John talks about Allders
"I came to Allders in the mid-sixties
- my wife soon after.
I was on the display department which
is basically windows and interior design
and that sort of thing and,
if you think about it,
it's the third biggest store in Europe,
against Harrods and Selfridges.
So, it is Croydon!
And some of the stories
- some fantastic people!
I also have a picture indoors
- one Christmas when they were doing
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
and it was - somebody had drawn a
caricature of my wife and they called it
Shirley White and the seven,
sorry 45, Dwarves because there were
45 people, all characters.
And they had so much - I mean she got
a lot of respect from them because it was
a difficult job it wasn't just like
a department - but she had to travel
all over the store and I had people
afterwards saying that was the best time
that they had - working for Shirley.
Every Christmas in any store we were at
but particularly Allders,
we would have something special
for the kids.
There was usually a ride,
fairly basic this particular one I am
thinking about and it was a rocket to
the moon so the whole idea was you
had this carriage with windows and
you had a scenery on rollers so it went
past the moon and the stars
and the whatever.
The kids came in at one door and were
taken to this ride and after
five minutes or so they were taken
to another door and they entered in
to another place on the moon and
then of course Father Christmas
would be on the moon and they would
receive a present.
This was a fantastic thing!
Oh yes that's right I can't quite
remember how it was done because
they entered lower ground and exited
above and then had stairs down.
They had some fantastic things
and of course the display department
used to make it.
Now if you think about it we would
spend thousands and thousands of
pounds on Christmas so in January
we started preparing for that year,
so the designer and all the rest of it
would get ideas and what
we were going to do.
In the summer sale we would
- you know when we weren't busy,
the windows weren't dressed
and this sort of thing because there was
a sale on we would actually put together
all the stuff.
Sometimes we would buy the stuff in
but a lot of time we made it up ourselves.
And put it on.
And of course we had to have
two months - October, November,
December - three months,
yes by the beginning week in October
our Christmas was in.
So we had to have almost three months
trading and then of course
a couple of days before Christmas
we would take all the windows out
and all the stuff in and put
the sale on.
We got a lot of stick for it".