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This covers the London postal districts. For other locations in Greater London please see the former county (e.g. Middlesex, Surrey)
Alders, Rushey Green, SE6. "It was a dark spookey shop with a man sitting high in an office at the back where all the sales money and change was delivered to and from by a wire aerial delivery system. I can still see all those tubes flying by overhead. Alders was in Rushey Green on the corner of Wildfell Road. 'Graham' in posting to Downham Discussion, 30/7/06
Arding & Hobbs (dept. store), Clapham Junction, SW11. Lamson pneumatic tube system with at least eight Pneu-Art stations still being used when I visited in February 2003 for internal communication and till clearance but disppeared during modernisation in 2004. The shop was rebuilt in 1910 following a fire and originally had fifty stations. The Pneu-Art stations must have been replacements, as this design was introduced in the 1930s.
Army & Navy Stores, Victoria Street. "The vacuum tube system, vast and complex in my memory, was a great thrill." Colin Freeman (1950s/60s)
Arthurs Stores, corner of Westbourne Grove and Chepstow Road. "Cash railway... speeding along wires above your head". Geoffrey Green: Early memories of Bayswater
Barkers, Kensington High Street. "Barkers of Kensington used to have overhead wires on which was suspended a carrier for cash. The cashier sat high up in a pulpit affair, in the centre of the shop. The carriers whizzed back and forth at a rate of knots." 'Songbird' in posting to RootsWeb ESSEX-UK list, 26/9/04
John Barnes, Finchley Road. Opened on 29 March 1900 with Lamson Pneumatic Tube system. At that time only 3 other London shops had it. "The cylinders travel at the rate of 2,500 feet a minute... There are thirty two 'stations' throughout the house. Draper's Record, 17 March 1900, p.676
Barratts (shoes), Oxford Street. "When I worked in Barratt’s Shoe shop in Oxford Street they still used one [pneumatic tube system] to transfer cash from the first floor (Ladies Shoes) to the cashier on the ground floor." The Domestic Townscape website
Bartons (dept. store), Wood Green. "As a kid I was fascinated by their overhead money system. It was a track that ran around the store and when you paid the cashier they put it into a tube and attached it to the rail & then pulled a cord to send it winging off to a central cash office." 'Roy' in posting to GEN-TRIVIA-ENG-L list, 6/7/99. (Roy was born in 1945.)
Bearmans (dept. store), Leytonstone. Wire system with central high-up kiosk for the cashier in 1930s-40s. Later became Co-op. (B.Coster). Now demolished. N.Pitt
Binyshs, Hoxton Street, Hoxton. "Money and bills whizzed around on overhead wires, pinging bells... There were lots of counters served by grandmotherly women, and when my mother gave money to one of them the woman would make out a bill, unscrew a metal cylinder the size of a hand grenade, put the money and the bill into the cylinder, hook it on to a wire over her head, pull a cord, there would be a loud ping! from an electric bell, and the cylinder would rocket away overhead to the other side of the shop, to a woman sitting at a cash register... I could have watched it all day... It was the biggest shop in Hoxton Street, and always full of people." Bryan Magee. Clouds of glory: a childhood in Hoxton (London: Cape, 2003) p.66
Blands (haberdashers), Wembley High Road. Lamson pneumatic system in 1950s and 60s. Posting to uk.rec.subterranea newsgroup, 8 Mar. 2000 and Nigel Callaghan
Boardmans (dept. store), Stratford. Wire system. Now demolished. N.Pitt
Bon Marché, Brixton. Had a Pneumatic Tube system by 1900. Draper's Record, 17 March 1900, p.676. There is an illustrated history of the store at the Bon Marche Centre website.
Bravingtons (jewellers), Ludgate Hill. Wire system with three stations. J.Liffen
F.W.Bugg (grocer), 114 Talbot Road, Westbourne Grove, W11. "Cash and change would travel between the grocer, the cashier and the customer via an overhead machine operated by a pulley system." Photograph of wire system on Museum of London: Postcodes project
Chiesmans, 37-59 High Street, Lewisham. Wire system. "Some lines turn up vertically and went up one floor and stopped just above floor level. It disappeared in the 1950’s". Acquired by House of Fraser in 1976. Shop now closed. Mike Pain. Photo of exterior.
