Andrews Collection

Scope and Content

This collection comprises the records and photographs, relating to Andrews Stores, situated at 445 and 450-452 Becontree Avenue, Dagenham (1925-1984), as well as the personal papers of Norman W. Andrews, who was in charge of the furniture department of Andrews Stores, as well as the Joint Managing Director of N. W. Andrews & Co Ltd (1936-2000). Also together with a biography on the life and work of Norman W. Andrews, written as a research project by Elaine Noakes (2000).

Administrative / Biographical History

William Andrews, and his wife Mildred Hannah, came to Dagenham from Colchester in 1927. They went on to open an outfitters and general merchants shop, known as Andrews Stores on 445 Becontree Avenue, Dagenham. Mr W. Andrews, who was also one of the founders of the Becontree Heath Baptist Church, died at the age of 44 on 9 February 1936. In turn his wife, with the help of her son, Raymond, took control of the business and formed M. H. Andrews & Sons Ltd in 1942.

The family also owned a shop at 452 Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, which was used as a lock up to store sandbags and other air-raid precaution equipment during the Second World War. On his release from military service with the Royal Air Force, Norman W. Andrews, the second son of William and Mildred Hannah Andrews, was given permission to sell utility furniture at these premises. In 1952 he acquired 450 Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, which meant the shop occupied the whole corner of the junction with Valence Avenue.

As the twentieth century progressed the store continued to expand and improve, building a furniture extension in 1955 and refurbishing the shop front in 1958. In addition to this the range of products was expanded to include, domestic appliances, such as vacuum cleaners and refrigerators, as well as radio and television sets. Norman William Andrews retired as Joint Managing Director of N. W. Andrews & Co Ltd in 1984.


The original order of this material has been retained.

Access Information

This material is open to research and can be viewed at the Barking and Dagenham Archive and Local Studies Centre. To make an appointment to visit the reading room, please telephone 020 8227 2033 or email at

Acquisition Information

Donated to Valence House Museum in August 2002. The collection was then transferred to the Barking and Dagenahm Archive and Local Studies Centre in 2003.


Catalogued by Clare Sexton, Assistant Archivist.

Other Finding Aids

For further information about the contents of this collection, please contact the Barking and Dagenham Archive and Local Studies Centre by telephone 020 8227 2033 or email at

Conditions Governing Use

For further information about our reprographics and publication charges, please visit our website

Appraisal Information

Duplicate material has been removed and securely disposed of by the Assistant Archivist.

Corporate Names

Geographical Names