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Eager Electrical Closes PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Margaret Eager   
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 00:00

It is the end of an era and with great sorrow that Eager Electrical has closed its doors for the last time today.

Eager Electrical closes on Ledbury Portal

 

 

In 1946 my father, William Lacy, opened a radio shop in the Homend. A large part of the business was charging accumulators to run the radios.

It was my Saturday job delivering these on my bike around Gorsley and connecting them up to the radios. It was not a nice job as the accumulators were full of acid.

In 1950 my father moved the shop (W.J. Lacy) to the Top Cross and the family moved from Gorsley to the Southend.

I left school in 1952 and worked between Sherwood's cafe and my parents shop. We sold wind-up gramophones and records and it was the start of television era.

1950s Eager Electrical on Ledbury Portal

Three years later I went to work with my husband to be, Ronald Eager, an electrical contractor, who was working to supply the local villages with electricity. In 1956 we were married and a year later we had opened Eager Electrical at 38 The Homend.

My husband carried on with electrical contracting, while I ran the shop and coped with having a family as well. Initially we sold Burco wash boilers, hand powered wringer machines and cookers while tumble dryers and refrigerators were just coming in and on allocation.

In the 1960s British manufacturers - Hotpoint, Belling, Lec, Kenwood etc - increased the range of electrical appliances with automatic washing machines, dishwashers, freezers and refrigerators coming onto the market. Our competitors then were the M.E.B. in New Street and John James, Trident Apollo.

We joined a buying group (Euronics) to enable us to compete on prices and in doing so we were to become one of the biggest independent traders in the West Midlands.

In the 1960s we started to make up the first strings of Christmas street lighting for Ledbury, which we continued to install into the 1980s.

It was during the 1960-70s that the import of electrical goods into the UK started. Competition became fierce and it ended with our British factories being taken over and eventually closed down. Hardly any domestic electrical appliances are now made in Britain.

Lorry hits Lacy's on Ledbury Portal

Lorry hits Lacy's at Top Cross on Ledbury Portal

My father retired in 1973 and we purchased W.J. Lacy from him. My husband, Ron, finished electrical contracting and ran Lacy's at the Top Cross. Our eldest son Martin left school and went to work for him - repairing televisions and installing aerials. Martin also ran the video hire club with films on Betamax and VHS rented out of Lacy's in the 1980s.

Margaret and Martin Eager on Ledbury Portal

In 1986 we purchased 32 The Homend. My husband designed and built a large extension to the shop (with workshops and storage space). I moved Eager Electrical there and two years later Lacy's T.V. moved in too.

Waterworks inThe Homend outside Eager Electrical on Ledbury Portal

Ledbury traders Anita Cole and Joan Isaacs joined Margaret Eager in a sit down protest against the longevity of the waterworks and road closure that affected trade in the 1980s.

My husband Ron retired due to ill health and Martin was made a partner. I finished working in the shop in 2008 to look after Ron.

I had spent a large part of my life working in retail and had witnessed the technological revolution from radios powered by acid accumulators to the wizardry of the microchip.

I had enjoyed my time in the shop, serving customers, meeting salesmen and going to exhibitions to view new product ranges.

I knew before my husband died in 2009 that we had serious competition with the Internet as members of our buying group were closing. Even with the strength of the group our manufacturers were not giving the buying terms to enable us to compete.

High Street shops are high rated and with the high cost of wages, insurance, gas and electricity it is too costly for electrical shops to compete. This is why when you visit other towns they have all but disappeared.

Since the closing down sale started many people have commented how we will be missed.

I would like to thank again all past customers and all of our staff over the past 56 years.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 09 December 2011 10:42
 
Comments (1)
Thank you Margaret
1 Thursday, 01 December 2011 12:31
Rich Hadley

Just a quick note to say thanks for the very interesting article and photos. The Eager Electrical story is a fascinating one, and your written-down memories are important to Ledbury's history. Obviously it was very sad to see the closure of the shop which in many ways represents the passing of an era. The internet has brought many social and educational benefits, but I can't help feeling personally how sad it is that traders like you have been overtaken by progress - with a certain loss of community and kinship that stretches back many years. Good luck to you all, and thanks for the memories.