South Shields shoppers share fond memories of Binns as town centre evolves for next chapter

Shopping for a brand new outfit, enjoying some of your best days at work or taking the whole family along for that all-important trip to see Santa Claus.

On the corner of King Street and Russell Street, the department store was a must-visit for many on a trip into the town centre before its closure in the 1990s.

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Whether you were window shopping or splurging, there were many things for all ages to enjoy on a browse across Binns’ four floors.

While the store is no more, customers of the past have many memories of the magic in Santa’s grotto, choosing a new toy or stocking up at the food hall.

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17 pictures which remind us how brilliant Binns was in South Shields' glory days
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The face of South Shields town centre continues to change, with regeneration work on the horizon to make land available for redevelopment.

Some demolition work has already happened in part of King Street, with additional works approved to take place in due course elsewhere in the town centre.

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Who remembers going to see Santa at Binns? Here's the first ever visit by Santa to Binns in South Shields in the 1930s.

Ahead of an exciting new chapter in the South Shields’ future, we took Gazette readers down memory lane to share their stories of the much-missed store.

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From favourite and first jobs to memorable toys and family days out; there was a lot to love!

Dozens of people got in touch on our Facebook page, and this is what they had to say:

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Valerie Taylor Garthwaite: “I remember going to the Christmas grotto as a young child … thought it was magical. Loved that store.”

Taking a look at the 1970s fashions in Binns, South Shields.
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Irene McConnachie: “That was my first job after leaving school.”

Gillian Murray: “Brill department store to work in, lots of good memories.”

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Nicola Reed: “Loved Binns, got my first TV and video combi from there.”

Linda Richardson: “Loved it! Dad bought me a dolls’ twin pram from there. Got my first three-piece suite and lounge carpet from there.”

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A flashback to June 1979 with a look at the Binns electrical department. Remember it?

Valerie Shepherd: “It was my first job 1963. Handbag department. Miss Wallace was my buyer.”

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Pauline Smith: “Worked there from September 1963 to March 1966, remember the queues outside when the sales were starting!”

Dawn Renner Wilson: “Worked there for over 10 years on the radio and tv dept before going up to merchandise around 1986. Happy days.”

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Joyce Wilson: “Used to work there. Happy memories, loved it.”