It may be the age of digital but the jigsaw puzzle is well and truly back in fashion and going down a storm, says Eastbourne newsagent Ian Watson.
Ian, who runs Watson’s Newsagents in The Beacon, has sold jigsaws for many years but has noticed a surge in sales in the last two years.
With probably the largest range of jigsaw puzzles in Eastbourne, Ian also offers a jigsaw exchange service so if customers bring back three jigsaws in good condition for re-selling, they get a brand-new jigsaw free.
Of the three types they sell, 500, 1000 and 5000 pieces, the most popular is 1,000 pieces.
He said: “It’s interesting that something as traditional as a jigsaw puzzle is back in fashion but then I believe there has been an increase in other old school items such as colouring-in books. With so many people now interested in mindfulness, I believe that pastimes like jigsaw puzzles help get people away from screens and it’s something they can do in peace and quiet.
“Although we’ve always had customers who buy our jigsaws, there has been a definite increase recently. There’s a lot more variety now in the puzzles you can buy.”
Ian and his wife Pat have run Watson’s Newsagent in The Beacon for 20 years, with the first 16 years outside the Centre and the past four inside.
Jigsaws were invented in the late 18th century by European cartographer named John Spilsbury, who cut a wooden map of the British Empire into pieces so that children could learn the geography of the countries Britain ruled at the time.