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It’s coming home: Appeal to bring Ilford Bodgers photo back to borough

PUBLISHED: 17:05 11 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:05 11 July 2018

Maude Ellen Bodger holding hands with her elder of two children, Frances Evelyn. Photogrpah taken in 1908. Picture: Helen Jenkins

Maude Ellen Bodger holding hands with her elder of two children, Frances Evelyn. Photogrpah taken in 1908. Picture: Helen Jenkins

Archant

Love or hate Ilford, very few would disagree that Bodgers department store, in all its locations and formats, was a town centre icon.

Rob Abrahams standing with the photograph.  Picture: Helen JenkinsRob Abrahams standing with the photograph. Picture: Helen Jenkins

In fact, many residents shed a collective metaphorical tear when the store, in Station Road, shut down in February of this year, and plans have now been submitted to turn the site into a 42-storey housing complex.

The Bodgers legacy is not over yet however after a beautiful photograph was unearthed of the shop’s founding family.

It was found in storage boxes at Morley’s of Bicester, Oxfordshire, more than 75 miles away from Ilford.

Staff are now on the hunt to trace descents of the Bodger family. The photograph depicts Maude Ellen Bodger (wife of founder John) and the eldest of two children, six-year-old Frances Evelyn.

Caption on the photogrpah. Picture: Helen JenkinsCaption on the photogrpah. Picture: Helen Jenkins

They are appealing to Redbridge residents who might be in contact with any relations so they can return the well-preserved family heirloom.

“We are part of the Morley’s group (along with Bodgers), but specialise in educational furniture, supplying all schools across the country,” said managing director, Rob Abrahams.

“The picture is not relevant to our business, and regardless, we feel very strongly that it would be better placed with the family, assuming there are some living relatives.

“It is a very beautiful photograph and deserves to be placed in an appropriate location.”

The store want to pass the picture back to the Bodgers family . Picture: Helen JenkinsThe store want to pass the picture back to the Bodgers family . Picture: Helen Jenkins

When Bodgers stopped trading after more than 127 years, any surplus stock and fittings were packed up and shipped to sister shops for storage.

While cleaning out the stock room, eagled-eyed staff spotted the portrait in between dusty boxes.

Instead of disposing of it, the company wants to give it to someone who will quite rightly value it.

“If there are no relatives then we would be happy for this to be given to the local museum, as the Bodgers store has been part of the history of Ilford for a long time.”

The store want to pass the picture back to the Bodgers family . Picture: Helen JenkinsThe store want to pass the picture back to the Bodgers family . Picture: Helen Jenkins

You might have memories of Bodgers, but do you have any memories of the Bodgers family? If you are related to John, Maude or Frances or know the whereabouts of someone who is please call the Recorder on 020 8477 3903.

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