One of Camberley's lost department stores
12th November 2014
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The area around Osnaburgh Hill (just opposite St Michael's church) is now quite quiet, apart from the traffic rushing past on the London Road.  But, 150 years ago, it was where Yorktown (before the days of Camberley) started to expand as the settlement, built to service the RMA, grew more successful.  As well as new houses down the Frimley Road, shops and homes began to appear on the rise to the east of The Duke of York Hotel.

Richard Parnell Over opened his drapery business there, in 1857 and it was originally a single-fronted affair which had, co-incidentally, been built by his father in law (George Edwards) in 1850.  His four sons also became drapers but eventually only two remained in the business and a new, furniture, store was built nearer The Avenue.  After a major fire this was rebuilt to a design by the Poulter brothers - successful local architects - and this is the one that appears in the top vignette of the bill.

By the 1960s the centre of the town (called Camberley since the 1870s) had moved completely to the east, around the High Street and Park Street.  Overs built a smart new building there, combining both the furniture and the drapery business and this still stands, occupied by Primark.  A separate, removal business operated out of the old Poulter building.

I am not sure when the family decided to close the Park Street store, although they did keep both beds and white goods going for a while in smaller premises. However, by the time that the Mall was roofed over in the 1990s they had already gone and the building was altered to make a new entrance, directly into Main Square itself.  As I remember, Littlewoods were the first tenants........



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Claire the Gardener

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