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Memories of The Louvre in the 1950's by June Wright (nee Baxter), 2007
Memories of "The Louvre" - 1950's

In the early 50’s I worked at the Louvre in Rushden High Street.  It was owned by Mr & Mrs J Capel.  They stocked a very good range of haberdashery, materials and gloves etc. downstairs and upstairs a millinery showroom.  We started work which meant being behind the counters by 9.00 am, before that we had swept our doorway and the pavement of the whole shop, and all window sills wiped down.  As I remember every shop adopted this practice.

There were always two chairs at the counters on the customer’s side for the customers to sit on and make their choice.  If the customer wanted buttons they told us the colour required and we then produced a card with a sample of every button of that colour we had, for them to choose.  All the buttons on this card was stitched on by the staff.  Outside the shop in front of the window was a long narrow bench which was full with rolls of materials which was put out each day.  I think prices were about 1/9 a yard, about 8p today.  We always had 10 minutes break morning and afternoon when we used to go to Mr & Mrs Capel’s lounge to have coffee.  If the shop got busy during our break Mrs Capel would knock the door.  You did not keep the customers waiting.

We were always kept busy, everything had to be marked by the staff.  We used to hand stitch little labels and sizes of everything including every pair of gloves.  In those days we sold a tremendous amount of gloves, everyone wore them and you were not dressed without them.

At 12 noon each day Mr Capel took a High Street stroll, I think to the local for his daily pint.  I remember we did have lots of very nice customers.  The ladies always seemed so nice to serve a talk to.  They often came in from the surrounding villages and spent quite a time choosing their pure wool winter vests etc.  There was never any serve yourself or rush or aggravation.  Shopping always seemed to be a pleasure and being a shop assistant a very satisfying, rewarding job.

Editor's note: We have no pictures of this shop - if you have one and you'll allow us to copy we'd be pleased to hear from you.

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