Mary Portas Queen of Shops visits Hexham!

Friday, May 20, 2016


As part of Hexham Book Festival  Mary Portas spent an evening talking about her most recent book, Shop Girl: A memoir

In the book Mary talks about her days as a child in a large Irish family and the role her Mother had to play in her life and the devastating loss of her Mother when Mary was in her teens. After a difficult period helping to bring up her brother, her father's remarriage, his eventual death and subsequent loss of her family home, Mary recalls how retail was her escape. 

The evening was led by Claire Malcolm who asked Mary more in depth about her life and was followed by questions from the audience. 
There were surprisingly a lack of questions from the audience, which was slightly disappointing as Mary is such an engaging character I could have listened to her chatting all night. 

Many of the questions focused on the retail side of her work and her thoughts and ideas about the modern high street and her experiences on Mary Queen of Shops. She passed comment on Hexham and the abundance of shops and the lacklustre in the local department store Beales. 

In real life Mary is funny and engaging with strong ideas and opinions. It was quite shocking to hear about the difficulties she faced in her teens with the loss of her Mother and Father and I can't help but marvel at what she has accomplished.
She really is an inspiration. 

My lovely friend Hayley decided to buy her book at the end of the evening and I dutifully joined her and decided to queue for an autograph. Right at the last minute I decided to put aside my usual reserve and ask for my picture to be taken with her. 

Mary kindly asked what I did and I told her I was a Goldsmith (her eyes immediately went to my hands) and she asked how the retail environment was. Completely star struck I managed a 'it's a difficult trading environment at the moment'. Oh dear. 

Here is my picture:




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