‘We’ll have it by Thursday...’ – end of an era

Ann Lawson and son Tim Lawson outside her gift shop in Staithes on the last day it was open. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

Ann Lawson and son Tim Lawson outside her gift shop in Staithes on the last day it was open. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

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“If I don’t have it, I can have it by Thursday.”

Many a time were those words uttered over the counter at Staithes Gift Shop over the last 45 years.

Ann Lawson in her shop in Staithes on the last day it was open. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

Ann Lawson in her shop in Staithes on the last day it was open. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

But there will be no more Thursdays as the legendary shop closed its doors for the last time on Friday, marking the end of an era.

Ann Lawson had carried on running the business she and her late husband Terry took on following his death in 2013.

But at the age of 76 and after 45 years of seven-day working weeks she has decided to call it a day.

Plenty of locals, customers old and new and friends popped in for one last time to the shop that would have put Arkwright to shame.

From Christmas baubles to shoehorns, nutcrakers, fire buckets, aftersun and milk - you name it, the Staithes Gift Shop had it. But in recent months Ann has been winding down and last Saturday will have been her first lie in for years.

She said: “It is very strange, but I will find something to do.

“I am getting older and in this house there are two lots of steps just to the bedroom - it is a big house.”

Ann will be moving to a bungalow in the village that she fell in love with after being forced to move there as a child during the war.

In that time she met Terry and despite running the shop she managed to hold down a full- time job as a practice nurse for 23 years and making the traditional Staithes bonnets.

Terry was also a keen photographer and an electrician and delivering daily papers plus the Whitby Gazette from the shop.

The couple were also bringing up their four childrenTim, Jane, Simon and Johnny from the flat they lived in above the shop premises.

Tim recalls: “It was a great place to grow up and you could not get up to now what we did then.

“Health and safety would have you for climbing on roofs and nicking seagull eggs.

“Losing my dad was a bit too much, we were trying to help out as much as we could, as were people in the village, but you should be retired at 65 - mum is 76.

“They did seven days a week and did not really go on holiday, they worked really hard.”

Since Terry died after a period of illness Ann has been helped out in the shop by Barbara Osborn.

She recalls: “You could always count on coming in herefor the most obscure thing.”

The building is set to be re-opened in the near future as a traditional sweet shop.