The co-owner of the last shop to bear the Clements name says the historic department store is “Watford all over” and the closure next week marks the end of an era.

Alan and Clive Brooks have taken the decision to close Clements in The Parade citing financial difficulties - saying recent high street works brought the end nearer.

Watford Observer:

Opening in 1898, Clements was the shopping destination in Watford, selling all types of goods for every special occasion. At one time, it had hundreds of staff, including floorwalkers seen as the inspiration for Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served?

Trading from its Victorian building, it also had a unique car lift which took visitors up to the top floor to park their vehicles. Once inside, it was a shopper’s dream.

It especially led the way during the 1950s and 60s, dominating the market under the stewardship of Richard Edmonds, who became chairman in 1965 before he passed the position on to his son-in-law Jamie Rankin in 1997.

Watford Observer:

The department store closed in January 2004 to the dismay of many and it really was the end of an era.

But the name Clements did not disappear however. It returned to its original premises, which had become TJ Hughes, when Simon Shoebottom opened the Clements furniture department on the lower ground floor. Believing Clements still had a future, Mr Sheerbottom was given permission to trade under the Clements name and he opened up an outlet at the Hatfield Galleria before returning to Watford in 2007.

The Brooks brothers opened a Clements carpet department in The Parade before moving to Charter Place returning to The Parade where it has been for the last five years.

Watford Observer:

Picture credit: Watford Museum

But Alan Brooks says high street improvement works have had an effect on trading especially the older generation which visited his shop

He thanked all of his customers who have been loyal over the years.

“Clements is an institution in Watford. Watford has Clements running right through it. When it’s gone, it’s gone and this really is it. It was loved by so many in the town. Clements was always good quality and prided itself on its customer service. I want to express thanks to all our customers.”

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor paid tribute to Clements.

He said: “Clements has a long history in the town and it is very sad to see it fall victim to the pressures which have seen other high street giants, like Woolworths and BHS, close down. My thoughts are with the staff at what must be a very uncertain time.

“We have had extremely positive feedback from businesses about the major improvements being made to our high street. Although it has meant short-term disruption, the long-term benefits for businesses, residents and visitors are huge.”

Watford Observer:

A closing down sale will take place next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

We asked for your memories of Clements and you had plenty. Visit the website tomorrow where we continue our tribute to Clements as it says goodbye to Watford forever.