ONE of South Tyneside’s most impressive shop fronts is to be retained as part of a town centre masterplan, it has been confirmed.
Family footwear retailer Riddicks, in Fowler Street, South Shields, closed its doors for the last time in June, after 120 years of trading.
However, while many of the buildings around it are to be demolished as part of South Shields 365 – an ambitious vision aimed at transforming the town over the next decade – the ornate shop frontage is to remain.
That decision has been taken because of the building’s “significant architectural merit”.
It is hoped to re-let the premises to a new retailer.
Coun John Anglin, the council’s lead member for Regeneration and Economy, said: “A key element of our plans for the regeneration of the town centre is to retain buildings of significant architectural merit which contribute to the rich townscape of South Shields.
“The former Riddicks shoe shop is a great example of this, and its impressive facade and frontage will be preserved and re-let as a retail premises in due course.
“The rear of the unit is a modern extension which will be demolished to make way for the proposed new transport interchange, which forms part of our £100m vision for the town centre.”
Brothers Angus and John Winfield, the shop owners, took the decision to sell-up because of an “increasingly competitive market”.
Riddicks was originally established at 23 King Street back in 1893.
It was the brothers’ grandfather, Frederick Winfield, who took over the premises in 1920 and it was in 1980 that it relocated to Fowler Street.
Over the years it sold every form of footwear, including “K” shoes and the Padders brand, and winklepickers through to Roamers and Doc Martens.