Daughter pays tribute to 'cheerful, friendly and supportive' shopkeeper

Bridget Hammond of Hammonds Camera Shop in Wisbech

Bridget Hammond (left) ran Hammonds Camera Shop with husband Denis in Wisbech, as well as other premises. - Credit: Melanie Stibbons

Tributes have been paid to a long-standing shopkeeper who was “always interested in what other people did”. 

Bridget Hammond of Wisbech ran Hammond's Camera Shop in the town with her husband Denis for over 55 years, before retiring in 2004. 

Melanie Stibbons, Bridget’s daughter, said: “My mother supported my dad throughout everything he did while doing her fair share of work in the shop.” 

Bridget, who died aged 92 last month, lived and worked in Wisbech throughout her life. 

The only child of Ken and Hilda Coates who ran the former Black Horse pub in town, she attended St Audrey’s Convent School on Alexandra Road before working at the Wisbech Telephone Exchange. 

Bridget Hammond of Wisbech

Bridget Hammond was born in Wisbech and lived and worked in the town with husband Denis. - Credit: Melanie Stibbons

Bridget married Denis, a former reporter at the Wisbech Standard newspaper, in 1948 and set up and lived above their camera shop on Norwich Road, selling cameras, photographic accessories and offering a printing service. 

After their first shop was demolished, as well as further shops in the Market Place, Bridget also ran a gift shop and offered a picture framing service.

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“Mum and dad worked side by side all their lives,” Melanie said.  

“They set up the business after the war and it was the camera side that took off as cameras became more popular.” 

When the camera shop was needed for the development of Horsefair Shopping Centre, Bridget, Denis and assistant Betty Reeve moved to a premises on Market Street. 

Hammonds Camera Shop Market Place Wisbech

Hammonds Camera Shop on Market Place in Wisbech, one of a number of premises the couple used. - Credit: Melanie Stibbons

It was here that Betty took over as shop manager, until her retirement in 2004 when the family business was sold. 

But it was not just in business that Bridget was perhaps most known for. 

“Bridget was further involved in Wisbech life through the town's clubs and societies such as the tennis club, ladies’ hockey, bridge club, indoor bowls and the Wisbech Society,” said Melanie.  

“She also supported Denis in his work for Wisbech's Chamber of Commerce and the many other town organisations to which he belonged.” 

Russel Flint print for Hammonds Camera Shop staff member 1984

From left: Denis Hammond, Betty Reeve and Bridget Hammond in March 1984 where Betty was presented with a signed print to mark 25 years of service. - Credit: Melanie Stibbons

After Denis' death in 2006, Bridget continued to live at the house they had built along Norwich Road until 2016 when she moved into care. 

“Many customers will remember Bridget's cheerful smile and her polite, friendly manner when serving them in the shop,” Melanie added. 

“She had a beautiful smile and was always interested in what other people did.” 

For details on the funeral service and to share memories of Bridget, contact Melanie on 01775 767286. 

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