One of Skegness’ best known businesses, Herrick Watson Ltd, this week celebrated its 60th birthday. Herrick Watson founded the firm, still bears his name, on December 1 1932, when he took over a grocery shop at 8 High Street.
The shop was next door to Cary’s garage where Herrick Watson first became interested in radio.
The main function of the business in the 1930s was charging accumulators — wet acid batteries used to power radios of the time. The batteries were delivered, collected, connected and charged for the princely sum of 4d and 6d (two-and-a-half pence!)
The firm’s Morris 7 van would deliver as far away as Toynton, Wrangle and Hogsthorpe.
“Jim” Bocock joined the firm in its opening week and worked there for 48 years until he retired in 1980.
Famous cycles were also displayed and such famous names as Rudge, New Hudson and Triumph were sold until the shop concentrated more on radios and radio repairs.
As the shop established itself, the radio style of Frank Murphy and Murphy Radio was developed, offering Skegness customers a quality radio in a modern cabinet. Bush radios were also sold as the most reliable set of the times.
During the war, the shop was able to continue to repair and sell the few sets available for the home front as only a limited number of wartime civilian receivers were allocated to the public.
In 1940, Stanley Watson was employed by the Murphy Radio factory where he studied radio servicing and was suitably trained to deal with both radio and the new television receivers.
On December 17, 1949, the sitting room at Herrick Watson’s shop was filled with locals anxious to view the opening of the Sutton Goldfield transmitter on the first Murphy television in Skegness — an event recorded on the front page of the Sunday Express.
The next year Stanley Watson joined his father in the business to promote and expand the television sales.
In 1962 Herrick Watson Limited was formed and in 1970 Herrick Watson (TV Rentals) Limited was included with colour television and video recorders available for renting.
With television being the major part of the business, Cyril Fravigar moved from the radio side to the television sector and took over the aerial fitting and television repair side until he retired in 1989 after 48 years.
The record side of Herrick Watson Ltd opened up in 1962 and with it came Beatlemania, with the Fab Four proving highly popular in Skegness.
Janet, granddaughter of the founder, joined the business in 1967 to take over the office and to oversee the record sales.
Favourite Herrick Watson’s grandson Robert joined three years later and developed the record department with the introduction of cassettes, compact discs and video tapes. Thanks to a computer, finding and recording music and videos from their massive stock has been made much easier.
The record staff include Sharon Statham and Tracy Bolton who can help customers find their favourite music.
The increase in the size of the shop has allowed for greater display of records, colour televisions, videos and satellite systems. The colour televisions and video recorder service side is now in the charge of Trevor Ainsworth who has been with the company for nearly 20 years.
The stocking of Hitachi, Tatung and Finlux colour televisions, hi-fi and video recorders means Herrick Watson Ltd can offer their customers reliable and attractive models to enhance their homes.
The policy at Herrick Watson Ltd is still the policy of the founder — to give a personal and efficient service to all its customers to enable them to return with confidence and purchase again and again.
- The management and staff at Herrick Watson Ltd (from left) Janet Mager, Stan Watson, Rob Watson, Trevor Ainsworth and Sharon Statham.
Source: Skegness Standard 12th December 1992