Clothing store moves in to replace iconic Tunbridge Wells shop…

    Payne & Son Tunbridge Wells

    The site of one of Tunbridge Wells’ oldest shops is set to become a clothing store.

    Seasalt Cornwall is taking over the premises previously occupied by Payne & Son at No 37, High Street.

    Payne & Son closed in March after the seventh generation of the family, Michael Payne, experienced a sharp decline in sales.

    The town’s oldest jewellers had begun as Payne & Son (Silversmiths) in Kent in 1790 and opened a shop in the town 146 years ago.

    The site is famous for its clock overhanging the façade, and was chosen to make the Tunbridge Wells Mayor’s chain.

    But it closed down after experiencing a 25 per cent drop in spend and footfall, largely blamed on a poor Christmas last winter.

    Seasalt was launched 35 years ago, when its forebear General Clothing Stores was selling traditional work clothes for sailors, fishermen and farmers.

    Based in Penzance, it is now one of the largest employers in Cornwall and supplies a full range of fashionable clothing.

    The new branch, one of 37 across the country, is likely to open in October.

    Neil Chadwick, one of the three brothers who founded Seasalt, said: “Tunbridge Wells is a brilliant location for us.

    “It’s got great charisma and is well-known for offering a more ‘individual’ shopping experience for customers – something that’s always been a large part of our brand.”

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