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North Shields hardware shop to close after 150 years

Published: 16 February 2017 - Jenny Wonnacott

Gladston's of North Shields is closing down in April after more than 150 years trading in the Tyne and Wear area.

Gladston
Gladston's of North Shields will close this spring after almost 150 years of trading. Image by Google Maps.

According to local press, the shop, which is home to the North Shields Model Centre as well as stocking a large variety of hardware and ironmongery, will close on April 2 following the retirement of owner Tony Freeth. Mr Freeth, who has run the business for 40 years, had hoped to sell the store but was unable to find a buyer.

He said, “I’m retiring and I can’t find anyone to take the business over. We used to be a nation of shops, but now people shop online. There is a lot of pressure on retail now from the internet. At the same time, out-of-town retail centres are growing. It was a big ask to find a buyer.”

Gladston's – also known as S. R. Gladston and Son – first came to North Shields from Berwick back in the late 1850s. The shop was bought by Mr Freeth's grandfather Oswald, owner of AJ Freeth chandlers on the Fish Quay, in the early 1930s. Two further hardware and ironmongery stores were then opened in Tynemouth and Cullercoats.

The store was passed to Tony's father Rob before Tony took the reins in the 1970s. The store expanded its product range from ironmongery and tools to models and 'big boys toys.' This latter part of the business grew tremendously and became one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the UK.

Mr Freeth added, “Our mission statement was ‘the customer is the most important person in the shop’ and our motto was ‘if we haven’t got it or can’t get it - it probably isn’t made’

“Our customers have been very loyal to us over the years and we can’t thank them enough. We also want to thank our staff who have supported us and pay tribute to their hard work.

“It will be sad to see the shop go - this is a lifetime of work coming to an end. It was a 24/7 job that I have been doing for 40 years. It is now time for me to retire.”

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