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When a historic store closed its doors for the last time

Jamie and Anna Rankin welcoming shoppers to Clements for the final time <i>(Image: Jane Parr)</i>
Jamie and Anna Rankin welcoming shoppers to Clements for the final time (Image: Jane Parr)

An era in Watford came to an end 19 years ago this week when one of the town’s most-loved shops closed its doors to customers for the final time.

Since opening in 1898, Clements had been one of the go-to shopping destinations in the town, selling a wide range of goods for a whole host of needs and occasions. But on Saturday, January 31, 2004, chairman Jamie Rankin and his wife Anna were pictured at the entrance welcoming shoppers for the final time.

Trading from its Victorian building, the shop particularly led the way during the 1950s and 60s, dominating the market under the direction of Richard Edmonds, who became chairman in 1965 before he passed the position on to his son-in-law Mr Rankin in 1997.

Watford Observer: Shoppers queuing for a Blue Cross sale at Clements in 1994.
Watford Observer: Shoppers queuing for a Blue Cross sale at Clements in 1994.

Shoppers queuing for a Blue Cross sale at Clements in 1994. (Image: Watford Observer)

The Clements name lived on in the form of furniture and carpet businesses until 2018, but the department store is still missed by many even though it is approaching 20 years since it ceased trading.

Watford Observer: Rushing to buy one last bargain.
Watford Observer: Rushing to buy one last bargain.

Rushing to buy one last bargain. (Image: Jane Parr)

Watford Observer: The store viewed from the flyover in the 1980s.
Watford Observer: The store viewed from the flyover in the 1980s.

The store viewed from the flyover in the 1980s. (Image: Watford Museum)