John Barnes 174

199 Finchley Road Swiss Cottage London NW3 6NN

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  • I worked for the merchandising department on secondment for the opening of John Barnes.
    It meant leaving my home in Oxford at 5.30 and getting home at 8 or 10 at night.
    It was a great experience.
    The only person I remember from my time in merchandising was Gunter, the head of the department

    By Paul Richard Cowin (26/03/2024)
  • I trained as a hairdresser in John Barnes for three years before leaving to get married and go abroad. I loved the store, the people and was so very sad when it went over to being a Waitrose store. I have tried to find out what happened to Mr John Bracket who used to be the salon manager, Mrs Kay Chirola-receptionist, Dianne Taylor the lovely senior who trained me and many others in the salon and store. Miss Klepp was a stylist who still did Marcel waves and I loved her German accent and she was respected by all. I have Googled her but to no avail. I would love to learn more- Jackie Shepherd from the perfumery whose hair I used to do her hair she liked blonde flick ups. So many happy memories.


    By Susan Stammers nee Gillard (14/05/2016)
  • I was Shelf Layout Manager when the basement was converted to Waitrose. We all worked 36 hours without much sleep from close of business Saturday night to 1pm Monday morning to complete the conversion.

    My abiding memory is standing at the sink with Pam Roache washing every single shelf and bracket overnight ready for remerchandising. We used over 30 bottles of Waitrose Household Cleaner and along with everyone else had the shopfloor looking pristine just before opening.

    The Director’s arrived and were being shown around just as the sprinkler system started dripping dirty water over all our efforts 5 minutes before opening !

    I looked at Pam and we both had lumps in our throats but the sprinkler was turned off and after some quick mopping up the shop was opened- phew. I can still replay that moment as if it was yesterday !

    By Terry Hammond (21/12/2014)
  • Memories from the 60s – I was born and brought up in Canfield Gardens – just behind John Barnes and it was a major part of my childhood. The food hall was in the basement – a wonderful place – with the fish counter on the right then the meat counter. The deli was heaving with wonderful European delicacies. A lady called Pearl was my favourite cashier. She was always very kind to me as I was sent from the age of 7 to 10 with £5 note and a shopping list every Saturday morning to “get the shopping” – think my mum just wanted a lie in :-). There was fabric and haberdashery on the main floor; my first knitting pattern and sewing patterns were bought for me by my mother there. Upstairs my StartRite shoes were bought. There was a raised platform for us small people with a row of chairs so the shoe fitting ladies did not have to bend down. Oh how I loved this shop. Happily we have continued to shop there when visiting family, even in its new guise. Thank you for keeping it “John Barnes”.

    By Michele Booth (19/04/2014)
  • who was john barnes @

    By lyn marks (28/03/2014)
  • In 1965 my family lived in Paris and visited relatives in London often, who lived on Goldhurst Terrace — so John Barnes was nearby and frequently visited. Although I was quite small, I have fond memories of being allowed to pick out a Corgi toy car or something similar in the John Barnes toy department. I recall one of my aunties trying to barter the price on items with a local independent small shopkeeper (Ken?) based on the “the price at John Barnes.” Of course he couldn’t match the price…

    By Richard Kanes (20/03/2014)
  • The opening date of 2nd February 1981 is actually the date the new Waitrose store opened. Prior to that it had been a Waitrose store in the basement of the John Lewis Partnership “John Barnes” department store. My mother was a packer on the tills, my brother worked for a time in the butchery and I had a weekend / holiday job in food and later the wine shop. At the time shopping hours were until 5.30pm Monday to Thursday, 7pm Fridays and 1pm. I was offered an opportunity to take a full time job in Waitrose when I left school in 1973 – I turned its down after a lot of soul searching and went to work in a bank. Waitrose was a great place to work and I enjoyed the 3 years I worked there.

    By Chris Stuart (06/08/2013)
  • My father, Charles W. Hennesy, started the John Barnes Supermarket in the basement of the Finchley Road Store. He had visited the US of A and seen how they did things over there and decided that he could do they same thing in London. As far as I know, it was the first real food supermarket in England. He even invented the first till that they used.

    By Charles Hennesy (18/03/2013)
  • Charles Hennesy was David Ramsay’s first boss in the food department in the basement of John Barnes on Finchley Road, London, in 1956. I think that Charles had already set up the department as a self-service supermarket at that time.

    By charles hennesy (18/03/2013)
  • I used to work in the food hall on Saturdays while I was still at school. I remember bagging up fruit. If you dropped it and it was damaged, you were allowed to eat it, so if a fruit I had never seen before arrived I would drop it on purpose to see how it tasted. My friend was in charge of broken eggs. She had to check all the eggs and if they were broken or cracked she had to get the egg from the shell and put it into cartons and they were sold that way. 

    My favourite person was the lady who worked in the wool department and then ended up on the tills in Waitrose. Sadly I don’t know her name. Oh, and of course the unforgettable Pearl who had red hair, I think she used to work up in the Ladies fashion and also ended up on the tills. 

    I used to cry when I saw staff lined up the escalators and stairs at Christmas singing carols. It always took me by surprise. There was a chair somewhere round the bottom of the escalators for elderly people to take a rest. I got stuck in the escalators once and it was very embarrassing being winched down slowly as the doors were open and my friend and I arrived slowly into the glass department wearing mini skirts, with an audience of interested shoppers. 

    I used to like coming in the shop at the front and leaving at the back corner or vice-versa and was very upset when the back door and stairs became staff only. 

    I packed shopping bags for a long time and loved it but some people’s bags smelt old and fusty. I used to go home and bore my poor mother with stories about people’s carrier bags and which famous people’s bags I had packed. To this day she still refers to my ‘carrier bag stories’ if I go on too much about something! Michele Noble

    By Michele Noble (06/01/2013)

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