IN Poundland on Darlington's High Row the other day, Memories was queuing patiently for a self-service till and looking at all the crisps, sweets and biscuits piled high to the ceiling – and all for £1 – and thinking about the past.
For more than 200 years, this impressive shop in the centre of the most impressive street was the pre-eminent trader in the town, always a cut above the rest.
Here's a quick resume of its history accompanied by a spread of pictures from The Northern Echo's photo packet marked "Dressers":
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1783: John Watkin of Staindrop formed a drapery business which he moved to Richmond and then to Horsemarket, Darlington
1804: Watkin moved his business to26, High Row
1830: Richard Luck of Richmond joined the business, and it became Watkin & Luck, drapers and haberdashers
1867: William Dresser, born on High Row in 1836, having finished his apprenticeship as a printer, sets himself up in business a few doors down from Lucks at No 41, operating the first press in the town driven by an atmospheric gas engine
1870: No 26 is rebranded "Luck & Sons"
1926: The Lucks give No 26 a major overhaul, replacing the rear living accommodation with new departments. On the ground floor was household and fancy linens, harberdashery, hosiery, gloves and handkerchiefs; upstairs was soft-furnishing, carpets, linoleum and upholstery. Connecting the two levels was "a handsome mahogany staircase". Meanwhile, William Dresser's sons are expanding into No 42 with departments for stationery, travel goods and fancy china
1959: Lucks create a space age window in No 26 – two glass boxes apparently floating on High Row
1965: The last of the Lucks, Richard, auctions No 26 and Dressers pay £110,000 for it. Lucks closes on January 31, 1966, and Dressers opens in No 26 on March 14
2001: On March 31, Dressers ceases trading. The space age glass boxes are removed and boards are nailed across the store
2005: Waterstone's book shop at last takes down the hoardings and starts trading
2008: Despite dismay at its inappropriateness, Poundland opens in the landmark store on May 15