A china shop, Seven Sisters. Rapid Wire system in about 1968. "One of the wires passed above a great conical display of stacked china. There was a gap where the carrier could pass through." Removed and some parts installed in Bradford Museum.
Walter Cobb. 14/30 Kirkdale, Sydenham, SE26. Pneumatic tube system extended after WW2. For details see Lamson Pneumatic Tubes page. Documents in Lewisham Archives, A81/68/2/26.
Co-op, Brixton. "In those days the Co-op used little metal cups to transfer the money to the cash desk. Anyway, these little metal cups that we had to put the money in ran on wires across the ceiling of the shop. You would put the customer's money into the cup, pull a cord, and send the cup with the money inside running along the wires to the cash desk... When it was my turn on the cash desk, I used to send love notes in the metal cups to the 'Bacon Bonce', the boy on the bacon counter." The Time Capsule website
Co-op, corner of Broadway and Stag Lane, Burnt Oak, Middx. 5 or 6 storey building. Had a pneumatic tube system. Building still exists but no longer a Co-op. Christopher Sullivan
Co-op, East Ham. "The idea of sending money to the Cash Office through a Vacuum Tube was also used at the Co-operative Department Store on the corner of the High Street and St. John's Road." DougT in posting to Newham Story forum, 10/11/11
Co-op, Lewisham. "My school uniform was bought there and when we went in and Mum had to pay for it the money would be whizzed across the store in a little pot on a wire and we would have to wait for the change." Jackie Walder in comment on Francis Frith website 29/7/11
Co-op, Streatham Vale (South Suburban Cooperative Society). Wire system in early 1950s. Robert Jackson
Co-op, Hoe Street, Walthamstow. "The Co op in Hoe street when then money used to zip through the air tubes." Walthamstow History website
Co-op, Woolwich. "We also visited the Co-op department store. The money for purchases was placed in little tubes and sent whizzing along overhead wires to a central cash desk. When the tube returned it contained your change, together with your dividend in the form of embossed tin discs." WW2 People's War Website
Co-op, High Street, Wood Green. Wire system up to 1970. Letter from J.E.Hackford in Hertfordshire Countryside, vol. 29 (No. 187), Nov. 1974, p.47
Crisp, Seven Sisters Road. "At North London .. Emma Coombes .. was charged with stealing a number of articles.. the property of Messrs. Crisp and Co., drapers, Seven Sisters-road... While waiting for the return of the change by the cash railway, witness saw her .. take three pairs of gloves." Evening News (Portsmouth), 4 Jan. 1893, p.3. The shop was sold in 1910.
Daniels (drapers), Balham. Cash carrier. Frances Muncey
Philip Davies, East Sheen, SW14. Rapid Wire system until about 1970. Barbara Hathaway
Dawsons (dept. store), City Road. "Probably the thing I remember most about Dawson’s was the procedure for paying. Having given the assistant your money it was put into a metal tube and hooked into a contraption above the assistant's head. The assistant then pulled on a string or lever, I cannot recall which, and the tube was propelled along a metal line to a mystery department where the tube was removed and its contents checked. Once the sale was recorded, the tube was filled with the change and a receipt and shot back to the assistant. I always found this process fascinating and imagined a little world of away from the rest of the store where people spent their days emptying and filling these tubes." Dawsons ceased trading in 1980. East End Memories website with photograph of exterior.
A department store, Tooting Broadway. Cash carrier. "I wanted to work in the department store .. when I grew up just so I could be the cashier in the little room." "Mornev" in posting to Daily Mail chat, 18 Jul. 2005
Draper Bros.(drapers, boots and shoes), 113 High Street, Lewisham. "I can remember Draper's haberdashery shop, the Draper brothers. When you paid your bill they'd put them in a container with overhead wires, pull the handle, and it would shoot across to the cashier." Library of Experience website
A draper's shop, Chiswick High Road. Wire system. See Thomas in references. Could be Goodbans?
