Posts Tagged ‘Ruddocks’

Ruddock’s to close after 163 years in business

March 4, 2017

Ruddock’s and Stokes on High Bridge are permanent features of Lincoln High Street.

Ruddock’s, a printer and a shop, the shop a bookshop, stationary, art supplies, upmarket pens, located in the top half of the High Street in Lincoln.

Or was, the printing business is to remain, the shop is to close.

Ruddock’s is to close after 163 years in business. A family business, the plan is to close in April 2017, 113 years in the present location, prior to that a little further up the High Street.

Henry Ruddock blames the lack of parking.

That is not the problem, the High Street is busy, there is footfall on the street, the problem is people are not passing through the door into the store.

I am sorry to see Ruddock’s close, but sadly not surprised, it lost its way years ago.

Lack of car parking in the town centre is simply an excuse. Yes, there is a problem of traffic congestion, solve that by improving public transport.

I see a High Street packed, but I see Ruddock’s empty.

But I would agree most of the developments within the city centre have been to the detriment of the town centre. For example the ugly high rise buildings, destruction of Sincil Street and the market, allowing motorised traffic through a pedestrianised city centre.

Ruddock’s used to be an excellent bookshop. Ruddock’s lost their way when they stopped selling books, though difficult to compete with on-line and Waterstone’s selling cut price best sellers, deals that are not offered to indie bookshops. Walk in now, and it is newspapers, magazines and rubbish.

Though first floor is a specialist art supplier.

Henry’s tea shop upstairs, is nicely done out, has atmosphere, but the coffee when I tried was not good. These days if open a coffee shop, ok it is a tea shop, you have to employ top class baristas and take a pride in the coffee you serve, not leave it to someone who makes the sandwiches. And how many passing by know there is a tea shop upstairs?

The tea shop will remain open or for the time being, but it is difficult to see how this will work if the shop is to close.

The tea shop is also placed at a competitive disadvantage when Starbucks and Caffè Nero dodge tax.

Ruddock’s also sells high quality pens, and I do not mean trendy rubbish Ted Baker as they promoted on twitter.

Montegrappa The Alchemist

Montegrappa The Alchemist

One of the rare shops I have found selling Montegrappa pens though not their top range, for example The Alchemist pen.

Lincoln will now have lost all its indie bookshops, or soon will have.

Readers Rest closed a couple of years ago. A great loss, and still missed.

Harlequin is going, driven out of business by a greedy landlord hiking the rent.

BookStop Cafe remains, local authors and second hand books, located in an undercroft beneath a Norman building with stunning view down Steep Hill.

Business rate hike is going to kill off many more indie businesses.

Development of Sincil Street has done an excellent job of driving out indie businesses. The street is now derelict. It used to be between ten in the morning and four in the afternoon busier than the High Street.

What is left? The same boring chains as seen in every town.

And where we do see indie coffee shops like Coffee Aroma, harassment from the County Council for leaving their tables and chairs outside in a pedestrianised area.

Yet what we see sadly is not only Lincoln, planners who care not for the local town, lack vision, lack understanding of town centre planning, and too often in the pocket of greedy developers.

When I attend a planning meeting and find a planner arguing on behalf of a greedy developer, dismissing any local objections, often quite well founded local objections, blatantly lying on the presentation, then I know something stinks.

And we only have to look at the results.

That is why time and time again, when English visit small towns across Europe, and still find the butcher, baker and indie bookshops, the historic centre free of traffic and unspoilt, they ask, why is my town not like this?

Libreria Palazzo Roberti

Libreria Palazzo Roberti

In Bassano del Grappa, a small town north of Venice nestling in the foothills of the Alps, we find traffic free streets, little shops, three indie bookshops, one of which is in a former palace where Napoleon once stayed.

Lincoln City Council, shedding crocodile tears, wringing of hands, not us guv.

Of course they are at fault, they are the planning authority hand in hand with Lincolnshire who are the Highways authority.

A classic case study in bad town centre planning.

And then have the gall to blame Lincoln for being a historic town. That is its attraction, there is nothing else of attraction. Or do they think people visit to admire the ugly buildings, to shop in the same shops as found elsewhere?

I fully back Henry Ruddock in his damning critique of the City Council.

Lincoln would make a case study in unimaginative, bad town centre planning.

Where I would disagree, is in the comments on car parking.

In the last decade or more we have seen ugly high rise buildings, each one uglier than the other.

Brayford is an eyesore.

