The Watford Observer is delighted to team up with Three Rivers Museum for a series that will remind readers of some of the people who, often now forgotten, made an impact on how their neighbours lived and worked. The next in the series recalls two sisters who made high quality ladies' wear.

Museum chairman Fabian Hiscock said: "Amy and Ethel Coster were daughters of Thomas Coster and his wife Ellen, a large Rickmansworth family. By 1911 their older sister, Ellen, was a young teacher at Parsonage Road school (the ‘girls’ department’ of the National School), Ethel, 17, was a dress maker’s assistant having been trained in Buckingham, while Amy, aged 15 and training as a book keeper, was a cashier.

"In 1919 Amy and Ethel took a lease together on a shop in Rickmansworth at 70 High Street. ‘Costers’ was a dress makers and ladies’ outfitters, and the business had Ethel upstairs making and altering clothes while Amy was in the shop and keeping the books. The address of both was officially that of the shop for a time.

Watford Observer:

Ethel Coster and Charles Brackley on their wedding, 1921

"But Ethel married Charles Brackley in 1921; they lived in Northwood, and at some time later she left the business. Amy married Walter Gravestock, a railway employee, in the summer of 1924, and continued ‘Costers’ with significant success. They lived in the Cloisters, and their daughter joined her mother in the business in about 1951 (Amy’s brother Charles was also involved for a time). Amy retired in 1959, and the business closed. Amy Gravestock died in 1976, a well-respected lady.

Watford Observer:

Amy Coster on her wedding day, 1925, with her husband and his father, sisters and nieces

"Although there were other ladies’ wear shops in and around the town, Costers served a wide local area with a reputation for quality: the museum has many of the business’s records, yet to be analysed, but they confirm the wide range of Costers’ customers as well as what they bought.

Watford Observer:

Post-war advertisement for A M Coster, possibly from the Watford Observer

"A number of local people worked for ‘Miss Coster’, as Amy continued to be known, and the museum would be very happy to hear from anyone with memories of A M Coster’s."

Three Rivers Museum has now re-opened following a significant refurbishment – details are on their website