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(Sept 29, 2013) Richard Simpson said:I remember this striped bag so well from the 1960's period as I worked for Weston Hart at their West Street,Fareham,branch in Hampshire.

( Feb 20, 2016) I am so delighted to see this page. My mother, Mary Mills, set up Weston Hart with her sister, Jill Lloyd (they were both nee Leek). My mother heard in November 1952 that the television aerial would come to Portsmouth in time for the coronation in 1953. She immediately contacted Ferguson, who were the main source of televisions then and bought the entire factory's output on three months' credit. She and her sister, Jill, then sold and personally delivered every single set by Christmas Eve and the money they put in the bank effctively launched Weston Hart. From then on it always operated on negative working capital (where your customers pay you before you have to pay your suppliers) and this suported the business through thick and thin. I'm not sure how precise this is, but both Mother and Auntie Jill told it to me on many occasions and it was the same every time. Given the expectation in the early 1950's tht women would stay at home to look after their husbands and children, the sisters were extraordinary and all of their children have that same feisty spirit.

I spent many of my early years going into the shops with Mother or to the factory (I think it did repairs) in North Harbour. the shops didn't sell furniture, as far as I remember, though - they were radiograms! I never dreamed of seeing the old paper bags again after all these years. Thank you for keeping the memory alive. Comment: Sally Macdonald.

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Firstly my mother and her sister did not set up Weston Hart. Their mother did...Vera Leek and the origin of the business was renting accumulators and wireless sets to mainly dockers. And yes there was a massive change brought about by the coronation being televised. Mary and Jill may well have worked on the vans. But Vera Leek handed over the business in the mid sixties when she became ill with cancer. The North Habour factory site was acquired in the late 60s. Top floor accounts and ground floor repairs and stock. Harry Raison was General manager, supported by Mr Munt.
Commercial road branch was actually in Albert street and was the largest selling record store at the time...it allegedly took £100,000 in a single Christmas week on the record counter. Weston Hart was a reseller for Dynatron, ITT, Ferguson amongst others but also sold white goods at the North End branch.What a bullshit article devoid of fact. My mother never delivered sets we had a fleet of vans to do that. And Sally McDonald never set foot in a shop to work as we sold the business before she was 15. Deluded dipstick sister nee Mills....what an arse
Name
William Mills
(2020)

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I loved this shop and bought my first LP in Weston Hart Commercial Road. (Arundel Street to be precise).
Name
Howard Honey
(2018)

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I remember Weston Hart in West Street, Fareham. There was a big cardboard cutout of 'Elvis the Pelvis' in the window, and I asked my Mum who he was - 'some American Rock and Roll singer', apparently!

My first radio came from Weston Hart, for my birthday in 1958.
Name
David Wybrow
(2018)

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I worked in the record department in the mid sixties I was 17 it was a perfect job I loved working there.my manager was Mr Fake the assistant managers name was Anthea and yes I remember the bags and single records were 6s8d each 3 for £1 great days
Name
Susan Borra
(2020)

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I started my first job at Weston Hart in Northarbour Road back in March 1973 aged 15. As the previous contributor mentioned, we had warehouse and repair department where I was a trainee.
Dennis Munt was service manager and Peter Dupont the assistant. Unfortunately the company nearly folded a couple of times and Northarbour closed. Those that didn't lose their jobs were split up and worked in the different shops. I went to Gosport then North End and ending up at Fratton Road before I moved on.
Who remembers the Decca Bradford Chassis?
Name
Neil Buckingham
(2020)

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Hi yes I to remember those days.I was young and a apprentice that moved to north harbour factory from working at fratton.And as Neil said Dennis was the service manager and peter DuPont manager to field engineers.when this closed I moved to waterlooville shop for a few years with I remember Steve Jefferson and Paul manchip.not seen either of them two since,but have seen Neil.sort of happy times looking back I think. T
The waterlooville shop was managed I remember by ray marsh and his assistant sue.Both friendly fun people.I did bump into ray once in Fareham but that was a number of years ago.
Name
Patrick Stenning
(2021)

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I worked at Fratton Road shop, it was my first job after leaving school. Mike Pain was my manager and Gavin was the driver of the van. Upstairs was the service dept. I remember Greg Telfer.
Name
Dave Seymour
(2022)

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I worked for Weston Hart in the late 70's although I also remember it fondly as a customer of the record dep't at the Fareham store as a teenager. As someone has said, it wasn't a furniture store but a radio/tv/record store although the radiograms and tv's in cabinets of the late 60's could have been mistaken for furniture.

I Don't claim to be an expert on the history of the firm's early day's but was aware it had been set up by (as we were told) two ladies, although I understood it to have been even earlier than 1952. In the 70's it had been absorbed into a larger company, the 'Woolacott group' who were I believe Haywards Heath based, although the local stores continued to trade as 'Weston Hart'.

'Woolacott's' folded in the mid to late 70's and a Gosport based businessman with varied local interests, including the Gosport 'Rootes' dealership (later 'Chrysler', later Talbot.'Erskin Motors' if memory serves) bought the company which is about when I joined.

At that time the remaining branches were North End (head office), Arundel St, Fratton Rd (service dep't), Cosham, Waterlooville and Fareham, although not at the original site, which had been towards the High St end of West St but a new location, adjacent to one of the entrances to the (then new) Fareham Shopping Centre.

I started off at Fareham as 'salesman'. There was a manager, Mike Southon was mine, a record dep't manageress plus a record dep't assistant. Dave Shaw was the manager at North End, Ray Marsh at Arundel St, Ray Tasker was another name from the period but can't remember which branch he worked at. The general manager was Ian Hoper. After a while at Fareham my manager and I switched to Waterlooville and later Mike transferred to North End and I took over as manager of Waterlooville.

Sadly the owners got into difficulties and yet again 'Weston Hart' went bust in 1979. I was managing Waterlooville at the time, although the staff had dwindled to just myself, Mina, who ran records and my mate Ron who was my 'Saturday' lad.

All the shops closed other than Cosham, which Ian Hoper bought and it continued for a few years as a record only shop, trading as 'Hart & Soul'

Name
Francis Catcheside
(2022)


Comments

Dave Harwood
20 Oct 2023 at 03:32
I found this advert in the ‘Portsmouth Evening News’ dated 3rd May 1958:
“RECORDS of ‘My Fair Lady’ obtainable at all branches of WESTON HART.”
geoff cooke
22 May 2024 at 08:59
Worked at cosham 6 years never got my pension

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