Self-service arrived in the UK in the late 1940’s but was still uncommon in 1960. The summer of 1959 was the second hottest on record with temperatures soaring to 34°C. As only 13% of homes had fridges dried and tinned goods were essential to reduce wastage. The store has only a small chill cabinet.
How long have you been in business here and why Lewes?
1994. We bought it from another company that was closing down to be near where I live.
Have you found that there's anything that people have asked for more now after lockdown has been lifted?
I was doing emergency eye care via video link and telephone consultations in lockdown and visiting houses to repair the patients' spectacles. They would leave them on their porch, and I would repair them in my car.
What's been your favourite single moment/interaction while trading during lockdown or after having re-opened?
The look of relief on an elderly gentleman’s face when I turned up on his doorstep with the repaired spectacles that he had stood on! I also did emergency retinal laser scans for patients sent by the hospital who were worried about their retinas.
If you had the chance, which past Lewes High Street shop would you most like to re-introduce and why?
Proper hardware store.
Of all the events and meetings that happen on the High Street which are you most looking forward to experiencing again when social restrictions are eased?
Paul at Wilson Wilson & Hancock
Pictured: Paul, Rachel & Claire