Drapers and habderdashers, Uxbridge Road/Lime Grove, "Across the road on the corner of Lime Grove was a ‘drapers and haberdashery’ where the cash was put in a tube and sent flying along overhead wires to a central cashier – and the change and a receipt came back the same way." White City Estate - memories
Dunhams, Wanstead. "A cash pulley system... Recently closed ." Part at least acquired by Redbridge Museum and displayed in "Behind the Scenes" exhibition January 2004. Redbridge website
Edmunds (?), Green Lanes. "I recall being taken to Edmunds(?) store and was captivated by the overhead wiring system. A customer would buy an item, the server would put the payment inside a container, pull a handle and send the cash up and over presumably to the head cashier. Frances Frith website [Could this actually be Grouts?]
Elys (dept. store), Wimbledon. Wire system ca. 1950/55. David Jeffreys
Clifford Evans, corner of High Street and Market Place, Acton. Wire system. Eventually taken over by Edmonds (drapers) and the system fell into disuse. "The lady would put mum's money into a tube which rotated into a trolley with two wheels, then she would pull on a wooden handle hanging on a green cord. There would be a sort of recoil click, and the little trolley would shoot all the way round the store to the central elevated booth: after a few moments it would come back. Michael in posting to the Gnatterbox, 13/1/07
Clifford Evans, Broadway, Southall. "Clifford Evans in The Broadway definitely had these. It used to fascinate me. You could see the cashier up in her office sorting out the change to send back down.Just as quick then as today with tills that do everything for them." Dilys Boot in posting to Southall Message Board, 11/2/10
D.H.Evans & Co. Pneumatic tube
system installed by Lamsons in their new Oxford Street store in 1909.
Times 28 July 1909, Engin. Suppl. p.18.
Evans (grocers), Green street, East Ham, near the Boleyn. Wire system. "The wires crossed each other at points and I lived in hope that one day there would be a crash." Posting by Alan Smith to Newham Local History Forum, 12/1/06. "Quite a big shop with a reputation for high quality." Posting by John Plant, 13/1/06
Evans & Davies (dept. store), Green Lanes, about 300 yards south of Grouts [see below]. Ground floor (haberdashery, drapery, etc.) had wire system inmid 1950s. Dismantled by 1959. Roger Newark
Fenwicks, Bond Street. "I remember Fenwicks in Bond Street, London having the tube system at least into the early 1970s, I worked on the receiving end of it for a bit as a temp." 'Back to the drawing board' in posting to Yahoo UK Answers
Fish shop in Harringey. "The fish shop with the overhead wires that sent the money from the counter to the lady on the cash desk". Ray Smith London Childhood Memories
Gamages (West End). In 1931 a committee
of the creditors included representatives of the Lamson Store Service
Company Ltd. and Lamson Pneumatic Tube Company Ltd. Times, 8 May 1931,
Gayler and Pope, 112-117 High Street, Marylebone. "There was a small department store in those days, named Gaylor [sic] and Pope's. It was a very old-fashioned store with long overhead tramlines that whizzed the customer's bill and payment from the assistant to a cashier sitting at a desk hidden away somewhere... The store was alive with the aound of these little contraptions being pulled up, whizzed overhead then shot back to the appropriate counter and customer." Sheila Brook. Where is the key? (Brentwood: Chipmunkapublishing, 2009) p.51. (The shop specialised in nurses' uniforms. It is known in legal circles for a case where a pony pulling a milk van crashed through the window.)
Godbolds, Lavender Hill, SW11. Gipe system. "Recently dismantled for scrap" but some parts salvaged by Mrs M. Proctor - letter in "This England", Spring 1975. Five stations. Rental was £3 p.a. inclusive of repairs to the wires which frequently needed attention (Mrs Proctor). Also recalled by Michael de Larrabeiti: "There was a big draper's shop called Godbold's [sic] where they used to send the change bashing about on overhead wires, and I used to buy some little things in there just to see it happen."
