, 2011, 17:44:23
I believe they were coal merchants as well
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: MOK on June 18, 2011, 19:42:14
Lyn L, the one that is now a bike shop was electrical goods, there was a downstairs that did radio, hi-fi and TV
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Lyn L on June 18, 2011, 20:46:48
Thanks for the reminder MOK, I do remember that now, I'd forgotten the downstairs, mind you  it was 1975 when I worked in Carpets.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: peterchall on June 18, 2011, 22:28:00
The only one I remember is the one opposite Gundulph Road, although it may have been more than one shop at the same location. There was a photo somewhere on KHF.
There is aphoto and another thread here: http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=8611.0
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: AlanH on June 21, 2011, 08:58:37
When I lived in Maidstone Rd Cookham Wood there was a man lived further down towards Valley View Rd who was a salesman in the bedding department at the Featherstones near Gundulph Rd.
This was in the late 50s or early 60s and he won 75K on the football pools, the biggest prize then available.
I believe he very quickly resigned  :) and moved to a very nice address not more than a mile or so away.
Slightly irrelevant I know, but all history.
AlanH.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Bryn Clinch on June 21, 2011, 09:25:51
What happened to Featherstones ? Were they `swallowed up` by another company or just ceased trading ?
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Lyn L on June 21, 2011, 09:32:31
I believe they just ceased trading, apparently the whole buildings are still owned by the family, but I might have to be corrected on that. One of the bosses ( Chris Featherstone ?) used to race cars in the 70s but what sort I have no idea, didn't see him very often.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Rochester-bred on June 21, 2011, 10:45:28
I bought my wedding dress pattern for 1 and material for 9 from Featherstones back in the 70s and made the most Fab wedding dress for my wedding.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: N0SEY on June 21, 2011, 12:31:52
This may be of interest

http://www.featherstonesproperty.com/history.htm
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Barrowboy on June 21, 2011, 17:04:01
I recently bought a new bike from Cycle King (now trading from the original Featherstone building). From the carpark at the rear of the shop I was surprised (and delighted) to see the rear weatherboarding to the main Featherstone shop.

Regarding vacuum tube systems, they are still used today in supermarkets and hospitals. I worked, for many years, in the pathology department at Maidstone Hospital and was involved with the installation of a tube system from key clinical areas to the laboratory. Once installed, it greatly improved the efficiency and turnaround time for test results for patient treatment.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Fred the Needle on September 06, 2011, 14:20:54
I believe they just ceased trading, apparently the whole buildings are still owned by the family, but I might have to be corrected on that. One of the bosses ( Chris Featherstone ?) used to race cars in the 70s but what sort I have no idea, didn't see him very often.

At one point he raced a Formula 5000 car.  These looked like F1 cars but were powered by 5 litre pushrod V8's from American cars (don't you just love a geek).  If I recall correctly, Chris Featherstone's one was a Lola, maybe beige or orange, with a spaceframe chassis (you're boring everyone Fred  :)) and it was at least one season old when he got it.  I think there was an article in the Medway News about how he was going to win the Championship and I remember thinking "...not in THAT you won't..."

I remember Featherstones as they were the official school outfitters for the Math school and as such charged a fortune for the uniform - other, more savvy people (than my parents) bought the same stuff at about two thirds the price elsewhere.  I also seem to recall that they had salesmen who travelled around and you could order stuff from.  Then they'd come and collect the money either as a lump,or on the "never never".  A bit like the men from the Pru.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Bryn Clinch on September 06, 2011, 18:30:29
This may be of interest

http://www.featherstonesproperty.com/history.htm

I was surprised that there is no mention of the Sittingbourne branch, which was in Bell Road, just beyond Packers, the shop with the `arched` entrance.

http://www.hrgs.co.uk/local-images/category/48-bell-road-images



Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: KeithJG on July 31, 2015, 16:15:26
The three I remember in Rochester High St were the Carpet Dept , opposite the Synagogue, ( worked there for a while ) it was originally 'home' to the Featherstone family I think , I was shown the small family Chapel upstairs there, and next door was the newest building which is now the Bike shop, then the last one was just along a bit opposite the Gundulph Rd and is the one shown in the other thread, strange I can't remember what the other two sold now but have a feeling Fashion was in that last one, shall have to look at the pic in the other thread and see what was in the window.
Also remember one lady who used to come round collecting payments from my M-in-Law, long before I worked there though.

Yes, that small squarish Featherstones opposite the Synagogue did sell motorbikes and my friend bought his Lambretta GT200 from them in 1965.

I don`t know anything about the Featherstone Family or where they lived but my stepmother in the `30`s/ `40`s used to work for them at a house they lived in up the Chatham Maidstone Road. She was always telling me how tight they were with money and she used to scrub their front door step as part of her work.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: Lyn L on July 31, 2015, 18:11:49
It does look as though there is some work being done on the 'house' , architects board outside now, and it does look as though it has been cleaned up a bit on the exterior.
Title: Re: Featherstones Chatham
Post by: KeithJG on July 31, 2015, 19:19:26
Just had a look on Google maps Lyn L  and my "squarish" looking Featherstones is more to the left from the synagogue and your house is more to the right of it.

It is now Spemco Manufacturing!

I stand to be corrected the cycles was number 357 High St...the picture is number 337