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Iconic designer shop announces closure

By Mike Cotton, Town Reporter Friday 13th June 2014
Rita Britton in Pollyanna

ICONIC Barnsley designer fashion shop Pollyanna will close on Saturday - after owner Rita Britton suffered a stroke.


Owners Rita and Geoff Britton say it was a difficult decision and says they will probably sell the building.

Geoff said: "When Rita isn't there it loses a bit of sparkle, a bit of fairydust she sprinkles on it.

"We know it's not good for Barnsley, but we'd rather not let it decline. Rita can't fly off to Paris or wherever and that affects stock for the next six months."

He said Rita had been back to the shop on Market Hill since her stroke at Easter, which caused her to have a brain haemorrhage, but "every time the job is not right."

Rita set up her first shop in Barnsley nearly 50 years ago and renowned as a fashion guru.

CommentsClick here to add a comment...
Posted by Annonymous I Fri 13th Jun 2014 at 1:31pm
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Posted by trish evans I Fri 13th Jun 2014 at 1:44pm

Awwww im so sorry to hear Rita has had a stroke. I wish her a speedy tecovery. Its sad the shop will close but health does come first. Happy retirment.

Posted by Yvonne I Fri 13th Jun 2014 at 4:34pm

We'll I am yvonne who owns CO -OCCASION HAIRDRRDESSING iN CUDWORTH .l have known Rita many years and shopped. At Pollyanna the same what ever I have bought as always looked amazing and lasted I will miss both Pollyanna and Rita it is a ver y sad day . I would like to wish a speedy recovery to Rita , she is an amazing lady lady being the word that describes Rita all my love yvonne

Posted by Julian jones I Fri 13th Jun 2014 at 4:53pm

Rita you gave me my 1st job in this town

Posted by Paul guest I Fri 13th Jun 2014 at 6:05pm

Rita I wish you a very speedy recovery ... You will be missed .Paul used to own Jade palace restraint many years ago ..take care

Posted by Isobel Eaton I Fri 13th Jun 2014 at 11:02pm

So sad to hear Pollyanna is closing but wishing Rita a speedy recovery. She is an incredible lady in all that she has acheived and an inspiration. All the best Rita from the Eaton family xxx

Posted by Pollyanna Customer I Sat 14th Jun 2014 at 2:23pm

I so hope Rita makes a full and speedy recovery, she is an incredible woman. However, this is a tragedy and a dreadful decision. There is a fantastic team of people who work at Pollyanna, from the shop to the cafe. All of them make me incredibly welcome, whether I am buying clothing or a coffee and I know they would keep the ship sailing perfectly well.

It's always nice to see Rita, she is an amazing lady, but I am sure she could allow her legacy to be continued by people who know what it is all about.

Posted by Sharon I Sat 14th Jun 2014 at 4:24pm
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Posted by Robert Eaton I Sat 14th Jun 2014 at 5:58pm

Really sorry to hear about Pollyanna closing I wish Rita a quick recovery and the best for the future, what Rita has achieved at Pollyanna as one of the Uk's leading independent fashion boutiques is incredible and is something that Barnsley should be proud of, her passion, commitment and hard working ethic is something that has always inspired me and the advice she has given me in my career I will always be grateful for, this is a sad loss for Barnsley !

Posted by Sue I Sat 14th Jun 2014 at 6:19pm

Happy retirement Rita, you've earned it. The whole team are superb and I will miss their friendly welcome whether I'm having a coffee or shopping for clothes. Barnsley needs people like Rita and I will miss her, her team and Pollyanna

Posted by Philip Taylor I Sun 15th Jun 2014 at 11:11am

Hope your Recovery goes well ,You made Barnsley Sparkle ,you can be proud of your achievements.

Posted by Shafton Hall Drive I Sun 15th Jun 2014 at 1:21pm
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Posted by Ann I Sun 15th Jun 2014 at 2:40pm

when you run your own business for many years you know it's not the same without being at the helm, even though staff are marvellous, and amazing and know the ropes like the back of your hand.

The drive is just not the same. Nothing to do with ego

Rita's decision to quit whilst ahead is right....rather than face the decline if it does not work under staff management....and that's no disrespect to the staff who I am sure could run it perfectly well, hands tied behind their backs

the gusto of the boss behind the workforce is what keeps morale good and the ball rolling

Posted by Carole I Mon 16th Jun 2014 at 11:36am

Very sad we will miss you. We have enjoyed many happy lunches in the café.

I know from my own experience what you mean about businesses losing their sparkle when the person at the helm retires. I hope you will be feeling better soon. Kind regards to you both.