Goodbans, High Road, Chiswick. "There used to be a drapers shop in Chiswick called Goodbans... It had an unusual system of overhead wires along which the shop assistants shot a canister device containing your payment for goods to a central cashier's podium. The cashier unscrewed the canister, removed your money and replaced it with your change and shot it back along the wire to the shop assistant at the counter." Brentford: a town to remember website Also Hounslow Local Studies website . Closed in 1974 and site occupied by Boots and Robert Dyas.
Goorwitchs, Oxford Street. Pneumatic tube system. Plan of ground floor with four stations in Hammond
David Griegs, Harlesden High Street. "Each counter was connected by wire to a central cashier sitting in a little room high up, along which the money and receipt was [sic] sent backwards and forwards in a metal cylinder." 'Little Red Monkey' posting to Whirligig Message Board 24/5/05
Grouts (drapers), 397 Green Lanes, Palmers Green. Gipe system in situ until closure in April 2002. System is being moved to East Anglia Transport Museum. (I visited in 2002). Photograph taken soon after closure in Morrison.
Haberdashers, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton. Later a bicycle shop. "Money whizzing upstairs in a pneumatic tube." APT Self Help website
Hall & Co. (drapers and haberdashers), Stroud Green Road, Islington, N4. Wire carrier in 1960s. Brian Boyle
Hamleys (toys). "Had a nice polished brass pneumatic tube system for the same purpose." ('Nemo' in posting to alt.fan.goons newsgroup, 21/11/05) . "I associate it with a sort of aerial dispatch system to send money from the sales counters to a central cashier... It wasn't a Lamson tube... These were probably spring-loaded overhead runways." 'Waxy' in posting to Whirligig message board, 20/11/04
Hammertons (drapers), Green Street, Upton Park. Pneumatic tube system in 1950s. Peter Ward in posting to Newham Local History Forum, 3 Mar. 2006
Hammetts (jewellers), corner of Barking Road and Denmark Street (now Jutland Road), East Ham. Wire system still in use in 1964. "Connected two counters on opposite sides of the shop with a cashier on one side." Ronald Camp
Harper Bros (drapers), Balham. Lamson's traveller called. BCPC called a few days later and obrtained an order, but the shop alleged they thought they were giving the order to Lamson. One of the locations involved in the court case British Cash and Parcel Conveyors Ltd. v. Lamson Store Service Co. Ltd., 1908. Also information from Frances Muncey.
Harrods, Knightsbridge. "A message-carrying
pneumatic tube system had been in use since Edwardian times, but the 1935
sale saw the introduction of a system that carried cash as well. It was
claimed to be the largest such system in the British Empire: 63 km/39
miles of twisting pipes. Customers' money was placed in a tube and swept
at 27 km/17 miles an hour down to the basement. Cashiers placed the right
change in the tube, adjusted the destination number, and sent it back.
The longest journey was 400 metres/one-quarter mile, and took 54 seconds...
The system was still in use for carrying messages until the 1980s."
(Callery, p.63). Includes a photograph
of the cash office around 1950.
Hawkins (drapers). Corner of High Street North and Barking Lane, East Ham. "They didn't have cash registers. When you bought your purchase the written receipt and your money was put in large tube. This tube then travelled along the ceiling to the cash office (this is so hard to explain!). Your change and the receipt was returned in the same way." DougT and Linda C in postings to Newham Story forum, 10/11/11
Heywoods (drapers), Manor Park, E12. Single wire system. Extant up to 1955 at least. Shop closed in mid-1960s and site is now a MFI store. Clive Page
Hinds, Blackheath. "Going shopping in Hinds was quite an expedition... They would wrap up the money in the bill and put it in one of those round things on a wire and it would go across the shop floor, above your head. The cashier would take the money, sign the receipt and push it back." Age Exchange Reminiscence Centre
Jones Brothers, 356 Holloway Road. Originally 2 Pear Tree Terrace. Business dated from 1867. Next door acquired in 1871 and two more properties by 1877. New building in 1892."Each shop kept its own entrance and sold specific merchandise but openings were made so that customers (and the overhead cash railway!) could pass from one to another." The shop closed in 1990. Highbury & Islington Express website
Jones & Knights, West Ealing. "I used to go there with my mum for her underwear... They definitely had the overhead pulleys for the cash." Phyl Hutnell in posting to Southall Message Board, 26/10/10.
