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The Redruth Drapery Stores

4 W End, Redruth
TR15 2RZ,

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The Redruth Drapery Stores is an iconic Landmark; a testament to the history of Redruth. The steel frame construction was something very new in its day allowing it the grand glass frontage it displays today.  It was one of the first department stores of its kind in the South West, for as early as 1905, up until the 1950’s. Since then it has had many incarnations and served Redruth and the wider area well.
the West End Stores, Redruth the drapery
West End before the fire in 1916 – Cornwall Yesteryear 

 

In 1886 William Henry Sarra, who was usually know as W H Sarra, started the West End Drapery Stores in West End, Redruth. Sadly, in 1916 there was a catastrophic fire in West End which gutted the business premises of the West End Drapery Stores and several adjoining buildings. Over the following years, the West End Drapery Store remain in the family, passing to Willian Sarra’s daughter, Ethel and his son-in-law, Charles in 1913. They, in turn, passed in onto their son, Donald, and then their other son, Henry, in 1942.

 

“Steam Engine, Redruth,” cornishmemory.com, accessed April 25, 2024,

 

Henry changed the name to West End Departmental Stores, created the Christmas Caves and held Mannequin Parades in the store, also opened the Galleon Cafe. He expanded the merchandise to include toys, stationary, china and glass to add to the traditional drapery departments. There was even a Polyfoto studio where you could have your portrait taken. Henry was also instrumental in starting the Redruth Shopping Week together with other prominent business folk, which was supported by all the business in the town.

 

West End
Inside The West End Store – Cornwall Yesteryear

 

1970’s and Beyond

As the 1970’s began trading became more and more difficult with the arrival of supermarkets and other chain stores. The Redruth West End Drapery Stores closing down sale took place in the autumn of 1978. The premises were let to various tenants until another fire in 1986 brought everything to an end. The site was sold for development into residential accommodation.
The once West End Stores, was the first department store in the whole of England to run a mail order service, and is now an entertainment venue, hosting a whole host of events . You can find all sorts of things here, like food festivals, live music shows, wine tastings, talks, plays, comedy nights, classes, art displays, and even business gatherings. Most events will require tickets, but they will always advertise.

The Redruth Drapery, 4 West End, Redruth

With thanks to Cornwall Yesteryear for many insights into the Drapery. 
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