Guernsey Press

Shutters up for Victorian Shop and Parlour

UNIQUE displays and traditional sweets are among the finds at the National Trust’s Victorian Shop and Parlour as it opens for the summer season.

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Shop manager Caro Drake winding the barrel shutters at The National Trust Victorian Shop in Cornet Street which is opening for the summer season. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31947692)

The shop based at 26 Corner Street is now open for the public to explore ‘the shop within the museum and the museum within a shop’.

‘We try to make sure we have things that you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere in the island, and we make a lot of the products here too,’ said shop manager Caro Drake.

‘We like to think that there is something here for everyone, but there is a very specific type of person who could spend hours in here.’

Inside the Victorian building is a haberdashery and sewing display and block-printed fabrics with patterns that cannot be bought elsewhere.

Also a display wall of Cornet Street’s history and Guernsey-related merchandise.

It remains the only place in Great Britain that has its original manually wound barrel shutters, which once acted as a safety precaution against the lively Cornet Street night life.

The Victorian Shop and Parlour has a symbiotic relationship with other National Trust sites, and direct visitors to other locations.

‘When most people come to the island, this is their first impression of the National Trust of Guernsey and from there we can hand out leaflets to other sites in the island,’ said Mrs Drake.

‘We’re not on the high street and so we’ve got to pull people up here and it make different and interesting, which is what we’re really trying to do in here.’

Booked cruise ship numbers for this coming summer are down on previous years, but Mrs Drake does not think this will have an impact on the shop, which caters to both tourists and locals.

‘A lot of my visitor numbers are people coming up to see Hauteville House, which attracts more independent travellers because it’s all guided tours,’ she said.

‘A majority of the cruise ships are smaller ships which is great for us because people get out and explore and are more like-minded customers.’

National Trust of Guernsey vice-president, Sara-Jane Lampitt, said that she was looking forward to another successful year and was pleased with the dedicated and creative management of Mrs Drake.

‘We are so lucky to have Caro because she gets the whole spirit of the Trust,’ she said.

‘That is worth more than its weight in gold, because you can’t teach someone to feel the spirit of the place.’

  • The shop is open 10am to 4pm every day except Sunday until Saturday 7 October.