Jump to content

Memories of Wigfalls

Recommended Posts

In the years before the mass use of credit cards, it was difficult to buy anything if you didn't have the ready cash up front. The government did not like working class people to have any goods that were being paid for with HP or credit. In these days credit was so tight that people used to rent vacuum cleaners and fridges! It seems insane now.

 

If you wanted to rent anything you had to put up six-months-worth of payment up front. Why this was a legal requirement, I don't know; but it was. six-months payment in advance, before you were allowed to hire a vacuum cleaner. It staggers belief, but it's true.

 

Hoover used to get around this requirement by buying your old vacuum cleaner - or washing machine, if you were thinking of buying one of their brand of washing machine - and then the price they'd pay for your old junk would pay for the down payment. It seemed a desperate ploy to me, but there had to be some way to get past the government's obsessive need to make sure the common people of the UK lived in empty houses.

 

God, the 'seventies were depressing! I saw people having to go through a lot of undignified checks for creditworthiness so that they could take home a twenty-quid reconditioned vacuum cleaner.

 

More later, folks.

 

<snippitty>

 

I'm sure that's how my parents bought their first Hoover brand vacuum cleaner (which, IIRC was another of our wiggies' supplied appliances)

 

I'm not sure what is worse, the indignities potential buyers endured back then to obtain credit, or the obscenity that is the vastly inflated prices, and astronomical interest charges from places like brighthouse, charging something like £1,000-odd over 3 years for a £300 stereo or fridge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My parents rented their first tellies and Hoovers from Wigfalls a man used to come to collect every week he used to just knock and walk straight into the house without waiting foe an answer. I can't remember his name but he used to knit does anybody know him? My mother in law had her washing machine from there on rental

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am writing a book about the changes in the retail TV & radio trade since the war.

 

As I am sure those of you over a certain age will recall,high streets used to be full of a large number of retail and rental TV chains.

 

Sheffield had the Head Office of Wigfalls, as well as a number of their stores.

(In fact, they had 100 branches in 1985.)

 

I am trying to contact anyone who worked for them, and gather as much information as possible about the company.

I know they took over Curry's, and assumed the better-known Curry's name, and that they, in turn, were absorbed by Dixons.

 

However, I would also like anecdotes, and trivia items, plus, especially, any human interest stories.

Recollections about them, of any type are welcomed.

 

If anyone has any such information, please contact me by PM, or email to: alan "at" alanstepney.info

 

Of course, some of you may have memories that others in your local area might appreciate, so why not post them here too?

 

 

The same applies to any of the other "high street" multiple tv outlets.

If you worked for any of them, please get in touch. Particularly if you were involved in the tehcnical side.

 

Thanks.

i worked for them as a van lad when i first left school in1978 my driver was called willis south and the gaffer was mr crank i got sacked for being abusive to customers and staff:huh:

 

just an excuse as they were moving up to rutland road:hihi:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My parents rented their first tellies and Hoovers from Wigfalls a man used to come to collect every week he used to just knock and walk straight into the house without waiting foe an answer. I can't remember his name but he used to knit does anybody know him? My mother in law had her washing machine from there on rental

 

Was his name Tom?

 

The collector who used to come to our house used to do the same, just knocked and walked straight in. I cannot remember if he knitted or not, but I remember him being a bit presumptious, walking straight in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our Wigfall's man did just the same - he walked in through the door, along the passage, into the living room and opened the top left drawer in the sideboard where we kept the book. His name was Mr Foyle and lived on Chiltern Road - we lived a little further down the hill in Dykes Hall Road.

In 1960 we rented a small English Electric fridge from Wigfalls. Ten years later it had effectively been paid for and so we just paid a shilling a week insurance for repairs (which it never needed). Another decade or so on and Wigfall's forgot they had it, so it made its way to where I worked. The last I heard (a year ago) it was still going strong keeping the caretaker's beer and sandwiches cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is all fascinating and I will note it all. It helps to build a picture of the company and the times.

 

As for the 6 months advance, the length of that was changed at various times, in line with changes in the annual Budget. When the Chancellor increased or decreased HP deposits, in an effort at controlling the UK economy, rental advance payments changed as well.

 

There was certainly far less credit available "back then".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't remember his name, was Wigfalls a Sheffield only company? My mother used to buy a lot of furniture and carpets from Hymans on Crookes I believe they had other branches in Sheffield. I seem to think that the man who opened Twelvetrees was the manager at Hymans in the 1970's

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 1927 Henry Wigfall and son Ltd were motor repairers 54 infirmary Rd, cycle dealers 564 Langsett Rd/56 Spital hill, and Perambulator dealers58 Infirmary Rd,

Henry Senior lived at 47 Overton Rd Hillsborough, Henry junior at 50 Linden ave Norton Woodseats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember Wigfalls on Bellhouse Rd, we always rented our telly from there. When I was very little, aged about 8 or something, cant remember exactly, they had a colouring competition, think it was the inside of a fridge with a lady at the side, anyway, I won 10 shillings. Thats about the extent of anything I've ever won.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After leaving school in 1981, the great days of no jobs I got stuck on a YTS scheme in the wigfalls accounts dept. You entered a ramshackled old building near the wicker arches. All I remember was the office as full of girls and I spent my days filing and avoiding answering the phone......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a ramshackle old building at the back of the Wicker Arches where the old washing machines were reconditioned. And, I seem to recall, a place on Mowbray Street were the TV sets were reconditioned. (Unless I have these the wrong way round.)

 

Anyway, I seem to remember that the TV sets were reconditioned by a guy called Ted Crabtree. I bought a reconditioned Hitachi 14in colour TV from Wigfalls which I had the good fortune to select from his premises. It cost me about a hundred quid and lasted me for about twenty years.

 

Rather cunningly the Japanese had put a handle on the top of it and passed it off as a portable (to get past the constraints of the import restrictions). But it was no such thing. Reliable as it undoubtably was, it weighed a ton.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

In the years before the mass use of credit cards, it was difficult to buy anything if you didn't have the ready cash up front. The government did not like working class people to have any goods that were being paid for with HP or credit. In these days credit was so tight that people used to rent vacuum cleaners and fridges! It seems insane now.

 

 

When I moved to Canada in '69, the difference in approaches took me aback. I didn't have a permanent job then, yet with barely any trouble at all, I was able to get a loan to buy a car and arriving in the country with barely any money, the bank I joined immediately gave me an advance on my first paycheque. Good job I didn't let it go to my head.

 

What I remember most abt TVs and even electric space heaters back then was the practice of paying as you go by inserting coins into the appliances. You'd be in the middle of a TV program and the set would go off. Everyone would rummage around to try and find a shilling. Same thing with the fire. If you were short of change, you might have to choose between watching the telly and staying warm. Is the coin operated system still used or when did it disappear?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.