‘Devastated’ Bedford family to close 152-year-old shop

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Goldings has been struggling to cope with changes in shopping habits

A 152-year-old family-run hardware shop is to close as town centre footfall has become “pretty much non-existent”.

Goldings in Bedford High Street opened in 1867 but its owners said competition from the internet and multi-national firms made it impossible to continue.

Announcing the news on Facebook, they said they were “devastated and sad.”

Kate Temple, who has run the store with her husband for four years, said: “You can walk down the street on a Saturday afternoon without bumping into anyone.”

She added: “People are changing their shopping habits, going online and to out-of-town retail parks.

“We haven’t taken the decision lightly. We’re gutted. Unless a miracle happens, we’ll look to close perhaps at the end of next month.”

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The shop, pictured here in 1941, has survived two world wars

Queen Victoria was only halfway through her 63-year reign when Goldings opened, and it has since survived two world wars.

A post on the shop’s Facebook page said: “We’ve been struggling for a while now and the footfall on the High Street is now pretty much non-existent.”

The post attracted more than 50 comments within two hours from people disappointed at the news.

One said: “I have fond memories of Goldings from my childhood in the 50s. Another nail in Bedford’s coffin.”

Bedford, which has a population of 170,000, has seen Marks & Spencer close in May, with Topshop set to follow.

Seventy-four independent traders in the town recently announced they were joining forces to fight back against closures.

Bedford’s business improvement district said 57% of firms there were independent, compared with 35.9% elsewhere in the UK, making it a “vibrant destination” for shopping.

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Kate Temple said she and her husband were “gutted” to be closing