Eagle-eyed readers of the Mill Lane pharmacy article will have spotted that as well as the two dispensing chemists’, a third business was mentioned – Escott’s Upholsterers. The family business closed its doors at 59 Mill Lane for the last time last Wednesday, leaving many local customers asking what had happened to this long-standing West Hampstead operation.
Until last week, Jean and Derek Browes ran the shop. Their nephew Mark Browes was also part of the team. Now retired, Jean and Derek have sold the freehold on the premises to Sanjay Patel of Aqua Pharmacy. However, Mark has taken over the upholstery business and will continue to run it from a new workshop near his home in Watford.
Escott’s has a long history in West Hampstead. It was established in 1895, originally based on West End Lane, and had operated from its workshop on Mill Lane for 45 years. The Browes family took over from the Escotts a few years before the move to Mill Lane, continuing to trade under the name of its founders as it was already an established and successful business.
This latest move reflects the reality of the rising cost of freeholds and rent in West Hampstead. According to Mark, it is no longer cost-effective to have the workshop here. He recalled a time, 30 years ago, when there were three upholstery businesses on Mill Lane. He is sad to leave the area. What will he miss most about West Hampstead? “The people. Over the years we built up quite personal relationships with customers. We’d have three generations of the same family coming to the shop.”
Mark was keen to point out that the move won’t affect home services; he will still be able to collect customers’ furniture and return it as he always has. Indeed, you can still contact Mark at Escott’s on the same number as before: 020 7435 6975, or via email: .