End of an era as store gets set to shut doors

Hope & Company, Grove Road, closing down, July 17th 2013 E29055P
Hope & Company, Grove Road, closing down, July 17th 2013 E29055P

A town centre business which has seen its tills ringing through three centuries will be closing its doors later this year.

Hope & Company, which sells quality men’s clothes as well as school uniforms, has been passed down the generations since it was established in 1893 by Harry Clarke.

The company began selling its stock from a store in Seaside Road, opposite the Hippodrome Theatre. Thanks to a thriving trade the business moved on to acquire three more shops in Grove Road by the early twentieth century.

Due to significant bomb damage to the properties during World War Two, Mr Clarke retired and his son Kenneth opened the present shop at 37 Grove Road. Originally bespoke tailors, hatters and shirtmakers and suppliers of tropical kit, there are several letters that still exist thanking the company for the safe arrival of goods at various outposts across the globe. The smaller business went on to thrive during the difficult years of clothing coupons and austerity after the war.

After Kenneth died of leukaemia the business passed to his wife Peggy. Now his son Alex, who has been working at the shop for nearly 40 years, has decided to call it a day. He and wife Deborah are looking forward to retiring and spending more time with their family when the shop closes in Autumn.

He said, “We are the last quality men’s shop in Eastbourne.

“Looking back, I can count at least 25 similar independent shops which have closed over the past 30 years. It seems that we were the first in and will be the last out. However, we will miss the loyal band of customers who have returned to the shop again and again and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their loyal support.”