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Gamma Garments

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Gamma Garments shop logo in 1962.

Gamma Garments was the name of a chain of shops owned by a tyrannical Greek businessman, Mr Papagopolous. There were several stores at unspecified sites across the region with stores in Weatherfield at Redmond Street, Becketts Road, Gaunt Street and in the summer of 1962 a new shop was added to the empire, being sited on Rosamund Street.

The previous June, Emily Nugent, owner of a baby linen business had been forced to amalgamate with Swindley's Draperies, owned by lay-preacher Leonard Swindley, when the landlord of her own shop refused to renew the lease. The two businesses became one the following month, with Swindley as owner and Miss Nugent as assistant but times were difficult and in the November Swindley was forced to offer credit terms. This caused a temporary reprieve but stocks couldn't be maintained and the system had to be stopped, leaving him bankruptcy. The business struggled on for six more months and Swindley hoped that a legacy from a late uncle could save him but in the end he was forced to sell out to Papagopolous in June 1962. Swindley was retained as manager and Miss Nugent and Doreen Lostock as assistants.

They worked excellently together and Swindley and Emily formed a brilliant partnership and were friends through their religious backgrounds. Soon enough, Emily was smitten with him. The shop was the background for their budding romance that resulted in Emily proposing to him in 1964. He accepted but was jilted at the altar. Swindley was promoted to work in the head office, Gamma House, in May 1963 and the shop was put in the hands of ruthless Neil Crossley who was a stark contrast to bumbling Swindley. He took the profits of the shop for himself. Neil managed to charm Sheila Birtles and she fell pregnant. They later married and moved to Sheffield. In 1967, Mr Papagopolous decided there was no future for haberdashery and the world of fashion was changing. Gamma Garments was transformed into a boutique and Emily returned from nursing her father with a modern look. Dennis Tanner and Lucille Hewitt were taken on as assistants and the shop continued in this style until Papagopolous made the shock decision to sell the shop in 1968. Dave Smith bought the shop and opened a florist called "The Pink Posy" with Elsie as manageress.



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