Home   Bury St Edmunds   News   Article

Subscribe Now

How Suffolk's businesses were gearing up for Christmas nearly 30 years ago in Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall, Stowmarket and Thetford





The high streets in Suffolk's towns and villages have changed dramatically in the last three decades as some cherished names and brands have disappeared, while others have remained.

With Christmas fast approaching and businesses hoping for a busier period than last year, SuffolkNews has taken a look back through our archives to see how some companies were gearing up for the festive season.

All were featured in our sister title the Bury Free Press' Christmas Shopper 1994 supplement.

Pledgers in Bury St Edmunds
Pledgers in Bury St Edmunds

Among them was long-established family run business Pledger's, in St John's Street, Bury St Edmunds, which stocked a wide range of boots, shoes and slippers for all ages.

Pictured is then Pledgers manager Alan Kerridge with a few examples of stocks with names such as Elmdale, Equity and K-Shoes and Startrite and Elefanten.

They were promoting warm lined boots for the season.

Balaams Music in Bury St Edmunds
Balaams Music in Bury St Edmunds

Striking up a musical note with a saxophone at Balaams Music, in Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, was musician Ruth Lambillion.

A long established town landmark on the musical scene, the supplement noted one of Balaams' most popular schemes was the renting of instruments - other than guitar, piano and drums.

A relatively new shop at the time was The Dressing Room, in St John's Street, Bury St Edmunds, where well-known labels from some of the top names in the fashion world lined the racks at tempting, money saving prices.

Pictured is owner Gloria Stewart showing a dress from an extensive collection of short party wear.

The Dressing Room in Bury St Edmunds
The Dressing Room in Bury St Edmunds

Gloria ran a separate business for the bride to be - The Bridal Room.

In-car entertainment and security from high quality manufacturers was the business of Ice Station, in Looms Lane, Bury St Edmunds.

Pictured is owner Paul Crow, who opened the specialist firm earlier that year.

The Ice Station in Bury St Edmunds
The Ice Station in Bury St Edmunds

It also specialised in mobile phones.

Draped and shelved with all things equestrian, Bridlepath, in St John's Street, Bury St Edmunds, had plenty of ideas for horse enthusiasts.

From saddlery, bridles and bits to riding boots, silks and wellies and waterproofs, Bridlepath offered huge choice.

Bridlepath in Bury St Edmunds - Sarah Murcutt, Lindsey Abeyasekere, Dawn Neeves and Laura Hay
Bridlepath in Bury St Edmunds - Sarah Murcutt, Lindsey Abeyasekere, Dawn Neeves and Laura Hay

Celebrating 30 years in the antiques business in Bury St Edmunds was Theo Cutting, of Guildhall Street Antiques at 27 Guildhall Street in Bury St Edmunds.

She had in stock a wide range of furniture from the 18th century upwards.

Theo Cutting of Guildhall Street Antiques at 27 Guildhall Street in Bury St Edmunds
Theo Cutting of Guildhall Street Antiques at 27 Guildhall Street in Bury St Edmunds

Computer Scene, in St Andrew's Street, Mildenhall, was specialising in the home use of computers as well as applications for small businesses.

Pictured is Kevin Torbuck, of sales and software support services, with one of the latest machines.

Computer Scene in Mildenhall
Computer Scene in Mildenhall

There was more floor and shelf space than ever in Bury Bookshop, in Hatter Street, Bury St Edmunds.

Recent work had enlarged an area bulging with good reads for just about every taste.

Pictured is Jenny Escott amid some of the season's best sellers.

Bury Bookshop in Bury St Edmunds
Bury Bookshop in Bury St Edmunds

As far as musician Paul Abbott was concerned there simply wasn't sufficient choice of good classical music available in Bury St Edmunds.

The solution for him was to open a shop of his own.

In business since July, Paul Abbott Classical, of Langton Place, kept hundreds of CDs and cassettes spanning opera, ballet and especially chamber music.

Paul Abbott Classical in Bury St Edmunds
Paul Abbott Classical in Bury St Edmunds

Richards Salon, at St Olaves Precinct in Bury St Edmunds, was gearing up for a busy time.

Pictured was stylist Kelly Cunningham and owner Richard McDonald.

Richards Hair in Bury St Edmunds
Richards Hair in Bury St Edmunds

Jonathan Maddocks, a qualified florist and interior landscaper, was the man responsible for the attractive Christmas tree gracing the Bury Free Press offices that year.

He opened his business, The Flower House, in Rectory Meadow, Fornham All Saints, earlier that year.

The Flower House in Bury St Edmunds
The Flower House in Bury St Edmunds

Situated in Great Saxham, Beauty Naturally was offering a range of treatments using pure, natural ingredients.

Pictured is beauty therapist Janice Hunt, who had transformed a large, attractive and entirely private room in her home into a salon.

Beauty Naturally in Little Saxham
Beauty Naturally in Little Saxham

Shoppers might remember Index in Cornhill Walk shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds.

Index in Bury St Edmunds
Index in Bury St Edmunds

The nationwide chain offered a wealth of choice from an in-shop catalogue which was renewed twice a year.

Bargain-packed supplementary publications were issued almost monthly.

Index in Bury St Edmunds
Index in Bury St Edmunds

In 1994, Amanda Jane was based in Garland Street, Bury St Edmunds.

It was offering a complete range of treatments from facials and electrolysis to non-surgical facelifts, pedicures and manicures.

