February 21 will see the end of an era in Hebden Bridge when, having served the area for over 100 years, the doors of Harold Crabtree close for the final time.
Harold’s daughters Lynne and Fran, who run the local fashion and footwear retailer on Albert Street, and son Robert, who ran the branch in Halifax which closed last month, have decided it’s time to shut up shop.
Lynne said: “It has been an immensely difficult decision. In lots of ways we still can’t believe it is going to happen. But as much as we would have liked to keep going forever, over the course of last year we realised that it was the right time to make the change.
“The family would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Calderdale and beyond for all the pleasure we have shared over the years.”
The news of closures has caused sorrow amongst regulars.
Michelle Oxley, who runs the Juju Lounge in Bridge Mill said: “I couldn’t believe it when I heard they are closing. They are so much a part of the town.”
So moved was Michelle by the news, she set up a book for the other regulars she knew to write reminiscences, messages of thanks and good luck. Fran said ‘We were touched by the kind thoughts everyone shared.
Jo Bibby, a regular for the past 25 years, said: “Fran and Lynne have been there through the ups and downs. They have seen our three children grow up- whenever I have any news about them I always go in the shop to share it.”
One of the hallmarks of the shops were the inspiring window displays that Fran, Lynne and Robert created to mark each season. And one of the regrets the siblings have is that they were never photographed - especially as a historical record.
Inspired by this thought, Jo and Michelle are asking customers to take a photograph - not full length pictures, just below the knee - of themselves wearing their favourite pair of Harold Crabtree shoes and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it on the Harold Crabtree Memories Facebook page .
Lynne and Fran would also like people to drop off their favourite shoes to produce the final shop window.
Fran said: “Please bring in your shoes by Saturday, February 14, and we will create a retrospective display to mark the end of an era.”