Hoadleys closes its doors

Hoadleys held a closing down sale in August, 1983
Hoadleys held a closing down sale in August, 1983

In August, 1983, Hoadleys of Burgess Hill, the oldest department store in Mid Sussex, closed its doors after 126 years of trading.

Store controller, Sidney Thurlow told the Middy: “Department stores don’t quite have the pull they used to have.”

Manager, Barry Wootton added: “Many customers have said they are disappointed - but, of course, these are the customers you only see once a year.”

Hoadleys was founded in 1857 and until the early 1940s also had grocery shops in Seaford and Ditchling.

In the 1930s, Hoadleys’ advertisements appeared on the front page of the Middy each week and back then, a made-to-measure suit cost up to five guineas and a sports jacket 12 shillings and 6d.

Hoadleys survived through the first half of the 20th century against stiff competition from the likes of Hannington’s and Stafford’s in Brighton and George Hilton’s furniture store in Haywards Heath.

The store became such an integral part of town life that the site where it traded from is affectionately referred to - even to this day - as ‘Hoadleys Corner’.

The store, on the corner of Junction Road and Station Road, was at “the top of the town” and sold quality goods.

Myrtle Fines recalls: “It was definitely posh and I thought it was a bit pricy. You could spend a long time looking at things but probably not buy anything!”

Hilary Black, who occasionally visited Hoadleys as a girl, added: “I remember there was a delicatessen, clothes and furniture. It was like an Aladdin’s Cave - bigger on the inside than the outside suggested.”

The family sold Hoadleys in the 1940s but it remained in Sussex ownership until 1972. It was sold to a London company before being 
bought by Wendovers, who took the decision to close it in 1983.

Do you remember Hoadleys? Send your memories to: dianne.jones@jpress.co.uk