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Author Topic: Lefevres Department Store in Canterbury - now Debenhams  (Read 7159 times)

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Offline JohnWalker

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Re: Lefevres Department Store in Canterbury - now Debenhams
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2013, 21:04:31 »
Hi Maid of Kent.  The Lefevres Christmas Grotto was still magic in the 50s - had the cavern, streams, bridges, lights and dwarves etc. We really did think we'd been to see Father Christmas - highlight of our year (even if he did have bad breath!).  As you say by the 60s - it was nothing like previous - cost cutting etc.  Now Debenham's  Father Christmas sit on a chair under the stairs to the furniture department - it would be better not to have one at all.

The big staircases are still there but no murals.

JW

Offline Maid of Kent

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Re: Lefevres Department Store in Canterbury - now Debenhams
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2013, 20:52:12 »
To me the most prominent feature of the store was the Mural, a copy of a well known painting of 'The Canterbury Tales' but done in rather 1920s style colours, that was on the walls of the large staircase between the ground and first floor - it was there in my childhood (1940s) and still there in the 60s and even later I beleive. In the 40s I am sure the restaurant was at the top of those stairs somewhere.

I remember going to see the Christmas Grotto prob about 1938 0r 9 which featured the magic caverns of the Dwarves from Snow White - absolute magic but during and after the war the magic had gone. I was most disapointed when I took my little children to the grotto in the mid 60s - or had I just grown up and got a bit cynical?

Another memory for me, was sitting with the rest of my school (Aldbourne PNEU School of Tankerton) at the windows of the first floor of the store, overlooking Palace Street to watch as the King and Queen and the two Princesses drove past in an open landau to attend the rededication of the Cloister Roof at the Cathedral.

Offline ashwood

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Re: Lefevres Department Store in Canterbury - now Debenhams
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2013, 18:45:54 »
I also have memories of the delightful Lefevre Restaurant, late 40 used to have a musical trio playing away whilst one enjoyed their afternoon tea served by nicely attired waitresses.

seafordpete

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Re: Lefevres Department Store in Canterbury - now Debenhams
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2011, 11:47:12 »
Ok, only a vague recollection of it from 10 minutes once a week for a year or so. Probably more worried about getting the cups washed up and everyone back to work  :)

Offline JohnWalker

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Re: Lefevres Department Store in Canterbury - now Debenhams
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2011, 11:07:42 »
Was it a mural? I have a feeling it was made up of tiles, not mosaic but decorated to form the picture rather than painted directly on the wall. I worked there in the late 1960s and we used to use the cafe for our tea break on early closing day as the canteen was shut

It was definately a very large image of Apollo and a chariot.  It was in sort of white plaster relief on a maroon background.  With the seating arrangement as it was in the 50s the mural was at right angles to the counter.  The cafe I'm describing was by the door as you come in from the Guildhall Street.  The current ground floor cafe is at the opposite end of the shop opposite the cathedral gateway.  There was a restaurant in the vaults underneath but I think that is closed now.

John

seafordpete

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Re: Lefevres Department Store in Canterbury - now Debenhams
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2011, 08:42:34 »
Was it a mural? I have a feeling it was made up of tiles, not mosaic but decorated to form the picture rather than painted directly on the wall. I worked there in the late 1960s and we used to use the cafe for our tea break on early closing day as the canteen was shut

Offline JohnWalker

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Re: Lefevres Department Store in Canterbury - now Debenhams
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2011, 21:34:44 »
Reply #40
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4776.30

Thanks for the link Bryn.  Most of that thread relates to the Chatham Lefevres but is still very interesting.

What I'm hoping for is some interior shots of the Canterbury store in the 50s and in particular the Apollo adn Chariot wall relief in the ground floor cafe.

John

Offline Bryn Clinch

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Offline JohnWalker

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Lefevres Department Store in Canterbury - now Debenhams
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2011, 19:49:33 »
I have many fond memories of this store during the 1950s.  Much of Canterbury was still in ruins from the war.   

My parents would take the family into Lefevres most Saturdays for tea and a cake in the ground floor cafe.  On the first floor was a 'posh' restaurant with glass top whicker tables and I believe palms in large pots.  The large windows all down the side were stained glass and can still be seen from the outside in Guildhall Street.

The Father Christmas Grotto was quite special for it's time with streams and moving figures etc.  As a child it really was like fairyland - probably wouldn't be acceptable under Health and Safety these days.

One thing that sticks in my mind about the ground floor cafe mentioned above, was a large mural in white relief of Apollo and a Chariot against a maroon background.

Does anyone else remember this and better still does anyone else have any photos of the store in the 50's?

 

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