Palmers Green’s lost department store

Guest writer Tony Ourris tells the story of Palmers Green’s long lost department store …

In 1920, Mr D.C. Exton Evans and Mr W Cook Davies, opened up a department store in Palmers Green which was called Evans and Davies.

Evans and Davies originally traded in a smaller shop a few doors away which opened in 1911 and due to its success they decided to build a brand new building for their store. The building, at 305 – 311 Green Lanes, stood out with its grand 1920’s splendour including a large central arched window over the top two floors and its impressive façade which would immediately greet you as you came down Green Lanes.

Palmers Greeners search for a bargain in 1967's sale (image Enfield Local Studies)
Palmers Greeners search for a bargain in 1967’s sale (image Enfield Local Studies)

The store had 27 departments over three floors which you could use the passenger lift to go between. The two Welsh friends already had two other shops in Leyton which they had opened in 1907 and with this latest expansion in Palmers Green they decided to open a department store that was in the style of those already established in the West End. Their concept worked and was a roaring success which set a standard that many other enterprises in the area aspired to and benefited from.

The shops founders died in 1934 (Mr Davies) and 1938 (Mr Evans) but the department store continued to trade as a thriving business under the same name for many more years, even during the difficult years of World War II and the post war period.

The shop was famed for having an overhead wire system to settle the bills for purchasers. The sales assistant would place the account and the cash into a cup that was attached to the overhead wire system. The assistant would then pull a handle which would send the cup into the cashier’s office. The cup, containing the change and the receipt, would then be returned by the cashier’s office to the assistant in a similar way.

In 1956 during renovations to the store, the overhead wire system was removed and the shop fronts were changed.

As years went by, trade started to dwindle for the store as people’s shopping habits changed mainly due to the increase in popularity of indoor shopping centres with parking. The store struggled to survive. The Co-Operative took over the store but this did not help matters and Evans and Davies finally closed down in 1980. During the early and mid-1980’s the building started to deteriorate due to very little maintenance being done. The store was used by various market stalls but not to a great success. In 1987 the building was renovated and the ground floor was split into two stores occupied by Cullens supermarket and Multiyork Furniture. Cullens did not survive long and tenants in the shop have since included Moben Kitchens and currently Starbucks. The upper floors are currently occupied as council offices. The building has also been renamed as Triangle House.

This article first appeared in Palmers Green Life

19 replies on “Palmers Green’s lost department store”

Yes there was a lift attendant – and as I got out on the first floor with my mother I remember Muffin the Mule there- 6d a ride! And Father Christmas…such a treat….

I had a saturday job in Evans and Davies around 1960 and, yes, there was a lift attendant although I think that he/she may have been withdrawn in later years. Sometimes I was lucky enough to have a go, even though I was only in my teens.

In Tony Ourris’s article he mentions that the overhead cash carrier system was removed in 1956 but I thought I remembered it from the time I worked there. Am I wrong? Perhaps I remember it from shopping there in earlier years.

The overhead system was definitely still in use in the 60s as I remember going to E&D to purchase my St Angela’s Convent School uniform in 1963 onwards.

Yes I also got my St Angela’s uniform from Evans & Davies.
My mother used to enjoy her shopping trips there then go
over the road to Lyons Tea shop for a well earned cup of tea.

I also got my St Angela’s uniform here in the 1960s. I also remember seeing Father Christmas. Do I remember there used to be a lift attendant on the lift or have I got this wrong?

Does anyone know the original colours on the outside shop sign please? I am having a painting done of The Triangle for my mums 80th birthday but any photos from the 50/60s are all in black and white and I would like to get as close as possible to the original colours.

which shop were you referring to Karen ?- let me know and we will put a call out. We would love to see a picture of the results!

Hi, sorry, it’s the department store, think it was Evans and Davies, I would be really grateful if anyone can help, thanks. The painting won’t be finished till May this year but I will definitely post a picture when finished.

I worked there 1959-62 loved it, such happy times, 7 of us young men and dozens of girls, we even had a great canteen and got retail education at college at Mornington Cresent in central London

For my 6th Birthday present (which was in 1933) I received a beautiful doll from my parents. I had seen it in the window of Evans and Davies for many weeks and longed to have it….so it was a lovely surprise on my Birthday morning. Incidentally, my St Angela’s Convent uniform was also bought in Evans and Davies in 1941. Happy memories.

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