NO RISQUE BUSINESS IN A NEW ERA FOR STORE
Where: Princes Avenue, Hull.
It sells: Shoes, accessories, dresses, corsets, burlesque wear.
Open: 10am to 4.30pm Tuesday to Friday.
Call: 01482 493227.
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BUY ANY YALE / CYLINDER HOUSE KEY AND GET ONE FREE, THATS RIGHT FREE !!!
PEACE OF MIND SECURITY
153 HALLGATE, COTTINGHAM
Terms: ONLY ONE PER CUSTOMER, YOU MUST BUY FIRST KEY TO GET SECOND KEY FREE, YOU MUST PRINT OUT OFFER AND BRING INTO THE SHOP TO RECIVE THE OFFER
Contact: 01482 423414
Contact: 01482 423414
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
S traddling the corner of Princes Avenue and Spring Bank, in one way or another Gwenap has been operating for more than 100 years.
It started off as a ladies' outfitters and hat-maker but, in the past few decades, has enjoyed notoriety has Hull's oldest sex shop.
After a massive refurbishment and change of ownership a few years ago, Gwenap's on-street presence now offers blush-sparing clothing, lingerie and accessories. Having never gone in before, I decided to take the plunge and see what one of the icons of Hull's shopping scene has to offer.
At one time Gwenap was famous for slapping cheeky slogans over its windows – giving drivers stuck at the traffic lights a chuckle.
Since the change of ownership, however, the banners have disappeared and the whole focus of the shop has changed. Mannequins in 1950s-style dresses take centre stage, with a whole selection of teeteringly high shoes taking up the rear.
The bright pink signage in sleek, shiny cladding has really brought the whole store bang up to date and the whole exterior looks great.
I am sure one of the main problems Gwenap must be trying to overcome is the shyer shoppers' reluctance to be seen entering a "sex shop".
The very first thing that strikes you, however, is there is absolutely nothing on display in store that would threaten to make even your granny blush. In fact, as I entered two grey-haired ladies were cooing over a pair of shoes in the window they may, or may not, have realised are widely known as "stripper shoes".
You may not want to peruse the website with your granny but the shop is an altogether embarrassment-free zone.
In actual fact, it is pretty clear most of the goods are best described as retro-inspired burlesque wear.
Towards the back of the store is a selection of pin-up style dresses (from £35) that are the kind of thing Betty Grable wriggled around in. Finish off the look with the range of retro-style head and hair ties that are the perfect finishing touch to some cute pin curls.
There are also corsets, (from £25), tutu skits (from £5) and ranges of bags and lingerie.
However, in an age when stripper shoes became everyday wear, perhaps Gwenap's crowning glory lies in the massive selection of shoes from names such as Bordello and Pinup Couture. When I visited, a pre-Christmas sale meant prices were starting from just £6 (for ballet pumps) but, obviously, some of the more intricate, detailed shoes, including some with a lipstick-design heel, go for a lot more. Vast catalogues mean the choice is even wider, although there are very few pairs that could ever be thought of as practical, which is fine by me.
Did I buy?
As a devoted shoe-lover it would have been churlish not to have treated myself to something new for my feet when surrounded by so many gorgeous pairs.
I opted for a relatively sensible pair of black platform wedges (£12). However, I have been frantically sharing the Facebook image of the pink rhinestone Bordello Teeze shoes (£120) that I am hoping Father Christmas may bring me if I am very, very good.
Staff and service
Service was friendly and helpful by a lovely lady, who I hope won't mind me describing as approaching middle age.
No scantily clad sex bombs here, which may – or may not – be a disappointment, depending on your point of view.
Gwenap has been around for 100 years and I, for one, am hoping it will make it for another 100 years.
It has adapted cleverly to the times and the new, modern store offers a unique shopping experience in Hull.
If you have not been, get yourself along. Take your granny if you want – especially if she needs a new pair of shoes.