Bye Bye Bodgers: Share your memories of the iconic department store

PUBLISHED: 12:13 28 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:13 28 July 2017

Historic images of the Bodgers store.

Historic images of the Bodgers store.

Ceidog Communications

Residents have been reacting with sadness that the town’s iconic department store, Bodgers, will close.

For many, the store offered them their first job, or they have fond memories of shopping for bargains there.

Reporter Richard Wyatt shared his fond memories of working in the children’s clothing department back in 2006

He said; “It was quiet then, but you got to know the regulars, many of whom were pensioners coming in for the café.

“One couple in particular must’ve been in their 70s, but they would constantly rib each other’s choices while browsing clothes for their grandchild.

“It had me in stitches.”

One incident particularly stuck out in Richard’s memories - it is unconfirmed if this prompted his move into journalism.

He said: “I was covering the photo studio while someone went on lunch, and a small child appeared out of nowhere and bit me on the leg!

“His dad soon followed, who scolded me for swearing in front of his child.”

The 70 members of staff were told of the closure at a meeting at 9.30am yesterday.

Executive chairman of Morleys Stores Group, which purchased the store in 1959, Bernard Dreesmann said it had been a difficult decision.

He said: “This has been an exceptionally difficult decision as we have been serving the Ilford community since 1959 however the continued challenging trading environment and a drift of customers in particular to Westfield in Stratford has made it impossible for us to find a successful trading format.”

It is intended that the store will cease trading in February next year.

Councillor Helen Coomb, cabinet member for regeneration, property and planning, said she would miss the stores variety of goods.

She said: “It is sad news that one of Ilford’s best known shops is facing closure.

“Bodgers has been an iconic establishment in the borough for over 125 years with a treasure trove of goods on sale.

“I am certain shoppers will be saddened by this recent announcement.

“It is an end of an era and we hope that all the staff affected are able to find new job opportunities.”

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