Memorabilia from one of the longest-running businesses in Leeds is helping put together a museum’s jigsaw of the city’s retail history.
The landmark trio of ‘golden balls’ from Zermansky’s Pawnbrokers, along with other memorabilia from the shop, have been donated to the Victorian streets collections at Abbey House Museum.
The popular displays include Stephen Harding Gate - the 19th century equivalent of a modern high street - along with recreations of poorer residential districts.
Zermansky’s was a fixture on North Street in Leeds city centre from the 1920s to its closure in 1981. It was run as a family business by Mark Zermansky before being taken over by his son Cyril, after his father died in 1964.
The pawnbroking element of the business ended in 1974 when the Consumer Credit Act increased the regulations and paperwork in the industry.
Zermansky’s went on to close seven years later.
Now the family of the late Cyril and Pearl Manning have donated several items from the business to be added to the Victorian recreation streets at the Leeds City Council-managed visitor attraction in Kirkstall.
The donated items include the original pawnbroker’s sign and the three golden balls which hung off it.
Kitty Ross, Leeds City Council’s curator of Leeds history and social history said: “We are delighted to accept and put these fantastic items on display at Abbey House Museum.
“Original memorabilia like this from a family business which spanned more than 50 years offers a real insight into the financial and retail history of the city.
“We are very grateful to the Zermansky family for donating them to us.”
A ceremony to mark the items from Zermansky’s Pawnbrokers going on display at Abbey House Museum was held at the weekend, with members of the Zermansky family attending.
As well as the sign, the family have also donated a range of other personal and business items relating to the Zermansky family, such as the original weighing scales from the shop.