Secret Behind the M&S Walls

We’re all familiar with the stretch of Lumley Road in Skegness, which comprises Lloyds Bank, New Look Ladies Fashion, the former Woolworths Store and Marks and Spencers. But let us step back in time to find out the secret hidden behind the walls of M&S!

Back in 1936, a piece of Old Skegness came to light when the Lumley Road property known as Greenwood’s Restaurant (pictured below) was demolished to make way for a new Marks and Spencers shop.

Painted in large letters on the east wall of the adjoining property was the announcement “London and Lincoln Dining Rooms”.

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Mr William Woods, 80, of Robin Hood Villas, Wainfleet Road, Skegness, who at the time of the demolition had lived in Skegness since 1879, threw some light on how old this inscription might be.
Mr Woods said he was employed as a workman at the commencement of the contruction of St Matthew’s Church in Skegness, which began in 1879.The construction of the Pier and the Pier Hotel began the following year, and the three contracts proceeded concurrently.
“It would be a matter of one or two years after this that Mr W Swift, a greengrocer and photographer, erected the block of property which comprised [in 1936] of Woolworths, the International Stores and Lloyds Bank, so these properties have been in existance between 54 and 55 years”. (Remember Mr Woods was speaking in 1936.)
“Following the erection of the block Mr Swift rented the eastern section to Mr Sam Revill and it was he who named the property the Lincoln and London Dining Rooms. Subsequently, Mr Swift himself conducted his own businesses in the property”.

Mr Woods also revealed that the property being demolished in 1936, Greenwoods Restaurant, was infact the newest building on that side of Lumley Road between Lumley Avenue and Rutland Road. “For some years there was this one vacant plot – which explains why the wall in question was utilised for advertising purposes”, said Mr Woods, “and it is about 44 years since that Greenwoods Restaurant was erected to fill the gap”.

The inscription on the wall reads:
“London and Lincoln Dining Rooms. Hot dinners from 11.0. Beef, Mutton, Lamb or Duck, with vegetables, etc, 1s, 1s 3d and 1s 6d”

The secret planted behind the walls of the Skegness Marks and Spencers 127 years ago will not be revealed until the M&S building is demolished again, perhaps in another 127 years time!

But WE know the secret now, don’t we?

Background information: Mr W Swift mentioned in our story above was the photographer who secured the 1885 Local Board photograph which hangs to this day in the Skegness Town Hall Council Chambers. The image was hung there to commemorate the death of the first chairman of the Local Board.

Written by, and copyright of  Skegness Magazine .

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