Author Archives: buildingourpast

Multiple Multiples: Disentangling the Story of Millets

Millets, the outdoor retail specialist, has maintained a strong presence on the British High Street for over 100 years. Recently I began to dig into Millets’ company history for my forthcoming book on chain stores. Before long I had stumbled … Continue reading

Posted in Fashion and Clothing | 10 Comments

The Story of Dorothy Perkins

Dorothy Perkins, like Etam, started out as a specialist in ladies’ underwear and lingerie. As with Burton, Dorothy Perkins’ stablemate in the Arcadia retail group, the commonly related history of the company doesn’t always fit the evidence. The usual version … Continue reading

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Food Experts: William Jackson & Son Ltd. of Hull

The History of William Jackson & Son Ltd. The Hull-based grocery, provisions and bakery business of William Jackson & Son Ltd. evolved into a coherent chain of convenience stores which was taken over by Sainsbury’s in 2004. The founder, William … Continue reading

Posted in Provisions Shops, William Jackson & Son Ltd. | 1 Comment

Buttercup Dairy Company

A Potted History of the Buttercup Dairy Co Ltd. The Buttercup Dairy Co devised one of the most artistic and coherent retail house styles to be found on Scottish high streets in the 20th century. The shops of few other … Continue reading

Posted in Buttercup Dairy Co, Provisions Shops | 2 Comments

Timothy Whites

Throughout much of the 20th century, Timothy Whites (later Timothy Whites & Taylors) was Boots the Chemist’s greatest rival. The chain was eventually swallowed up by Boots. In 1848, at the age of 23, Timothy White (1825-1908) took over William … Continue reading

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Saqui & Lawrence, Jewellers

The exact relationship between H. Samuel and Saqui & Lawrence has piqued a lot of interest. This is an attempt to clear things up – please comment if you have more information or images of Saqui & Lawrence shops that … Continue reading

Posted in Jewellers Shops | 10 Comments

‘The Greatest Grocers in the World’: International Tea Company’s Stores

‘International Stores’ was a common sight on English high streets from 1878, when the first shop opened in Brentford, until 1988, when all remaining outlets were rebranded ‘Gateway’. To give the company its full name, ‘International Tea Company’s Stores’ was … Continue reading

Posted in Provisions Shops | 4 Comments

Spotting Historic Shopfronts: Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury has an idyllic town centre, with a good range of interesting independent shops dotted amongst the usual national multiples. Traffic does not unduly bother the dedicated shopper, or the historic shop spotter. This pleasant historic environment should ensure the … Continue reading

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Spotting Historic Shopfronts: Hitchin

Initial impressions suggest that Hitchin in Hertfordshire is rich in historic shopfronts. Closer inspection, however, reveals much renewal at street level, whilst more authentic evidence of Hitchin’s commercial past survives above its shops (for example, look up to spot Freeman … Continue reading

Posted in Butchers' Shops, Lipton's, Spotter's Guides | 3 Comments

Spotting Historic Shopfronts: Saffron Walden

Not surprisingly, the Essex market town of Saffron Walden is rich in historic shopfronts. Here is a motley selection to enjoy! No. 1 Myddleton Place An unrestored example of a late medieval shop can be seen on the corner of … Continue reading

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