Langleys Norwich toy store sees worker retire after 50 years

Since the age of 15, Linda Ashwood has been the smiling face of the historic Norwich Langleys toy store.

But after 51 years with the company, Ashwood announced her retirement, with colleagues calling the news “bittersweet.”

Ms Ashwood, 66, said: “I remember about a week after we started working at Langleys someone from the government came in and announced that we were moving to decimal – pounds and pennies instead of shillings.


Linda Ashwood is retiring from Langleys after 51 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan
– Credit: Sonya Duncan

“I had learned it in school a few weeks before, so I had to teach everyone how to do it – things have really changed since the 70s.

“We were worried about the Internet when it first came in, but when you do this job long enough, you learn to adapt.”


Linda Ashwood is retiring from Langleys after 51 years.  Byline: Sonya Duncan

Linda Ashwood is retiring from Langleys after 51 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan
– Credit: Sonya Duncan


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Ms Ashwood, from Brundall, has worked in virtually every unit on one side of the Royal Arcade as Langleys has moved shops over the years and shared her expertise with the “young” on the team.

She said: “I always made an effort to take the younger ones under my wing – I remember what it was like. It makes me proud to see them teaching other team members what to do with them. I learned. I didn’t have children of my own, so they became my family.


Linda Ashwood holds a photo of her 15-year-old in the same location when she started working at Langleys

Linda Ashwood holds a photo of her 15-year-old in the same location when she started working at Langleys
– Credit: Archant

“The highlight for me is seeing kids come in who’ve never been to a real toy store. Their eyes light up – and over the years you see them bring their own kids.”

“My advice to anyone who wants a long and happy career is to enjoy it. It sounds very simple, but just try to appreciate what you do and the people you work with, so when you get home to the end of the day when you’ll know you’ve done a good day’s work. “


Linda Ashwood is retiring from Langleys after 51 years.  Byline: Sonya Duncan

Linda Ashwood is retiring from Langleys after 51 years. Byline: Sonya Duncan
– Credit: Sonya Duncan

Langleys owner Steve Scott said: “I’ve been with Langley’s for five years and it’s just a nod to working with the same company every day.

“It’s bittersweet to see Linda go and we wish her the best.”

Ms Ashwood added: “Langleys has been in operation for about 130 years – I was asked the other week if I had worked here since their launch.”

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