End of an era draws near as Nylon Shop owners announce plans to retire

A KINGSWOOD  shop is holding the first sale in its 65-year history.

The Nylon Shop on Two Mile Hill has made the move to clear some of its treasure trove of fabrics as owners Brian and Janet Billington prepare for retirement.

The couple plan to shut the shop, which was founded by Brian’s mother Joan, in the next  ten to 12 months. They took the decision following the recent death from cancer of their dear friend and colleague Alan Stenning, who had worked in the shop for more than 20 years. 

Since they announced their plans, Janet and Brian have had a flood of messages from customers.

“People have been very kind. They are sad that we are retiring but they understand our reasons. Meanwhile, they are all getting discounts!” Janet said

The shop draws generations of customers from a wide area – one even travels from the Isle of Wight – in search of dressmaking and  furnishing fabrics and upholstery foam.

The original Nylon Dress Shop was opened by Joan Billington in 1958 in Grosvenor Road, St Paul’s. Having been widowed with young children, she had started to earn money as a dressmaker and found a niche making net and nylon dresses for West Indian women and children, who had come over on the Windrush, to wear to church.

Kingswood shop was Joan’s second shop. She closed the St Paul’s one in 1980 after the riots and opened another in Bedminster, continuing to work into her 80s.

Janet has worked alongside Brian at Two Mile Hill for almost 40 years.