Amanda Jane in Bury St Edmunds
Amanda Jane in Bury St Edmunds

Pictured below is the styling team from Gemini Hair at Mere Farm Lane, in Great Barton.

They used the KMS range of products which were also sold to keep up the good work at home.

Gemini Hair in Great Barton
Gemini Hair in Great Barton

We said that four and a half years ago Brandon Test Centre, in Wimbledon Avenue, brought a new concept in MOT testing to Brandon, offering seven day a week, while you wait testing as its primary line of business.

At the time its latest acquisition was a Sun 200 computer system, the Rolls Royce of engine analysers.

Pictured is David Lodge, a qualified time-served car mechanic, Sun technician and MOT tester.

Brandon Test Centre
Brandon Test Centre

Chris Harvey at Secondhand Lane in Castle Street, Thetford, had loads of ideas in store for giving homes a new look and at bargain prices.

In stock at his warehouse was a huge range of both brand new and selected pre-owned furnishings ranging from comfortable beds to dining room furniture.

Secondhand Lane in Thetford
Secondhand Lane in Thetford

Pictured at Mundford Road Garage in Thetford is Mick Broughton.

We said he was a one-man firm that brings a personal touch to motoring needs.

Mundford Road Garage in Thetford
Mundford Road Garage in Thetford

Beautiful trees and decorations were on offer at Fullers Garden Centre in Barton Mills.

A special sale of artificial trees was under way with prices lopped by as much as a half offering buyers big savings.

Fullers Garden Centre at Barton Mills
Fullers Garden Centre at Barton Mills

Johanna's Tea Rooms in Market Place Precinct, Mildenhall, was taking orders for speciality Christmas cakes.

A traditional breakfast was available throughout the day at £2.50 including tea.

An old fashioned homemade cottage pie and chips would also set you back £2.50.

Joanna's Tea Rooms in Mildenhall
Joanna's Tea Rooms in Mildenhall

The team at Rose and Wright, of Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, were offering Christmas greetings.

From left were James Keeble, Sarah Nunn, owner Trevor Wright and Darrel Pearce.

They were stocking Philips televisions ranging from a portable colour model to a big screen version with all the thrill of a surround sound.

Rose and Wright in Bury St Edmunds
Rose and Wright in Bury St Edmunds

John Oliver Hair Salon, in St John's Street, Bury St Edmunds, is pictured below.

John Oliver in Bury St Edmunds
John Oliver in Bury St Edmunds

Celebrating its seventh birthday at the time, Bury Bowl, in Eastgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, was looking forward to a happy Christmas.

New for Friday nights in the Strikers Bar was happy hour with customers encouraged to try the Charrington and Greene King draught beers at £1 a pint - or maybe a short at 60p.

A three course festive dinner was being offered at only £8.50 a head.

Bury Bowl
Bury Bowl

Pictured enjoying a new pedicure treatment at All Over Beauty in Bury St Edmunds was client Jo Beeton with beauty therapist Sarah Whittle.

All Over Beauty in Bury St Edmunds
All Over Beauty in Bury St Edmunds

Cut Price Carpets in Stowmarket was offering a range of bargains including an inexpensive cord at £1.99 sq ft.

Beds from a single divan at £69 to a double at £99 were being displayed alongside well-built, chunky bunks.

Cut Price Carpets in Stowmarket
Cut Price Carpets in Stowmarket

Pictured from Butchers Basket, in Wolsey Road, Stowmarket, were Mick Smith, Maureen Shave, Richard Shave, Kelvin Watson and Gareth Deane.

They were assembling Christmas orders.

Butchers Basket in Stowmarket
Butchers Basket in Stowmarket

Kevin Tuffs Carpet Centre in Finningham was the holder of East Anglian Carpet Fitter of the Year.

Kevin Tuffs Carpets in Finningham
Kevin Tuffs Carpets in Finningham

Worlington Hall Hotel was offering special festive treats from £10.95 for three courses to £16.95 for four courses, with all the trimmings.

Worlington Hall Hotel
Worlington Hall Hotel

Christine's of Mildenhall, specialising in smart looks for youngsters, had a regular special offer of 72 woven name tags for £3.99 which was popular with busy mums.

The business was six years old at the time and started by Christine Robertson (pictured).

Christine's of Mildenhall
Christine's of Mildenhall

Daydreams, in Langton Place, Bury St Edmunds, was in its sixth year.

Owner Sara Esler is pictured with a client.

Daydreams in Bury St Edmunds
Daydreams in Bury St Edmunds

Other pictures taken of businesses for Christmas 1994 in our archive are:

Alan's Upholstery in Thetford
Alan's Upholstery in Thetford
Breckland Mowers
Breckland Mowers
Cable and Satellite TV in Mildenhall
Cable and Satellite TV in Mildenhall
G & H Discounts in Thetford
G & H Discounts in Thetford
Abbeygate Lighting in Bury St Edmunds
Abbeygate Lighting in Bury St Edmunds
Card Bentique in Mildenhall
Card Bentique in Mildenhall
Classic Bonsia at Stonham Barns in Stonham Aspal
Classic Bonsia at Stonham Barns in Stonham Aspal
Jude's Ferry in West Row
Jude's Ferry in West Row
T.F Sampson in Stowmarket
T.F Sampson in Stowmarket
Swiftprint in Mildenhall
Swiftprint in Mildenhall
The Risby Barn
The Risby Barn
Langton's Flowers in Mildenhall
Langton's Flowers in Mildenhall

Do you have any pictures of businesses in the 1990s? Email news@buryfreepress.co.uk