The memory of the major power rationing during the 1970s industrial disputes kept up morale for shoppers in Tavistock today (Thursday) during a sudden power cut in Tavistock.

The staff of the fashion store White Stuff also summoned the wartime spirit of 'keeping calm and carrying on' as shops along one side of the main street were plunged into darkness from about 8am.

While cafes like Costa, hairdressers and a photographic shop were forced to close, White Stuff manager Emily Lewis managed to trade in the dark while using a card reader and giving customers tours of clothes for sale using mobile phone torches.

She said: "We decided we would open as we've come in and had set up the store up. Our card reader is working and we put a notice on the door telling people are still trading, even though it doesn't look it with no lights on.

"We're doing quite well and have several customers in, so it could be worthwhile. We like problem solving here. It's also been fun with a sort of wartime spirit."

Customers Caroline Petherick, of Roborough, near Torrington, popped into White Stuff with her sister Marilyn Ley, from Belstone, near Okehampton.

Caroline bought a scarf and browsed the dresses by torchlight. She said: "We are having a day out in Tavistock, so we aren't put off by a little thing like a power cut. It's like the power cuts in the seventies and the Three-Day Week. You've got to have a sense of humour. we're determined to enjoy our day out and it's been fun to be honest and the staff are so helpful despite their problems."

Marilyn said: "We're making the most of our day out together. It's like during the war, not that I'm that old. But you've got to laugh. It's not what we were expecting, but you can still see the clothes by holding them up to the window. Well done to the staff for opening."

One of the butchers shops stayed open with the crucial fridges still working,

A National Grid spokesman said: "Our engineers are working to get power returned as quickly as possible. We are sorry for any inconvenience this is causing our customers."