History of Calverts
Calverts, a family owned furniture store, was established in 1944. Over 70 years of successful trading have seen us grow from a small shop into the impressive 25,000sq ft store we are today. Through all this time we have retained the values of our founder.
The Calvert family had a business in Sunderland until the early part of the last century. The Great Grandfather of the present owner of Calvert’s of Taunton founded it with his brother.
At the turn of the 20th century, it was the largest store outside London. It had a frontage of over 200 ft and covered four floors.
Calvert’s of Taunton was opened in 1944, by the parents of the present managing director Dennis Calvert.
Dennis’s parents were married in 1924 and moved to London, where his father worked for Drages of Oxford street. They moved back to Taunton in 1938.
The doors first opened on Tuesday 14th November 1944. Dennis’s father, also called Dennis, was superstitious,and didn’t want to open on the 13th.
Dennis Snr. and his wife Annie, cycled to work as there was no petrol, due to the war. Their eldest son Alan joined the business in 1945 after leaving school. He served customers, did the accounts, unpacked stock and delivered in the evening - all for the equivalent of 50p per week! He became a director of the company, moving to Penzance, Cornwall on his marriage in 1955.
Dennis (the present managing director) joined the company in 1954, his wife Heather, who is also a director, joined in 1960 and started the fabric dept., which has gone from strength to strength.
When the store first opened, there was great uncertainty about whether it would be bombed, being so close to the railway station, but, ever the optimists they persevered.
Furniture and all the stock were very limited as you could only buy goods with special dockets. Customers who had their homes bombed bought furniture with their dockets and asked if Calvert’s would store it for them. Dennis Snr. said of course we will, provided I can put it in the window! This was how they were able to display furniture in their windows.
"Customers are very loyal, and with many of our younger customers, we also supplied their parents and in some cases Grandparents"
From the small 1000 sq. ft shop Dennis and Annie started in 1944, it has grown into the impressive 25,000 sq. ft store it is today. As shops on either side closed, so Calverts grew by buying the vacant properties.
Many Taunton people will remember the 'Little East' chinese restaurant, Reed & Giles fishmongers, Pooles household ironmongers (later Simpkins), Pearses the sweet shop,Pitmans the butchers and on the other side 'Newsdesk' the newagents.
From our Station Road, Taunton store, we supply our customers throughout Somerset and surrounding counties - indeed we often find ourselves delivering to areas far beyond the West Country.
Deliveries are free within a 50 mile radius and are carried out by our own highly experienced team.