History of Brookers
HOW DID BROOKERS BEGIN?
There's hardly a home in Hitchin, Letchworth and surrounding areas, that does not contain something from Brookers, a leading name in hardware, home improvements and industry.
For Brookers have provided a service for the people of North Hertfordshire for over 100 years.
During these years the Brooker family have purchased various premises, extended them, introduced new departments and modernised them annually in an effort to keep pace with the requirements of an ever-changing society.
The business has always been a family concern handed from father to son, and, to this day, members of the family can be seen in the shops, talking to customers and bringing the personal touch to their business which has been a major part of the firm's recipe for success.
The firm began in a very small way at 49 Station Road, Hitchin, now Walsworth Road, when Thomas Brooker bought the premises for a mere £178.1s.8d.
In 1898, the first branch of the business was established at 39 Bucklersbury, Hitchin. Soon after the transaction Thomas married, and later had three sons and five daughters.
Five years after the purchase of the first shop, a furniture shop was opened across Dacre Road from the first shop, which had already been enlarged when Thomas took over the shop next door.
During the 1914-18 War, when other businesses in the area were finding it hard to keep going, the Brooker family made courageous moves by pressing on and acquiring the business of furnishing ironmongers carried on by Williams & Son in Sun Street, Hitchin.
In 1909, the firm became a limited company because of their rapid growth, and still the family played an active part in the day-to-day running of their shops.
During the early 1930's a big expansion plan for the Bucklersbury shop meant the original shop becoming little more than the entrance to the new, well-lit premises, which after the expansion stretched back to a site on which only cottages had formerly stood.
The premises on Sun Street were amalgamated with Bucklersbury and the shop was disposed of.
In 1959, the shop in Bucklersbury was again extended when Brookers acquired the shop next door and developed new and modern walk-around departments.
Brookers was now the biggest business of its kind in Hertfordshire. The company had been members of the old Hitchin Market Company and when it wound up in 1936, Brookers had the opportunity of purchasing the freehold of their warehouse site.
Between 1964-5 a further extension to the showroom and shop took place when old cottages in Exchange Yard were demolished.
1976 was a commemorative year for the Brooker Family for they celebrated their Centenary Year.
(Taken from an article in North Herts Gazette)
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