Saturday, 7 August 2010

Memories of Cruse's Stores, Rottingdean

I wrote back in December 2008 about Cruse's stores in Rottingdean, Sussex with a follow-up post a few days later. I have now been contacted by Terry who worked for a short time at Cruse's stores back in 1970. Terry has kindly sent me a scan of his 1970 payslip, which was handwritten by Ron Cruse, together with a scan of the shop's headed paper which I've reproduced below.
The blackouts refer to the power cuts in the 1970s when the power unions went on strike and the population had to resort to candlelight and oil lamps on strike days.

Terry has kindly shared his memories of Cruse's stores with me and given me permission to publish them here.
The Stores were a high class grocers.
Ron Cruse worked very hard.
As did his son Alan.

They did home deliveries, as part of the business.
Mr Cruse took the orders by phone.
A list was made by hand.
He then gave the staff the list and the order was made up.

There was a bacon and cheese counter, usually run by a Mr Oliver.
He sliced bacon and cut cheese.
They cured their own hams.
There were "loose" nuts, prunes, huge bags of brown sugar.
They arrived loose and we weighed them out into 1lb bags.
Whole, very large, cheddar cheeses would arrive in wooden "hat boxes".
The cheese was also covered in muslin.
It was my job to unpack these and cut the cheese with a cheese wire.

My job was sort of storeman.
I packed away deliveries.
We had a lock-up garage up the road for extra storage.

I helped pack the van for our deliveries.
Bob was the delivery driver.
The store had another two stories upstairs where we stored provisions.
There was a back room for tinned goods.

They sold a wide range of items.
Rottingdean being a fairly posh village near Brighton, situated on the coast.
Quite a few retired people.
The store provided an excellent service.

We opened Saturday mornings, so it was a five and half day week.
I started at 8 am and finished about 6 pm.
Then there was an hour's travel each way, as I lived in Brighton.

I guess these days it would be hard to find a shop like Cruses Stores.
Its amazing how quickly things change.
It's deemed history now!

I enjoyed my seven months there.
It was a real family business.
I had to move away from Brighton but returned.
When I applied for a job I had to give Cruse's Stores as a reference.
They gave me a great reference, then Mr Cruse wrote to me offering me a job!
But I turned it down, having started a career in the National Health Service.
Thank you Terry for sharing these memories with us. It certainly would be hard to find such a shop today!

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