ADMINISTRATORS were last night called in to retail chain Ethel Austin, as thousands insisted it definitely went out of business no later than 1961.
Industry experts continue to debate what Ethel Austin actually did, with some saying it was the Victorian version of Primark for toddlers while others claim it never existed at all and was merely a plot device in early episodes of Coronation Street.
But recently uncovered parish records from 1648 seemed to settle the argument, with a brief entry stating: 'Mistress Ethelle Austyn hath opened a stalle nere the riverside for thee sale of divers and chepey shyte'.
Crypto-retailologist Charlie Reeves said: "We have some blurry photos from 1955 but we can't make out what's in the window. It's either shoes or pork. Or possibly some form of shoe pork.
"Meanwhile an excavation on a possible Ethel Austin site in Carlisle has uncovered an awful lot of what seem to be sacrificial pasties."
Eighty-seven year-old Margaret Gerving, believed to be Ethel Austin's last surviving customer, said: "Mam and me went to a branch in Crewe. It were very dark and I remember a fierce-looking woman tellin' me not to touch anythin'. Mam left the shop with a box wrapped in brown paper and never said a word. I asked her about it when I turned 21 and she went drip-white and slapped me face. She died not long after."
Mrs Gerving added: "But I do remember how every Sunday evening me dad would clean his brogues with a nice bit o' shoe pork.
"'It's Austin's shoe pork' he'd say and we'd all stare at him like he were Douglas Fairbanks."