When R.P.M. Was King
Good times and bad times seem to go in cycles. The 1960’s, especially the first half, were boom times for Rye.
This little market town of 4,500 people drew in regular clientele from a ten mile radius. Families came to get their weekly provisions from the excellently stocked little shops that were famous for their quality and variety. Rye boasted shopping facilities that could provide everything. Parking was adequate and free and traffic wardens had not been invented.
Retail price maintenance was king and a 2lb. bag of sugar cost the same in every shop in the land. So did every other retail commodity. In those days the successful businesses were those that provided the best service and staff and supplied the special ingredient that made shopping fun. Remember the Bannister Brothers? It was a joke a minute in their ironmongery store in Cinque Ports Street, everyone left with a smile, they were all treated the same, even if their requirement bad been just a few washers.
Then there was Alfred Horner in the Landgate. No family with children ever went short, even if their account was weeks late being settled. Imagine, in those days most people had their grocery on a weeks credit. The order went in, it was got up by the grocer into cardboard boxes and delivered to the door by the delivery boy on his carrier bike. Payment was made the following week when the new order was placed. Try that at Tesco!
There are many other things to be said for the 1960’s. It was a time of new consumer commodities. Televisions, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, fridges and freezers all became necessities. Things that had hitherto been regarded as luxuries, enjoyed only by the rich, became the norm as earnings rose and credit became readily available.
Rye traders were well prepared to accommodate the new boom in consumer goods and the local Television & Electrical business of J. E. Hollands & Sons won several national competitions as the highest selling single retail unit in Britain.
British fashion became the in thing and Carnaby Street led the way. Rye was not too far behind and as is well known, the most beautiful girls in the world come from Rye, so the High Street fashion shops were very busy.
Mini-skirts and Beatles music were all the rage, the new Post Office and Police Station Buildings in Cinque Ports Street were opened. Rye United was high in the County League and Rye Wheelers swept all before them. Yes! The sixties were indeed Boom Times for the Ancient Town. Sorry if you missed them.
“Rye’s Own” August 2000
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