The earlier photograph shows staff, and apparently families, assembling outside the factory, located just below Gifford’s Corner, prior to a works outing in the 1930s. The upper floor of the factory was apparently a later extension, and it clearly fits rather uncomfortably on top of the original first floor.
The main product of the factory was the ‘Peltinvain’ raincoat, which is referred to on the sign on the front of the leading bus. The buses were provided by the Venture Bus Company, the name of which lives on in the roundabout at the bottom of the Hackwood Road. The company also owned a café on Grove Road, then the southern by-pass to the town, on the site of what is now the Holiday Inn.
The employees (?) of Lanhams department store appear to look on enviously from the doorway. What about the typography of the ‘Sale’ signs in the store windows? – very 1930s.
Mares’ factory closed down in the late 1950s and in the 1960s it was demolished to provide a vehicular access to the Joice’s Yard car parking and servicing area. The buildings between the factory and Cross Street survive and can be seen on the left in both photographs.