During research for Made in the Fens, I came across some photos in the Lilian Ream collection held at Wisbech library.
One photo, taken in Castle Square, caught my eye. It’s of staff (I think) with a cart, lots of baskets and boxes, and a big sign saying how they’ve got some clothing that’s ready-to-wear and cheaper than you can make yourself!
It dates it to that period in time when production costs were going down and people had a little more money to spend.
It’s taken at the back of Evison’s. There’s a copy of it in the shop, along with one taken at the front, which I tried to reproduce here, but the street furniture got in the way!
If you compared the two, you’d notice the signage is just the same, which I think greatly contributes to the way our town looks.
I popped in this week and spoke to the owner, Neil Bullen, who took over from his father and grandfather, who bought the shop from the Evisons in the 1960s.
Before then, it belonged to the Loose family, who had a pawnbrokers in the building as well as the clothing. It was they who extended to the second building, and the Evisons who extended to the third – you can see from the outside just how big this place is.
Inside it’s a warren of rooms with clothing, workwear, schoolwear (including labcoats and aprons they use at the Grammar school) and camping things.
They’re all set for Spring/Summer, so whether you plan to picnic in the garden, or go for full-on camping, pop in as they’ve got all you need.
I like the wooden cabinets, drawers and other shop fittings (the building is Grade II listed), it feels comfortable, and you know you’re going to get traditional good service in there.
The products are often sought-after, so much so that they have people come from Peterborough and Cambridge as they can’t find what they need at home!
I think that’s a great strength of this town – we have the traditional, independent, interesting, shops that others will travel to. We should encourage more of them to open and support those that are here.
- Lorena’s company Red Barn Creative is registered not-for-profit, and offers creative classes and digital support.