Tuesday 19 September 2023

Great Apes

You'll recognise young Charlie the Chimp, of course, and I can confirm that Nottingham's most beloved swinger is alive and well and currently residing in the Nottingham City Museums and Galleries (NCMG) stores in Whitemoor, where I encountered him on a recent Heritage Open Days tour.

Charlie, in his several incarnations, saw action in at least two, possibly three, Gordon Scott locations in Nottingham. The shoe retailer originally opened in Friar Lane in the 1960s before moving to the Broadmarsh Centre in the 1970s and Lister Gate in 2011. The Charlie shown in the photo above is thought to have been manufactured between 1970 and 1977 and was acquired by NCMG in 2014 after he had been displaced by a fire retardant interloper whose present whereabouts are unknown.

It turns out that Charlie had a few relatives dotted around the country. A Solihull Charlie also retired in 2014 and was replaced by Gordon, who chose to identify as a monkey. Watford's simian trapeze artists were, in turn, Alfie ('the Ape', just to muddy the waters still further), Charlie and Champ, while the Northampton store was home to another Alfie and yet another Charlie, thus demonstrating that our furry friends do not have much imagination when it comes to naming their offspring.

The stores at the above locations closed their doors for the final time in 2017. Gordon Scott appears to have had a small number of other branches (in London, for example), but it is not known if they, too, joined in the acrobatic fun.

The Broadmarsh Centre in the 1970s
(Gordon Scott can be seen on the upper level)
Image from Broad Marsh Topic, 1974
(a special edition of the defunct Nottingham Topic magazine)

No comments:

Post a Comment