One Dagenham fishing shop closes as another celebrates 70 years

Ali Hamidi signing books at Robertson's

Ali Hamidi signing books at Robertson's - Credit: Archant

A well-loved fishing store is set to hang up its rods and tackle, as the teeth of the angling industry finally bites.

Bowlers Angling in Dagenham closing down

Bowlers Angling in Dagenham closing down - Credit: Archant

Bowlers Angling, in Cinema Parade, Dagenham, has traded in the area for the past 15 years but will have gone by the time Christmas arrives.

Owner Mervyn Woodley, 64, made the painful decision last week after months of wriggling just above the water-line.

“The last two years have been really difficult,” he said. “We just can’t make a living anymore.

“The dynamics of the borough have changed and I just don’t want the stress and sleepless nights anymore.

Ali Hamidi signing books at Robertson's

Ali Hamidi signing books at Robertson's - Credit: Archant

“A lot of people do their shopping online now. It’s progress, but you just know you’re fighting a losing battle.”

Although sad to be shutting up shop, “Merv” thanked all his customers and staff for making it an enjoyable business to be a part of.

Most Read

“It has been wonderful while it lasted,” he added. “I’ve met a lot of lovely people who have ended up becoming friends.

“On a Monday morning it’s not like you’re coming to work – the people of Dagenham are lovely.”

Although the official closing day is yet to be decided, he insists everything will have gone by Christmas.

“I’m just going to have a nice Christmas, and then I’ll go and look for a job,” he added. I don’t have any real plans, but I’m sure I’ll find something.”

Although the demands of the angling industry have taken their toll on one shop, less than a kilometre away, another is faring rather better.

Robertson’s Fishing Tackle, in Oxlow Lane, celebrated its 70th birthday on Saturday with an open day and book-signing with TV presenter and angling expert Ali Hamidi, attracting about 400 people in total.

Claiming to be one of the oldest in the capital, the shop, which was originally based in Plaistow, treated customers to some birthday cake.

“It’s a funny old trade,” said manager Sam Dear. “You’ve got to adapt and be able to change with the times.

“It’s sad to see though, because [Bowlers] has been here for as long as I can remember.

“We know Merv well so it’s sad to see a friend going out of what is a friendly industry.”