READERS will undoubtedly be able to help Bridport Museum with its records about Elmes Drapery Store, which traded from 21-25 East Street for around 100 years.

What the museum doesn’t know exactly is when the department store closed – they think it was around the mid 1980s.

Our thanks go to deputy curator Margaret Milree for this information about the town centre business.

The store was a drapers, milliners, ladies’ and gents’ outfitters and sold shoes, children’s and baby wear, household goods and haberdashery.

The business is first mentioned in Kelly’s trade directory for 1880 trading as Cosser and Elmes. Henry Cosser was born in Portland in 1835 but was by 1871 living in Bridport and working as a draper.

William Elmes, born in Weymouth, was living in Greenwich in 1871 but by 1881 had moved to Bridport.

By 1885 Henry Cosser had retired and the business continued trading as ‘William Elmes’. William died in 1909 aged 67.

He never married and the museum does not know who took over the business, which continued to trade under his name.

In 1915, Mr H Castree is recorded in the trade directories as manager.

In 1974, Elmes was bought by Hitchcock Williams, a drapery company established in London in 1829.

By the early 1980s the store, now Elmes (Bridport) Ltd, was being run by brothers David and Gordon Williams under executive director John Glossop.

Staff at this time included manageress Anne Hallett, head of the children’s department Daisy Day, Sheila Cast, head of the lingerie department and Brenda Reynolds, the household textile buyer. The menswear department was run by Ken Cliff, the shoe department by Elsie Bartlett and Christine Smith was the store’s merchandiser and responsible for fashion stock and sales.

So over to you readers – there are bound to be some of you who can share your memories, and even your pictures, of the store.