Posted by The Nonny Rat I Mon 16th Jun 2014 at 12:05pm
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Posted by Alex Cooke I Mon 16th Jun 2014 at 2:53pm

This is very sad news, such an iconic shop. I had the pleasure of hanging around the original Pollyanna store next to the chippy. My Mum would be inside trying 50 things on, maybe buying one, maybe none, Mark and I would be left to our own devices. Fond memories. I did a bit of work for Strand at the later premises, always a great atmosphere and met some characters from Barnsley. I totally credit Rita and my Mum for my career path, fashion design etc and now MD of a Savile Row Tailoring company, any interview I do, Rita's name gets dropped in. Best to all the family. Alex

Posted by Diana I Mon 16th Jun 2014 at 7:27pm

So sorry to see Pollyanna go. It has been my favourite lunch spot for years.

Posted by Nick & Liz Briggs I Tue 17th Jun 2014 at 10:16am

We are sad to hear this. We hope Rita makes a full and speedy recovery. Thanks for your business over the last 27 years. Wishing Rita and Geoff all the best for the future .

Posted by Yvonne I Tue 17th Jun 2014 at 7:56pm

this place should have been kept open if the owner truly cared about the town , could have been progression for her staff or even art students in the town

wrong to close it just wrong.

Posted by marie brownlie I Fri 20th Jun 2014 at 6:42pm

lovely times working for you at many memories to look back on.wishing you

Posted by sue I Fri 20th Jun 2014 at 10:03pm

sad day for Barnsley, but health has to come first......thanks for putting the town on the fashion world map Rita.......I remember my mum buying me a long black hooded velvet coat and a gorgeous cream mini dress

From Rita when the shop was on Shambles St, it had a very special atmosphere.....I can remember it like it was yesterday.......thanks Rita for being yourself and an ambassador for Barnsley....Good Luck for a speedy recovery........

Posted by Jax I Fri 20th Jun 2014 at 11:21pm
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Posted by Vicki Watkin I Sat 21st Jun 2014 at 5:40pm

I was very Sad to read in Drapers that Polyanna has closed, I have very fond memories of my Mum Carol

shoping with you in your store down a side street next to Wollies, Rita you also gave me my first Saturday job which was an amazing start to my own fashion jounrney. I hope you get better soon and enjoy retirment. Victoria x

Posted by julie I Tue 24th Jun 2014 at 8:28am

The first Barnsley boutique in Shambles Street holds such special memories for me. As a teenager I bought all my dresses from Pollyanna - my first Twiggy frock cost 5 guineas (£5.25) I thought I had died and gone to heaven!!!!! Happy days! Happy retirement Rita x

Posted by Julie Grayson I Wed 25th Jun 2014 at 7:10pm

Rita, my friend, historian and a Barnsley treasure. We sometimes have to chose, health, wealth or happiness. I know !! You are a woman of integrity and I am so pleased that I worked for you and knew you for the genuine person that you are. Enjoy what ever you decide to do. Keep in contact. Love you lots. Hope to hear from you. x

Posted by g d clarke I Sun 6th Jul 2014 at 1:09pm

a sad day ..a bit of class..and style has gone from barnsley that needs all the help it can get to improve its image beyond banrsley ...I still have a 1960's belt i bought from the original pollyannas on shambles st where the tyre place now is -it was the only calrksons brewery offices -where i was a signwriter before becoming a full time artist ...we were barnsley's swinging sixties then !!!...she has acheived well being a former satr 'paper mills lass! all good wishes Rita luv GDC x

Posted by TRISHA nEEDHAM I Fri 26th Sep 2014 at 2:26pm

So sad to hear you are closing I live in London but I'm from( Cudworth)nr Barnsley. I bought a Gill Sander coat from you many many years ago it was the most expensive item I ever bought but I couldn't leave the shop without it, I felt I'd earned it after selling huge amounts of my printed velvet scarves to Barneys in New York, the coat did everything I wanted I still wear it today its a bit shabby ( needs a new lining) but still has class, even my mum commented on the fact that it looked like a designer coat I never told her the truth on how much it cost !!! a testament to your skill in choosing the best designers. I wish you a speedy recovery and hope you enjoy your retirement. Best wishes Trisha Needham.

Posted by Beryl I Tue 14th Oct 2014 at 6:20pm

My goodness what a shock only just heard the news Rita you get well that is the most important and remember I will be wearing my lovely things from Pollyanna even more fondly thank you for teaching me about understated style - you are real master

Posted by Linda Clowes I Tue 9th Dec 2014 at 8:55pm

I only just heard about Ritas health problems and am so sorry. Rita helped me for over 20 years to understand true understated style and I have so many things in my wardrobe which she helped me to chose. I wish you all the best for a happy retirement and a speedy recovery.

Posted by audrey tweddle I Wed 4th Feb 2015 at 8:29pm

planned to visit Pollyanna in March 2015. what a shock to read that you are closing due to ill health. I wish you a speedy recovery and good heath.

Posted by Linda Reid I Sun 15th Feb 2015 at 7:37pm

Many years since I bought my outfit but admired your taste and creativity ,sometimes it takes something such as this to take stock of our lives and enjoy sweet idleness.Get well quickly which I am sure you will with your determination .

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