Doors to close after 90 sparkling years in city

A jewel in Peterborough's shopping crown is set to close for the final time after being a fixture in the city centre for 90 years.

Thursday, 29th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:07 pm
Roger and Kevin

Charles Bright the Jewellers will shut once a huge closing down sale has finished and all the stock has been sold.

The independent shop, located in St John’s Square, has been supplying engagement rings, necklaces and bracelets to city residents since the 1920s.

Roger Aron (72) who has owned the store with business partner Kevin Roberts since 1990, felt it was time to retire.

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Roger said: “It has been a difficult decision to close the shop.

“It is important there are as many independent shops in Peterborough as possible. So many towns all look the same. We are proud we have been able to maintain that position here.

“The way people have shopped has changed a lot in recent years, especially with younger people, but people have always come and found us.”

The Exchange Street shop was originally opened by Charles Henry Ernest Bright, a reputable jeweller and watchmaker, in the early 1920s. He took over the small 9ft-wide shop to run the jewellery and watch shop.

The business was acquired from Charles’ widow by Bob Wood in 1958. In 1970 Bob expanded into the adjoining premises, the former Peterborough Leather Company shop, and part of Kirby’s hairdressers, and fitted out the shop much as you see it today.

When the Queensgate Centre was being built, Bob Wood successfully fought off a Compulsory Purchase Order - deemed unjustified - and ran the business with the help of his wife Margaret until 1990.

Roger said: “A lot of people look to us for an important service - families have bought heirlooms from us for generations.

“It was a difficult decision to retire, but I’m 72 now. A lot of my friends have retired, ad have been asking when I am going to stop.

“Now seems the right time to call it a day. We did look into selling the business, but it is not a good time to be doing that. Our lease is up, so it is time to call it a day.

“We will close on Saturday (October 1) for a week, and then re-open on Saturday, October 8. We will be having a big sale, with everything 50 per cent off.

“We wanted to give something back to Peterborough people.

“We will be open until all the stock has gone.I think we will be very busy - yesterday we had a customer in the shop for half an hour talking, but I don’t know how long we will be able to spend with the customers.

“I don’t know what I will do when I retire - I haven’t got any plans. It is going to be strange not coming in to work - I have worked continuously for more than 50 years.”

Roger Aron, director of Charles Bright jewellers at Exchange Street EMN-160927-165655009
Roger Aron, director of Charles Bright jewellers at Exchange Street EMN-160927-165655009