Union Street family firm open for business 203 years on! When Roland Sloggett opened the doors of his shop in Union Street earlier this year he was restoring a family tradition of trading in the street which began over 200 years ago. Roland and his wife Hannah launched their shop which sells retro and vintage collectables in January 2015, some 203 years after his ancestors opened Levy & Sloggett watchmakers, jewellers and pawnbrokers in 1812. Sloggett & Son – Seller of Interesting Things is at Number 140 Union Street while Levy & Sloggett was at Number 190. That building survived the blitz but ended up being in the middle of Derry’s Roundabout in the post-war rebuild and was eventually compulsorily purchased and demolished in 1953. Standing behind the counter at Sloggett & Son, and surrounded by an array of quirky items, Roland can’t stop grinning: “We’re so proud to have a family shop back in Union Street again,” he said. His pride in the family name is nowhere more evident than in the placing of a photograph of his great grandfather, Jack Sloggett, on the wall behind the counter, alongside an old clock he’d sold in the pre-war years. “Jack was a well-known businessman before and after the war,” said Roland. “In the 1930s the shop was known as Jack’s Court because people would go there to hang out. It was used as a meeting place for locals to go and socialise. Older readers will remember
The Plymouth Magazine December 2015
Roland Sloggett outside the new shop in Union Street
the shop well – it’s probably where they would have bought their wedding rings. “But when it was knocked down for the city centre redevelopment in 1953, it was the end of the family business because it wasn’t moved on.” The shop was finally to become part of H Samuel. Roland’s grandfather Harold decided not to carry on the family business but became well known in the city as an architect, designing the West Hoe pub and a number of other buildings with his signature mock Tudor design. Harold’s son – Roland’s dad Geoffrey – became a chartered surveyor and is a former city councillor. “So we missed two generations, which is why it’s great to be back,” said Roland, who worked for 10 years as schools outreach officer at Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery after getting a degree in history and art history. “I grew up in an environment of appreciation of artefacts and of the stories they tell about their past and their owners. And our family has always been involved in collectables.” Roland and Hannah bought the property, which is virtually opposite the Aldi store, in 2014. It was previously the wellknown military tailor’s shop, Feneck’s, which closed after more than 60 years of trading. “A lot of people were upset when Union Street lost Feneck’s,” said Roland. “It was seen as a standard bearer for the street but it’s been replaced by another family concern that’s also offering something completely different to anything else in Plymouth. “And our heart is here.
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