Baldocks, a family-run shop in Tonbridge, is due to close after 140 years.
Edward Baldock first opened the clothing shop in West Malling in 1878.
Baldocks used to sell outdoor clothing and workwear across the South East.
The company expanded its business and had 10 clothing shops throughout the South East – spanning from Horsham to Tunbridge Wells.
Owner Ann Baldock says that during the 70s and 80s it was a really profitable company, but that out-of-town and internet shopping caused a decline in customers.
Baldock’s West Malling branch is the last of nine stores to permanently shut.
“It was a really busy, profitable company. Unfortunately, out-of-town shopping started and you could see a decline and people went out, it was easier to park. Now with people buying on the internet, it has just been really the final nail in our coffin.”
– Ann Baldock, Owner
Formerly known as Baldock E and Sons, the shop became the first to sell Levis jeans in this country. In the 60s, they sold a pair of jeans to Beatle, Ringo Starr.
The shop was also a regular stop-off point for generations of hop pickers in Kent. When workers finished their summer hop picking, they spent their wages on new clothes.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic and I can say that I was part of it. I was a part of Baldocks and that is something worth keeping.”
– Mark Judge, Shop Worker
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