Sunday, 3 February 2013


Yesterday a local Colchester iconic shop closed down.  "Cheap" Jacks, as it was locally known, closed its doors for the last time after almost seventy years of trading. I headed in to town to have a last wonder round, and found myself going in, leaving to go to another shop, and coming back again and again.  I ended up going back about six times in total, each time thinking what it meant- to me and to the town.
To me Jacks is where I went with my mum and dad when I was tiny, to buy cleaning supplies or camping equipment for a school trip.  I remember it as I saw it through my child's eyes- my head reaching no higher than the counter, watching my mum point to what she wanted behind the shelves, or may dad explaining the fitting screws he need.  Jacks was the shop where you had to ask for what you wanted, and throughout the myriad of varied stock they amazingly always knew exactly where everything was, and could get it within seconds- no mean feat based on the rather eclectic stock collection.  Seeing the shelves so empty was like watching a piece of your own childhood go. And watching all the people gathered inside and outside to say goodbye to a well-loved local shop, you knew many of them felt the same thing.  

Jacks has graced the town centre since 1946- when shopping was carried home in baskets or brown paper bags, not plastic carrier bags and a weekly shop was not done at the click of a button, but involved visiting four or more different shops and taking the time to shop well, being served by a real person not a computer screen.  I am as guilty as many of the people of this town of not supporting our local independent traders enough, but seeing this beautiful shop go has made me decide to shake myself out of my lazy and easy shopping habits and support more local independent traders.
So if you're following Lesley's Girls (or me personally) on Foursquare you'll notice we will be trying to check in to, and use as many local independent traders as we can, in support of our beautiful town centre. I'm not suggesting that I can make a difference alone, but I suspect many people walked away from town yesterday with the same thought.

I wasn't sure today whether to do this post about the demise of Jacks- I wasn't entirely certain it would was an appropriate place for it. But the shop itself has been a part of the history of Colchester for so long, I can never resist a post on my lovely home town and its history (despite these sad circumstances) and what its closing suggests to me is that a return to mid-century 'vintage' shopping habits would not be a bad idea for the town centre.


  1. That is very sad, it's always upsetting when old established places that you've known growing up change or disappear. So many places are modernised or closed down entirely, it's such a shame.

    Cherry x

  2. I think it s really kind of you that you wrote about it... I have been in Colchester only few years, but I truly understand you. I think we- bloggers should support a local retailers...if you have any ideas let me know, ;)

  3. Sadly havent been back to Colchester for a couple of years and OMFG cant believe Jacks has closed. I used to go there sometimes just to look round, it was always so fascinating. After moving id come home and end up at that end of town, like 'Jacks' was a giant comfort blanket, and all would be right with the world. So sad....another victim of the online age.


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