Right in the middle of Blackpool’s busy town centre lies a real Aladdin’s cave.
Forties to Noughties, based on Dickson Road, offers reworked clothing for the discerning wardrobe, along with a host of accessories – jewellery, hats, shoes, bags and wigs.
It covers most decades of the 20th century up to the present day – mainly from the ‘40s onwards, but with the occasional vintage 20s and 30s item too.
All items are one-offs – so there’s no danger of bumping into someone else on a night out or at a special occasion wearing the same thing!
Shop owner Beverley Ramsden says customers come from a wide range of backgrounds and include people looking for fancy dress outfits, nostalgia enthusiasts, curious holidaymakers, ladies looking for an extra glam outfit for a special occasion, female impersonators, fans of retro clothing and stage performers.
Just while we are talking for an hour, a string of customers come in: a drag act, a holidaymaker with her children, a student. All happy to while away time browsing in the veritable treasure trove.
Colourful vintage frocks hang in the window, alongside stunning crystal-embellished gowns and skirts – specially made for the store by local dressmaker Crystal under her Transfix brand, fur stoles hang over vintage furniture, elbow-length extra soft leather gloves are on the shelves, next to a neat, genuine 30s style handbag – with suede lining, and beautiful glamorous jewellery sparkles on display.
There are elegant high-heeled and vintage shoes – some up to a men’s shoe size 12, there are genuine vintage stockings – unopened in their original packaging, and hats from every era.
Beverley says: “I’ve recently taken over as sole proprietor. It’s almost like a hobby really – I just love it so much.
“I am really passionate about vintage clothing, the accessories, the jewellery. I really enjoy doing all the research and sourcing items, finding them, looking online, attending fairs and fashion shows to find stock and get new ideas.
“I love the way in times gone by, things were made to last, you can really feel the quality.
“We have such a wide variety of items – dresses, tops, skirts, fur coats, gloves, retro scooter clothing for the men and boys, burlesque items – feathers and corsets, stockings, handbags, starch petticoats, even underwear! There’s some really unusual stuff.
“People find it fascinating, lots of people come in to have a look around.
“Inside every cupboard you can find something – crockery, ornaments. Even in the basement, I have some vintage furniture!”
Beverley thinks there has been something of a resurgence of interest in vintage and believes she is the only shop in the Blackpool area to offer such a unique range.
“I even get one girl coming up from London, who says when she is here visiting family, she always comes in to have a look – as it’s much more expensive in London. I try to keep the prices affordable.
“There’s something for every occasion here and something to suit most people.
“When people ask what sort of customers I generally get, the answer is everyone!
“I think there is a renewed interest in vintage of late.
“My own favourite era is the 50s – I love the glamour.
“I can remember my mum and the sort of clothes she wore from that era. She would get dressed up, even just to go to the shops.
“It was a time of stockings with the seam up the back, starched petticoats, elegant gloves, high-heel shoes – Marilyn Monroe and Chanel.”
Some of the items Beverley has collected herself at home over the years, but she also carries out research online and attends various fairs to source items.
She will soon be stocking Hell Bunny vintage dresses and Voodoo Vixen clothing.
And a section of the shop is devoted to Transfix dresses, designed and made by Crystal – including wedding dresses, ball-gowns and stunning evening dresses.
“The dresses are absolutely stunning and beautiful and are real one-offs. The Transfix section also includes some lovely wigs.”