Oxfam store calling for pictures and memories for 50th anniversary project

Oxfam volunteers infront of store

Just some of Oxfam's 42 volunteers - Credit: Courtesy of Peter Bentley

Stevenage's Oxfam store is marking it's golden anniversary, having been placed in Middle Row since 1971.

The building where the store is situated is more than 200 years old, and is Grade-II listed.


Oxfam's Stevenage store has been located in Middle Row for 50 years - Credit: Peter Bentley

In the 1860s and 1870s, the building was a beer house called the Baker’s Arms. It has since then had a variety of uses including a second-hand furniture shop and the showroom for the Stevenage Electrical Company.  

The Oxfam shop was set up in 1971 by Daisy Blackford, a volunteer. She was 68 at the time and continued as unpaid shop leader for more than 10 years. 

To mark the 50th anniversary, voluntary admin manager Peter Bentley is putting together a memory booklet, with old and new photographs and stories. 

Similar to one he created for the store's 40th anniversary he is keen to include photos and anecdotes from times gone by.  

He's calling on Stevenage residents who have memories from the years before and early years of the Oxfam store. 

He told the Comet - which shares a 50th birthday with the Oxfam shop: “We have a good reason to celebrate. Over the past 50 years the Stevenage shop has raised millions of pounds for Oxfam’s work, thanks to the hard work of shop managers and volunteers, combined with the fantastic support of the people of Stevenage.

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"The money has helped to improve lives of great numbers of people through providing clean water, sanitation, better farming, education and all the other things that Oxfam does.

"I’ve volunteered in the shop for nearly 20 years and get huge satisfaction from knowing that the shop is contributing to Oxfam’s work, as well as reducing waste by finding new owners for the books and music that we sell. It is also good to be able to contribute to the thriving community of Old Town businesses.” 

Peter is writing a new edition of the booklet and would be delighted to read the memories of people who remember the building before Oxfam moved in or the early days of the shop.

Peter would also love to have old photos of the building. He can be contacted via the shop or by email at oxfamshopf3611@oxfam.org.uk

Through the funds raised at the shop, the people of Stevenage have saved thousands of lives after disasters and helped thousands more to work their way out of poverty.