The evolution of a town centre store

The Marks & Spencer Company Archive
The Marks & Spencer Company Archive

AS THE population of Eastbourne increases, so has the number of different stores that have cropped up in the town.

But while some may only last a summer, one business is proud to boast its centenary this year.

M&S in Terminus Road celebrated its landmark 100th birthday on Friday July 27 and marked the special occasion with three days of fun.

A birthday party, face painting and children’s colouring competition took place during the store’s official birthday and staff enjoyed a visit from the mayor of Eastbourne Councillor Mike Thompson.

Live music from a local solo artist and a performance by a harpist from the Royal Pavilion Brighton also marked the centenary and staff members dressed up for the occasion in old M&S uniforms.

The business also reflected on its history by hosting an exhibition called ‘Marks in Time’ which featured more than 100 years of the store’s history, with original products and items from across the decades.

Visitors were also invited to the store for the occasion, including two of M&S Eastbourne’s oldest former employees, who shared their memories.

Eastbourne M&S was originally at 51 Terminus Road and opened on July 27, 1912, but relocated after the Second World War when it was destroyed by a German bomber.

Two 300 kilogram semi-armour bombs hit the rear of the store and sadly killed 18 people, including an M&S staff member. Following its destruction the store temporarily opened at 110 Terminus Road in 1943, before a new store was built in 1955 at its current home.

Graham Paine, M&S Eastbourne store manager, said, “So much has happened to M&S Eastbourne over the past 100 years; the store has relocated three times yet never moved off the Terminus Road!

“We are one of the longest standing retailers in town, so this is an important milestone for both the store and our customers.”