Lingards, the Bradford-based department store, was famously bombed by the Luftwaffe in the Second World War. But it was a bombshell of a different kind that directors of the company dropped in March 1977: They were closing.

The two stores in Westgate and Sunbridge Road were to be shut up due to adverse trading conditions. The bosses told the 60 staff that the shops would close the following month and the news made the front page of the T&A on March 9.

We wrote: “The shock decision by the company, part of the giant UDS group, will close the doors of the two shops on April 23.

“Manager of the departmental store at Westgate for the past two years, Mr Andrew Payne, said the news had come as much of a surprise to him as it had to the others and he is left without a job.

“The other store on the corner of Kirkgate and Sunbridge Road traded for many years as Ludlows. The company was to have moved into The Mall when the new shopping centre opened but rising costs forced the idea to be abandoned.”

The statement by the director Mr WE Gasson was printed by the T&A and read: “In pursuance of our policy of expansion and modernisation of the profitable units within the group it unfortunately becomes necessary to close certain smaller branches whose profitability records, due to adverse trading conditions within their own areas, are unacceptable.

“This decision is taken in line with national policies undertaken by many similar groups throughout the country. Accordingly, it is with extreme regret that we have to announce that Lingards (Bradford) Ltd will cease trading on April 23.”

But it was the bleak future faced by the employees which really hit home. Mr John Steel, assistant manager of the Westgate store, told us: “I have not really had time yet to feel anything about the closure. It will hit me later when the store has finally shut. I shall be sorry to leave – I have worked here for 25 years – and I will now be unemployed for the first time in my life. I have been looking for something else but nothing has turned up.”

And the longest-serving member of staff, Margaret Shipton, who had joined the firm from leaving school in 1941, said: “I feel very sad about the closure. I am going to have a rest first before I start looking for another job. Things have been so busy in the last seven weeks.”