LAST week we had a pleasant drink in the café at Marks and Spencer’s in Macclesfield, but unfortunately, we no longer have a Marks and Spencer’s at Northwich.

Albeit that they never did have a café there, the company, however, has been in Northwich since 1908.

In 1884 a Polish refugee named Michael Marks opened a market stall in Leeds. His advertising stated that there was no need to ask the price; everything was a penny.

Ten years later he went into partnership with Thomas Spencer, and in 1904 they opened their first shop in an arcade in Leeds, a shop incidentally that is still there although not M&S. The company started to expand and in 1908 they opened a Penny Bazaar in High Street, Northwich, then as now a busy thoroughfare but then paved with setts.

Northwich Guardian:

Marks and Spencer as it was first opened in 1908

In 1926 M&S became a limited company with stores around the country, and as the brand grew, it was time to build a larger store in Northwich.

In 1933 the site of the old subsiding hotel in Witton Street, called The Ship Hotel situated on what was known as Ship Hill due to its name, was chosen as the location of their new much-expanded store.

Northwich Guardian:

The Ship Hotel was replaced by the town’s second M&S site in the 1930s

The hotel was demolished and the new store built on the large site. It was situated next to FW Woolworths giving the market town of Northwich an attractive shopping centre. Now Clintons Cards occupies the old M&S store.

Northwich Guardian:

Marks and Spencer in Witton Street

Leicester Street, once an area of mineworkings and poor houses was subjected to an expensive project to make the old abandoned mine workings there safe.

One of the mines was Barons Quay Mine, and next door was the slowly sinking Druids Arms pub with it’s the flowery named landlord Albert Isaiah Coffin Lees. Albert took over The Spinner and Burgamot at Comberbatch.

Northwich Guardian:

The third and final home of M&S, before it was closed this year

The work to secure the land was completed, the pub demolished and in 1979 a new Sainsbury’s store built. In 1992 Sainsbury’s moved to Venables Road, and M&S moved into the premises, soon after the Barons Quay shopping and leisure centre was built nearby and M & S decided to cut their ties with Northwich and move out. They did this on Saturday, August 17, this year.