Horncastle electricals shop Robinson's closes after 93 years

  • Report by Emma Wilkinson

A family-run shop is closing after almost a century selling and fixing all things electrical.

Owner Andy Robinson said it was with "great sadness" that he was announcing the end of Robinson's of Horncastle, the town's oldest shop.

He said: "I've been stood behind this 33 years and my dad did it for 30-odd years. And before that my grandad did. It gives me a lump in the throat. It's very sad, but times move on I'm afraid."

Andy's grandfather opened the shop in 1930 focusing on photography and charging accumulator batteries for old radios.

He said: "When my dad bought it off my grandad in 1960 he started renting out televisions - much to my grandad's disgust - and we had about 500 on rental at that time. And then I've been here for 33 years doing exactly what they did, but with different technology."

As well as changing with the times, the shop has survived a huge storm which flooded the town in 1960.

The shop survived a huge flood in 1960. Credit: ITV News

Among the electrical items Andy has kept from over the decades are the first television his father rented out in the 1950s and an early mobile phone from the 1980s.

Sharing his memories of the phone, he said: "I worked at British Telecom when this came out and I had this in the telephone exchange one day and my boss came out and said 'what's that?' and I said 'it's a mobile phone, Ron, they don't work with wires, they use this aerial thing,' I said, 'we ought to have these on the job' and he said 'they'll never catch on.' And look what we have now!"

Andy bought the shop from his father in 1990 and says he has been overwhelmed by the kind comments from local people expressing their sadness that he is now retiring.

The business is the only electricals shop in Horncastle and has had to adapt to changing trends in technology and the rise of the internet and online shopping. It also survived severe flooding in the town centre in October 1960.

Andy says it has been hard work at times, but that he has "great sadness" about closing. He is selling off his remaining stock and says he has sold some items that he has had in the shop for years.

"I sold a milk frother the other day that I've had in stock for about ten years! It's amazing what happens when you put a lower price on it - everybody wants it. It's amazing, maybe I should have done this years ago."

Andy now wants to rent out the space and is hoping it might be kept as an electricals business.

He said: "Someone could come in and take over from where I've left off. If you're prepared to work at it and always be there to look after customers, you'll succeed. And you'll have the address 'No 1 in the High Street', and not many places can say that."

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