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Episodes 6 and 7 start to show a marked difference between Harry Gordon Selfridge and William Henry Vokins. Like Mr Selfridge, Mr Vokins was a great caring boss, but expected loyalty and hard work. He did not however court publicity like HGS.

As mentioned in the blog for episodes 4 & 5, we had our share of celebrity in the store and we did have a car on display in the window. Fortunately it was never driven as due to strict insurance clauses, the fuel tank was near empty.

It was interesting to see that after his accident Harry had many flashbacks to his father, who he appeared to have had a bad time with. He wasn’t the war hero that Harry’s mother had portrayed him as, but a rather aggressive bully, who liked the bottle and the ladies.

Well William Henry Vokins father, Henry Vokins (my Great Great Grandfather) had a colourful life. Well at least what I know of it. He was born into a privileged life, but his excesses would cause him to lose the lot. He became involved with the local County Set and as a result of imprudent living and gambling debts, was forced to sell the family estate, which we know had been in the family since the 1700’s.

It was at this time that William Henry Vokins moved to London to start his career in retail.

William Henry Vokins’ successes in Brighton as a retailer enabled him to buy the family home back in the 1920’s. Unfortunately Henry Vokins died in 1919 aged 87 and wasn’t alive to see this happen. When WHV died in 1955 aged 94, he left the property and land to his 2 daughters, as the retail business was left to his 2 sons.

Sadly I have no knowledge of the relationship WHV had with his father, but would conclude that the relationship had broken down.

Attached are photographs of the main family home, taken during the 1930’s, 1945 and 2012, when I was invited to visit by the current owners, non less than W G Grace’s Great Great Grandson.

Since our family owned the property, the land has been hived off and dwellings sold off. However it was lovely to see one of the houses was called The Vokins.

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