The Trust's archive is continuing to grow through the generous contribution of material from numerous donors. The items held include oral memories, personal photographs, posters, maps and more. On this page is a donation that came from Australia! It is a wonderful promotional leaflet for the opening of the Welwyn Department Stores' new store in 1939.
Calling itself the 'Finest Shopping Centre in Hertfordshire', the new store was to be opened by Lord Harmsworth on Monday 26th June at 2.30pm. The guide invites potential customers to 'Come and look over this marvellous new County Store' offering 'Over Sixty Departments', a 'Restaurant with open-air balconies', 'Cheap Rail Fares from all parts of the County' and a 'Free Car-Park for over 400 Cars'.
During the opening week Fashion Parades were to be held every afternoon (except Wednesdays) at 3.30pm with music provided by the Grosvenor Four Band. There would also be over seventy demonstrations & special displays including 'Display of perfumes and aids to beauty… Demonstration of aluminium spinning… Display showing the evolution of the electric lamp… Display of footwear through the ages… Clarice Cliff pottery-demonstration of hand-painting of this pottery… Art needlework… Sweet-making demonstration. Free samples… Waterman's Pens and Inks. Special display with a handwriting competition… Display and demonstration of Kodak cameras and films'. For children there were balloon races, birds & bird-cages, and a 'Special display of Propert's polishes, together with the actual saddle used by Buffalo Bill!'
Men could purchase Lounge Suits in 'A fine selection of this season's material for town, country formal or sports wear…. Tailored or Ready for Service'. Boys clothing included ' 'Beau Brummel' Boys' Knickers in Harris Tweed' and 'Luvisca Tailored Blouses'. Under the heading 'Juvenile Welfare' the store claimed it's 'X-ray Shoe-fitting service ensures perfect fit and comfort for little feet'.
Ladies might be tempted by a 'Really Chic Gown in Chesro pure silk… Makes a charming ensemble with the Model Hat' (the latter made exclusively for the Welwyn Garden City Stores). Other delights included a 'French Feather Boudoir Cape… A bewitching Parisian trifle that gives gossamer-weight cosiness' and lingerie described as 'Inexpensive Daintiness. Wolsey 'La France', designed in Paris. Pure Silk set in Lagoon, Peach and Ivory'.
The wonderfully illustrated map above shows the parts of Hertfordshire served by 'the finest and largest store in the county'. Below are a selection of some of the illustrations.
If you would like to add something to the Trust's archive documents can be loaned for scanning, after which they will be returned to you, or donated outright. Please do get in touch with us.