Recently we saw the unveiling of Walker and Ling's new shop front - perfect timing with non-essential shops being allowed to reopen on the 12th April 2021.
For 11 weeks this spring, they have been reinstating the post-war architecture of Walker & Ling. And doesn't it look magnificient?
In June 1942, a 500lb oil bomb burnt most of the north end of the high street to the ground. Over 10 years, Walker & Ling was rebuilt and reinstated. The design, officially opened in 1956, was a very 'modern' building, in the architectural style of the day. It featured a mosaic of blue/green tiles, a walk-in 'vitrine' style window, and brass lettering over the doors.
The tiles are still manufactured in Italy by the same company who made them in the 50s. The terrazzo flooring is made in the style of that time, and the brass lettering, lit by the overhead brass lamp, are all reminiscent of that time.
The project is co-managed and part-funded by North Somerset Council and Historic England, as part of the Heritage Action Zone Shopfront Enhancement scheme. Weston's department store, Walker & Ling is the first store to be enhanced by this project.
When asked how Lockdown had affected the store's renovation, Sam Walker said, "The lockdown was timely as far as the renovations are concerned. The project was due to begin in April 2020, but was postponed time and again. In fact the work overlapped for some weeks with us reopening in April this year, but everyone was just pleased to be back so there wasn’t too much trouble. We’re looking forward to a busy and sunny May now, with our new store front and Weston getting back on its feet."
Visit Walker & Ling's website here for more images and information of the transformation.
Walker & Ling opened in Weston in 1904, and their history can be found here.