Kinch & Lack, Victoria, SW1 (school outfitters) "diagonally opposite the Bag of Nails pub". Pneumatic tube system in 1950s. Shop went when Stag Place was widened. Giles Barnabe
Lidstones (drapers), High Street, Walthamstow. "I remember in the High Street a draper's shop called Lidstones at the lower end of the street near Coppermill Lane. It was on the corner of Pretoria Avenue... There were wires running overhead from each department to the office in the centre. When you purchased something the assistant put your money in a 'cup' with the invoice, then pulled a lever which sent it to the office. It was then returned with your change." Walthamstow memories website
MacCulloch & Wallis (haberdashers and fabrics), 25 Deering Street, W1. Shop (and system?) dates from 1902. Two pneumatic tube terminals now exposed (V. Connolly). Used to be a wire system according to some customers. Photographs
Matthew Roses, Hackney. "Overhead cash tramways". Ken Neale "Christmas in Hackney in the 1920s and 1930s" in Hackney Terrier No. 56 (Winter 2000)
North London Drapery Store, Seven Sisters Road, N7 (between Axminster Road and Salterton Road) Lamson tube system in 1940s/50s. Posting to uk.rec.subterranea newsgroup, 13/8/02 and Ray Smith London Childhood Memories. Working into the 1970s Eric Galvin
Owen Owen, Finchley. Pneumatic tube system. Guardian, 20 Nov 1998, p.14
Petits (women's clothing), Kensington High Street. "Petit's clerical department was extremely outdated. It was the last shop still using a system of receipts for customers transported by overhead wires. The cashier sat in a sort of overhead balcony. The sales assistant made out a bill and sent it by pulleys and wires to the cashier, who kept one copy and stamped the other "Paid" as a receipt for the customer, and gave the necessary change. This was all transported by wire and pulley back to the sales assistant on the ground floor, who then gave the customer her change and receipt. In the 1950's this system had long become outdated in other stores. Most sales assistants at this time were also cashiers." Cosy corners in depression and war: autobiography of Joan Hughes
Pontings (drapers), Kensington High Street. Pneumatic tube system in use after WW2. Cashiers' point was in the sub-basement, two levels below street level. P.Bird
Pratts (John Lewis Partnership), Streatham. Pneumatic tube system in early 1950s. Robert Jackson
Priors, North Finchley. Wire system in 1960s. (Posting to rec.arts.sf.fandom newsgroup, 14/10/95 which says it worked by a clockwork motor!). Cash office was in the centre of the store. Shop was taken over by Owen Owens in 1970s. Paul Hornby also remembers the wire system
Pughs, Hampstead Road. "They
had an overhead cable system with the money being put in sort of boxwood
cups that plugged into a thingy with pulley wheels. The assistant then
pulled a lever that parted the two cables and sent the thing off to the
cashier's desk at very high speed." (A rare description of a Gipe
system in alt.fan.goons newsgroup, 17/3/04)
Rexs, Southgate. Cash Ball system ceased to operate in late 1960s. Information from Mrs Proctor
T.R.Roberts, Stratford. Pneumatic Tube system by 1900. Draper's Record, 17 March 1900, p.676
Robinson & Cleaver, Regent Street. Drapers firm from Belfast. Branch opened in 1894. Had a Pneumatic Tube system by 1900. Draper's Record, 17 March 1900, p.676
P.W.Rogers, 161-163 High Street, Penge, SE20. "At the end was the excitement of the cash transaction which involved the machine above the assistants' heads being used to send money shooting along a wire, in a small container near the ceiling, to the cashier... The Lamson Rapid Cash Carrier single wire with spring propulsion would bring your one farthing back if you insisted on change rather than pins." David R. Johnson. Around Crystal Palace & Penge. Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2004, p. 130. Photographs of counter and Lamson Rapid carrier.
Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society, Woolwich. Overhead wire system. The carriage returned with change and dividend in the form of embossed tin discs. John Boon's memories
Sainsburys, Southgate. Pneumatic tube system. Posting to alt.folklore.urban newsgroup, 21/4/01
Sanders (jewellers), Brixton. Lamson pneumatic tube system. Became Ratners. Blower and some stations in back office were still there in early 1990s. N.Pitt
Selfridges, Oxford Street. [The first quotation is somewhat surprising with a wire system being used for such a large store. The second refers to a pneumatic tube system which is more appropriate.]
Sherrys, Putney. ?Corner of Lacey Road. "I think they sold material or something like that.
They always had one of the vacuum type systems which fascinated me! " Mr Wobbly in posting to Whirligig message board, 19/10/09
Spokes (drapers), Lower Clapton Road, Hackney, E9. "The cash and bill [were] placed in a screw-capped wooden container and catapulted along to a central cashier's booth." Spokes closed in late 60s/early 70s. James Burns
Staddons, Balaam Street opposite Abbey Arms, Plaistow, E13. Wire system. "A focus of fascination with the antiquated ceiling mounted 'money transfer infrastructure'". Posting by Steve to Newham Local History Forum, 12/1/06. Was there in late 1952 (V.Coster worked there) and in 1964 (Ronald Camp).
Sweets (outfitters/drapers), Maryland Point, Stratford. Overhead wire system in 1950s/60s. Newham Local History Forum
Trundles, Lordship Lane, Dulwich. "Trundles which sold millinery and lingerie .. had a fascinating cash collecting system whereby the cash and the bill were put in a screw-capped wooden container which whizzed along overhead wires to the cashier and was returned with your change." Dulwich Society Newsletter, Winter 2005
Wards, South Tottenham. "We saw our last Lamson Rapid Wire in action at Ward's Stores (alas, no longer there) in South Tottenham, London, a few years back. Daily Mirror, 29 June 1977, p.24
Alfred Weeks (drapers), 52-54 Heath Street, Hampstead. "Alfred Weeks, where I remember in the 1930s wheeled bronze capsules whizzing on wires overhead as customers' money was carried to the cash office and their change returned to each counter." Alistair Service. Victorian and Edwardian Hampstead: two walks around its streets and buildings. (Historical Publications, 1989) p.84
S.Weiss (lingerie), 2 Golders Green Road. Pneumatic tube system. Quotation from Lamsons dated 15 February 1936 in Erno Goldfinger Papers, British Architectural Library (GOLER/224/14): 3 stations on ground floor, 4 on first and 3 on second and gravity cashier's desk. Purchase price £275 net or lease for 10 years at 5 guineas per station per year.
S.Weiss, 59/63 Shaftesbury Avenue. Pneumatic tube system. Quotation from Lamsons dated 12 March 1951 in Erno Goldfinger Papers, British Architectural Library (GOLER/227/5): 6 stations on ground floor and 3 on first. Lamson Cash Power Control Gracity [sic] Desk and Slow Speed Multi-stage Turbo Set. Purchase price £930 or yearly rental of 15 guineas per station.
Wickhams, Mile End Road. "The Institute recently completed a month's investigation in the Central Cash Desk of Messrs Wickhams (C.Barker, Ltd.), in the Mile End Road, London, where the Lamson Pneumatic Tube System is used." (Occupational Psychology, date unknown, p.261)
Wilsons, Crouch End. Wire system in mid/late 1950s. Simon Green
Woodmansees (general outfitter), Barking Road, ?East Ham. "Almost opposite the Gas Light and Coke Co offices... Used to have an extensive system of ?vacuum tubes." James Briggs in posting to Newham Local History Forum, 3 Mar. 2006
Heritage Centre, Old Dispensary, 30 Romford Road, Stratford, E15. Wire system, formerly in Manor Park museum, but not on display.
Redbridge Museum. See DUNHAMS above.
indicates systems which are still there (as far as I know) though they may not be working.