If today's outlook proves the boom and bust economy is alive and well, at least the rollercoaster fortunes of our high streets are nothing new - as these pictures from our archives show.

Throngs of excited customers, nearly all of them in wide-brimmed hats, gathered at the opening of the F. H. Rowse department store in West Ealing in 1913, no doubt attracted by a sale billboard promising "phenomenal prices" and instructing people to "watch these windows".

The department store soon made a name for itself as a draper, house furnisher, clothier and outfitters, serving the area for more than half a century in an era which also saw the flourishing of the fashion house W. J. Daniel and Co, the men's outfitters Abernathies, and the recently extinct F. W. Woolworth.

It was used as a backdrop in the 1960 film Carry On Constable, and survived the social upheaval of the ensuing decades until closing its doors for the last time in January 1983.

The last items up for grabs in the closing down sale included roller skates, Barbie dolls and the Rubik's Challenge board game - a less successful variation on the classic puzzle which involved sticking pegs into coloured cubes.

In a marked contrast to the busy opening, F. H. Rowse's last day was evocatively captured in a phorograph we feature here of a store worker sweeping up the floor of the empty electrical department, a solitary shop-per left in the background.