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‘They parcel-taped me in a cage and left me at the entrance’: Magical memories of working at C&A in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 13:41 24 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:36 24 September 2018

Hay Hill in December 1972 PHOTO: Archant

Hay Hill in December 1972 PHOTO: Archant

Those who have lived in Norwich for two decades or more will remember that before Next was there, a different store dominated the top of Hay Hill.

Hay Hill with the C&A Modes Store and the St. George and Dragon Public House. PHOTO: ArchantHay Hill with the C&A Modes Store and the St. George and Dragon Public House. PHOTO: Archant

Retailer C&A was started by two Germans in Holland in 1861 and closed its British stores way back in the year 2001, taking 4,800 jobs with it.

In its heyday C&A sat next to the St George and the Dragon Public House. The shop sat where Next is now, next to MacDonalds opposite Haymarket.

However, anyone who really misses C&A can still find them, as they continue to operate in various locations across Europe, including Germany, France and Spain.

Marion Clarke shared her memories, saying: “I started working at C&A in 1988 at the age of 16 on a Youth Training Scheme and left when it closed down.

Demolition of the old Lamberts warehouse on Hay Hill. Picture: ArchantDemolition of the old Lamberts warehouse on Hay Hill. Picture: Archant

“It was a great place to work and the people there were so special - they were like extended family to me at the time.

“There was always something going on. One lady used to hold these Dutch auctions at her house which were legendary. There were charity events, treasure hunts, sponsored walks, day trips to London and at Christmas some of the staff used to put on a show.

“Everyone used to work hard and we were all well trained, I have yet to work anywhere quite like it.”

She added: “During my time there I worked on many departments and ended up as a display assistant which I absolutely loved. When I got married everyone made it so special for me: mind you they did parcel tape me into a cage and left me at the main entrance.

Hay Hill cascade with people looking at the foam after someone had put detergent in. Photo: ArchantHay Hill cascade with people looking at the foam after someone had put detergent in. Photo: Archant

“I remember watching the library burn down from one of the upstairs offices. When I went to the reunion it was like I’d gone into a time machine and I had seen everyone only yesterday. I will always remember my time at C&A with great fondness.”

Hay Hill in April, 1991  . PHOTO: ArchantHay Hill in April, 1991 . PHOTO: Archant

Hay Hill in April, 1991  . PHOTO: ArchantHay Hill in April, 1991 . PHOTO: Archant

Hay Hill, January 1990 PHOTO: ArchantHay Hill, January 1990 PHOTO: Archant

C&A workers (Left to Right) Janet Kemp (Manager), Shirley Legood, Jill Wegg, Pat Rant, Linda Kirk. Photo: Pat RantC&A workers (Left to Right) Janet Kemp (Manager), Shirley Legood, Jill Wegg, Pat Rant, Linda Kirk. Photo: Pat Rant

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