In 1902, the large department store Gray Peverell was built in Victoria Road taking in much of the block between Swainson Street and Stockton Street. It was later extended to take in the whole block. The shop flourished and was bought by the Sunderland businessman H Binns in 1926 as part of his growing empire of department stores in north east towns and in Hull and Grimsby to the south, Edinburgh to the north and Carlisle and Dumfries to the west. Binns had begun his company in 1897 with his shop in Fawcett St Sunderland.
In 1953, although the Binns name remained on the stores, the company was taken over by the House of Fraser. The Middleton Grange Shopping Centre was built around Binns and it formed an integral part of the centre. Sadly however, the much loved and remembered Hartlepool store was closed in June 1992 along with the Sunderland store and a number of others when the House of Fraser decided to concentrate on certain stores only.
Finally, the ground floor of the Grade 2 listed building was opened by Wilkinsons Hardware in 1995.
Taken from the Mail Office, this shows a busy Binns store with old signage in 1964. The top two floors were removed when the store closed. The top one was staff only and in the later years of the store, the second top floor was the cafe, accounts department and hairdresser.
Wesley Church on the right of the photo did not close as a church until 1973 and as can be seen was floodlit at night at the time of the photo.More detail »
Shortly after the store was closed in 1992, it is for sale but the signage had not been removed. The number 7 bus shows the Hartlepool Corporation livery rather than the Stagecoach livery seen in most towns today.More detail »
Two years after the store closed, the top two floors are being removed prior to Wilkinsons occupying the building. As can be seen, alterations are also being made to the road network around the old library building.More detail »
Taken when Binns was very much part of the shopping centre( probably in the late 1980s) and the entrance is still below the Cameron's lion sign to the left of the Shop at Binns sign. At this point, Church Square was still a thoroughfare for vehicles.More detail »
Photo taken from Stockton Street looking at the south side of Ward Street. Behind the houses is the back of the large Binns department store. Robson's is on the left of the photo and part of the Mason's Waverley Cafe on the right.More detail »
Princess Anne visiting Hartlepool to open Middleton Grange Shopping Centre. She is being escorted away from the shopping centre towards the College of Art in Church Square. Accompanying her is Mrs. Tuson the Mayoress, together with various officials and bodyguards. Councillor Ted Leadbitter can be seen walking behind, in between the Princess and the Mayoress. Binns Department Store is in the background with Wesley Church and the Grand Hotel to the right.
HHT+N 28More detail »
Swainson Street, Hartlepool, with Binns Store on the corner. Picture taken from Victoria Road.
The photo was from a photographic record of the Central Area of West Hartlepool prepared in 1955/6 at the request of the Town Planning and Redevelopment Committee 'in the hope that it will be of interest to future generations of West Hartlepool'
The record focuses on areas which were within the next ten years to be completely redeveloped following The Max Lock Plan. It was compiled by WL Taylor and photographs developed by Thomas Clarkson Chemist of Tower Street.More detail »
Swainson Street, Hartlepool which has now been replaced by Middleton Grange Shopping Centre. Binns still trading at this point. Note the difference in the name of the shopping area, at this point it was just 'Hartlepool Shopping Centre' not Middleton Grange.More detail »
Victoria Road, Hartlepool at its junction with York Road with Binns Department Store in the background. THe upper floors of the buildings on the left are little changed although the front gardens have gone. Apart from the first building which is still retail, the others on the left are now wine bars.
Inexplicably, the council demolished the beautiful terrace of houses on the right and replaced them with an ugly modern terrace of shops. The shops at the near right remain.
This image is pre. April 1953 as the trolley bus lines were removed then.More detail »
Taken on the other side of road to the other photo in Ward St back street. From left is Richard Banyer, Gillian Banyer, Brian Coverdale and June Coverdale in 1952. The War Memorial and beyond that Perry's building can clearly be seen. To the right of the children is the back of Binns Department Store.More detail »
Trevor Banyer in Ward Street back street looking towards Stockton St. To the right are Binns 'bicycle sheds' although they were always full of cardboard boxes and a good place for hide and seek . The only danger was Binns staff finding out!More detail »
Occupying the ground floor of the old Binns store, Wilkinsons opened in 1995. Note that the top two storeys of the old Binns store have been removed.
On the right of the picture is a puzzling shape which after some thought is the roof of a bus shelter ?More detail »