Plummer Roddis originated as two separate companies in the 19th Century. William Plummer was a draper in Hastings with a store at 3 Robertson Street in 1871, later opening another store in Southampton. George Roddis in 1870 was a draper in Market Harborough, by 1881 becoming partner in a drapers & milliners called Roddis & Goldsmith at 1-2 Robertson Street, Hastings.
During the late 19th Century William Plummer, George Roddis and Reginald Tyrrell, a Bournemouth draper, combined to create Plummer, Roddis and Tyrrell but Reginald Tyrrell relinquished his partnership in 1898 to focus on his other business Tyrrell & Green; thus the business became Plummer Roddis.
It is noted that in 1901 the store in Robertson Street provided acccomodation for 47 live-in staff on the upper floors of the building. This may well have been to relieve the over-crowding that was common in households at the time when having six children was not uncommon. The staff would most likely have been in shared rooms or a dormitory, with senior staff members perhaps having their own room.
In 1927 the Hastings store was rebuilt by the renowned architect Henry Ward, involving the complete demolition of 1b, 2, 3 and 3a Robertson Street; the new building providing accommodation across five floors. Whilst the re-build took place, the ground floor of the old Observer newspaper office in Claremont was utilised for the china, glass and ironmongery departments, whilst at 31, 32 and 33, Robertson Street (orig. Barrance and Ford), the departments devoted to lace. ribbons, gloves, hosiery and trimmings were to be on the ground floor and ladies’ and children’s outfitting on the first floor, while at Nos. 6 to 9, Robertson Street showrooms were prepared for millinery, costumes and coats on the ground floor, and knitted wear, blouses and dress materials and silks on the first floor.
As planned, the new building provided accommodation on the ground floor for the 'Fancy' department; this being pins/ribbons/lace/hosiery etc. The first floor housed millinery, gowns and costumes, with furs, knitted goods and ladies clothing on the second floor. The third floor was primarily dedicated to offices, but had an anciliary show-room and the fourth floor was earmarked for a tea room. Access to all floors was via two lifts, one being accessible from outside the store to provide access to the tea room when the shop was closed. This tea room also had a balcony where people could enjoy drinks whilst overlooking Robertson Street and the Albert Memorial. The top floor provided kitchens for the tea room, together with workshops and stock-rooms.
By 1965 Plummer Roddis had been bought by Debenhams and in the early 1970s the store was rebranded as Debenhams. By 2014 the only Plummer Roddis stores that operated as Debenhams still open were Guildford and Hastings.
:3;Robertson Street;1871; :1;Robertson Street;1881;
- Hastings Forum
- British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 16 January 1926 Pg. 0003