Another High Street casualty, and whilst I wasn't too sad to see the back of Clinton Cards and Game, news of Jessops' demise is very sad. When I moved to London in the early nineties, I was a fairly regular visitor to the huge store on New Oxford Street, which had a very well stocked second-hand section. I splashed out for my first real lens from there, the Canon 300mm f4 - this was in the days before image stabilisation had been invented. I also bought one of my two now worthless EOS 1Ns from them - I still have both and they still work perfectly, though my stocks of Velvia ran out years ago.
From what I remember, Jessops was very often staffed by real enthusiasts, and it's these people who are now all out of work, and that's very sad news. There isn't a lot of money in photography, or that at least is my impression, so they may struggle to find work in the same sector, or indeed work anywhere - it's still miserable out there. Too much competition? Online dominance? Probably both, though I think that the day they stopped selling second-hand gear is what started the rot. That's why I went there in my impoverished student days - that 300mm lens came out of my student loan, not quite what it was intended for. It was slightly dented, slightly battered, slightly scraped, but lovely nonetheless. I mean it was white, and that counted for everything! Not that I knew what I was doing with it back then of course, but I used it for years before falling out of love with photography for a period. When I came back to it, that was what I picked up again. I stuck it on a cheap digital body, and it worked just like before, and so away I went on the journey I am still very much on today. I only sold it a few years ago.
On the internet.
I worked for Jessops for 5 years, as a continuing reader of your blog I just want to say thank you for your support as I was one of many to have become unemployed yesterday...