Claridges – a great local company, but do you remember Percy?

Come to think of it’ I’ve seen susrprisingly few post-war pictures of Walsall Wood High Street. All we seem to have are images like this – beautiful indeed – from John Sale and Bill Mayo’s book ‘Memories of old Walsall Wood’

I’ve had a couple of appeals reach me in the last couple of days, one from Pat at Clartidges, and one from Emma Kempson from Pioneer Magazines in Aldridge who are writing an article celebrating 60 years of the local electrical retailer’s trading.

Claridges is a longstanding and well-respected local company with stores in Brownhills and Walsall Wood, and it’s rare indeed to see an independent electrical sales shop that survives and thrives.

The wonderful local photographer Peter Booth took this image in the 1980s of the Brownhills store.

The only image I have is this one of the Brownhills store, taken by Peter Booth in the 1980s from this set. I shall seek his permission to share it for publication.

Emma wrote:

Hi Bob,

I regularly find information from your blog and have come across it again today, hence my reason for e-mailing.

I am from the Pioneer magazines and I am currently putting together an article for Claridge Electricals. It is their 60th year of trading and so we are writing a little about the history of the business, alongside what services they offer nowadays. Upon a Google search your blogs come up quite often with reference to the late Percy Claridge. I was wondering if you had any information on him or the business, or more importantly, any photographs of either of the shops/the Claridges that we could publish? I have spoken to Percy’s ex wife (now Mrs Reade) and she was most helpful but she was unable to locate any photographs.

If you could help out that would be gratefully appreciated, and we can of course thank you in the article. Not to worry if you don’t have anything but it’s always worth asking!

Many thanks,
Emma Kempson

If you’ve got any memories or photos, please do get in touch. In the mean time, Claridges was the first place I ever saw a digital camera (although not truly digital – technically a video still camera) – the Canon Ion that took bizarre 2 inch floppy discs.

 It was another five years before digital photography took hold.

Any contributions? You’re most welcome. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Claridges has always been the go-to place for local electrical goodies: This advert from the Brownhills Gazette, June 1991.

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14 Responses to Claridges – a great local company, but do you remember Percy?

  1. kathy bull nee [cooper] says:

    hi i worked for Percy at the Walsall Wood shop think about 1971 ,he was a great chap to work for ,had many laughs sold lots of hi fi and rented many tv,s and washing machines ,when I went to leave he came to my house and asked me to stay I did for a while but bigger wages in the factories were calling,i didn’t regret my time working for him I enjoyed it ,and there were great customers and regulars who came in ,I never worked at the Brownhills shop but will always remember my time working for him .

  2. aerreg says:

    hi david you have stired my grey matter again the seven row lichfield row was on the corner of what is now school ave i spent my teenage years next to it it was also known to us as foxalls row after familes who lived there at the end was another old brownhills treasure FISHERS the coblers and of course inthe same location the MEMO on the subject of metts it was on the left hand side of high street just opposite SCARRETS fields on the subject of CLARAGES that used to be ERNIE and MAY BEVANS hairdressers sorry if it sounds gobbly goo but you will keep my grey matter working it seems like only yesreday god bless you and thanks

  3. aerreg says:

    my apolagies for my comments about the seven row etc ime begining to think its time to think more before i rush to reply but i do enjoy reading so mutch about old brownhills again sorry for the mixu p infact maybe its time to give you some peace from my gobbly goo

    • Reg, please don’t worry

      You have a huge number of fans here, and your comments are wonderful, and always informative – not gobby goo at all.

      Sometimes comments cross posts but I like to think that’s just a challenge to see who’s reading everything.

      All your contributions are wonderful, and as I’ve said before Dear Reg, you are the honorary Grandfather of the blog.

      Just you keep going, please.

      Best wishes

  4. Clive says:

    There’s a few Claridge adverts in the Brownhills gazzette mags which are on this blog.
    I remember the old bakerlite intercom in the Walsall Wood shop, which was still in use up to a couple of years ago.
    I met Mr. Claridge at his house up Shire Oak, very nice chap.

  5. aerreg says:

    t hanks for your coments bob i asure you i was not looking for browney points bless you i just dont w ant to be a boor in that text a little mets tail on metts there was a little sweet shop just before the entrance to metts it was owned by a lovely old man
    MAN MR DEAN ihave a news paper photo of him in the old days of the penny electric meters when the load got to heavy to bare we would take the one pound bags of pennies for him to exchange for pound notes he would weigh them then get a handful of toffies and put them onthe scales and say a toffee either side two ounce you pay we never had to pay bless him he knew his toffees yes metts was rough but within its walls was pride and true nieghbour hood you could leave your washing out if it rained the next door neighbour got it in if you were out god bless you all

  6. Chris Smith says:

    Hi, Percy Vernon Claridge was my first cousin once removed, or to me simply “Auntie Vina’s son” (his mother’s name was actually Lavinia and she was my Grandad Smith’s sister. I have a picture of the Walsall Wood Shop from where, as family members and locals, we bought several appliances. However, I need someone to tell me how to share it please.

    I’m also working on our family tree and any details anyone can share wrt Percy’s family or my Great Grand Parents Joseph Smith and Lavinia Smith ne Horton who lived at 7 Gilpins Building Shire Oak I would like to hear from please.


  7. CHRIS SMITH says:


    How can I upload a photo please?

    Best regards,


  8. Hi, we used to live next door to the Claridge family on Chester Road, 194 I think we were. I was young, this would have been the mid 70’s I guess, and I would have been a similar age to Paul and Rob, Percy’s two adoptive sons. They were nice lads and I often wonder what happened to them, when last I heard, Rob had gone into the Army and Paul was working for his Dad. Nice family from what I remember, Percy was always very ‘jolly’ when we went round their’s.

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