This was an area of old warehouses and mills. This area could have been restored, to create an attractive and vibrant atmosphere, ground floor indie coffee shops and other indie businesses, first floor small businesses, design studios, hi-tech, top floors living accommodation.

Look to Bristol for an example.

A couple of years ago Sincil Street was thriving, between ten in the morning and four in the morning, it was busier than the High Street.

Now it has been blighted by development and sky high rents. And if look at the hoardings, more High Street chains, where once we had indie businesses.

Look to North Laine in Brighton, three streets each longer than Sincil Street, associated side streets, always busy, not a single chain, all indie businesses.

We see harassment of Coffee Aroma for leaving their tables and chairs outside, rather than deal with the real issue of stopping traffic through a pedestrianised area and delivering by handcart and trolley, as the norm in Europe.

Cappuccino in Henry’s

January 9, 2017

Henry’s is a relatively new tea shop, situated on the first floor of Ruddocks.

It has been there a couple of years or more, I had looked in when first opened, but never sampled the coffee.

Habit of always taking a coffee in Stokes and not venturing further afield.

Last year I tried Coffee Aroma, and this year decided to try a few more of the indie coffee shops in Lincoln. Last week I tried Makushi Coffee House, halfway up Steep Hill.

As I passed by Stokes, very tempting, even more temping to visit Coffee Aroma, but no must keep my resolve, and so Henry’s it was.

Ruddocks is not where you’d expect to find a tea shop, a stationers cum bookshop cum art supplies. Or at least was once a bookshop, now sells newspapers and magazines, a very retrograde step. There used to be a very up-market art shop top end of the High Street, Gadsby’s, but sadly no more. Strange as Lincoln has an art college, or did. Ruddocks is also a printer and publisher.

Ambience in Henry’s very agreeable, a 1930’s feel, almost expect to look out the window and see the Brown Shirts marching past. Or maybe they simply opened it as it was. Music from the period playing.

Sadly my cappuccino did not live up to the promise of the ambience or the price.

At £2-90 I expect quality. It was undrinkable. When a cappuccino does not look good appearance usually not deceptive, it was not good. Not the disgusting undrinkable yuk they serve in Costa, Caffe Nero or tax-dodging Starbucks, but undrinkable nevertheless.

No, you do not add chocolate to a cappuccino. You ask, and even then, use high quality cocoa powder.

The only reason chocolate added, is to hide the fact disgusting coffee.

To be fair it is a tea shop, and to be fair the barista was not there. Whoever prepared the food prepared the coffee.

I inquired as to the coffee beans. Stokes espresso blend. Unless Stokes is supplying rubbish for cafes, then they should be worried the damage this does to their reputation. They should periodically visit places sourcing their coffee, exercise quality control.

The young lady serving made up for the poor quality coffee. She had been doing a coffee course at Stokes and was keen to learn more. But training only takes you so far. She needs to work alongside top quality baristas.

Henry’s is not any time soon going to make it into Northern England Independent Coffee Guide.

On leaving Ruddocks, I found Stokes coffee beans on sale. How old, and the last place would think of looking for coffee beans. Obvious place to sell would be on the counter in Henry’s. And to be sure of freshly roasted, buy from Stokes. Though Stokes fail to put the roast date, a major omission, and Stokes should know better.

Passing by Stokes on may way up, not busy. Passing by Coffee Aroma on my way back down, packed.

Passing through The Stonebow, a young guy playing an acoustic guitar. Not bad, especially compared with the rubbish usually found on the street in Lincoln. I picked up a free CD.

Popped into Waterstone’s High Street. When last week, I went to pick up a copy of The Spy I had ordered, I actually did not, I asked for two copies, which they collected from upstairs. Was it still there? No, but I showed then the reference code, they checked, and yes, should have been collected. I picked up two at £6-50, full price £12-99, thus getting two copies for one pence better than half price.

A sticker ‘Just 12-99’ is deliberately misleading, as that is the price, but gives the false impression getting a reduction.

To download the e-book is a blatant rip-off Kobo £9-49, Amazon Kindle £9-49 and Google Play £9-49.

I picked up another free CD off Sam Harrison busking in The Stonebow. Gave him my small change. I said put on bandcamp. He said people find him on spotify. Yes, only because you send people there. Do not encourage people to use a platform like spotify that screws musicians big time. Send to bandcamp where everyone gets a good deal. He agreed, sound advice, especially if people had picked up a free CD, they may then pay him some money.

I picked up a copies of Rain & Voices from the Sky by Sam Harrison and the Society of Strange Living. Not yet found its way onto bandcamp.


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