IT is 35 years since the department store of Plummer Roddis in Old Christchurch shut its doors for the last time.

The announcement of its closure the previous year had sent a shockwave through the town, coming not long after parent company had changed the landmark name of its other town centre department store from Bobby’s to Debenhams.

The store in the Square was renamed Debenhams on September 23 1972, with a DJ called in to perform the ceremony. His name? Terry Wogan.

That September, too the announcement was made that the Plummers store in Boscombe was to shut. Then, a few weeks later, Debenhams announced the closure of Plummers store in Old Christchurch Road.

The original owner of the Old Christchurch Road store site was R Tyrrell and Sons, who started a small drapery business there in the late 19th century.

They began with two shops that had become four by 1896, including a millinery and ironmongery business.

It became known as Plummer Roddis and Tyrrell and then Plummer Roddis in 1898 when the Tyrrells relinquished their interest. A few years later, alterations were begun on the Gervis Place side that took until 1916 to complete.

Substantial extensions were carried out in 1938 when the Plummer Roddis store was formally “opened” again, by songwriter and entertainer Ivor Novello. But the news that broke in November 1972 that it was to shut early the next year was a blow to many of its 200 staff. Some took up other jobs with the Debenhams organisation who, by then were the owners of the store.

Mr Harry Austin, who had been with the firm for 30 years, closed the store’s doors for the final time in late January 1973.

Plummers’ smaller sister store at Boscombe also finally closed in the same month.

The property on old Christchurch Road was sold to a pension property unit trust company.

Today the building, adjacent to Dingles, is still known as Roddis House and the shops fronting the road now include Burtons, Dorothy Perkins, La Senza, Goldmith’s and Accessorize.