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Further information on other Independent Department Stores from the 1970s

Murrays White Hart Street, High Wycombe, Bucks

Bourne & Hollingsworth, Oxford Street, London

Bonds of Norwich, Norfolk

David Evans & Co Ltd, Swansea

Jenners, Edinburgh

Ricemans, Canterbury

Randalls, Vine Street, Uxbridge

Owen Owen Liverpool

High Street Heroes - The story of British Retail in 50 People by John Timpson

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Murrays in High Wycombe

This High Wycombe town centre department store was another family run business. The Rivett family owned it and it was finally closed on the 30th March 1985 More information Here Today there is a very successful branch of John Lewis near the M40 and a branch of the House of Fraser in the Eden Shopping Centre.

Part of the old Murrays building remains and can be seen from the Abbey Way Flyover (A40).

Thorpe House School, Gerrards Cross magazine The "Omnibus" December 1961 advertisement for Murrays of High Wycombe

Thorpe House School, Gerrards Cross magazine The "Omnibus" December 1965 advertisement for Murrays of High Wycombe

Online memories - Fern: My Story By Fern Britton "We would usually go to one of the big department stores. These weren't just huge buildings on the outside, inside the were equally vast. The days of pile-' em-high, sell-' em cheap had not yet arrived and they exuded a real sense of glamour. Suter's in Slough and Murray's in High Wycombe were the ones we went to most often Murray's being both the nearest and my favourite"..... More Here

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Bourne and Hollingsworth - Oxford Street, London

Bourne and Hollingsworth was the large department store on the corner of Oxford Street and Berners Street, London that Philip Suter worked for in the 1970s. It was named after its founders Walter William Bourne and Howard E Hollingsworth. At that time there were several members of the Bourne family involved with the company. For a while they also had a branch in Southampton.

According to this Bourne and Hollingsworth staff guide "Our History" (Which is very similar in content to Suters Limited Staff Rule Book)

"The business was founded in 1894 in Westbourne Grove, then a fashionable shopping street, by Walter William Bourne and Howard Hollingsworth, his brother-in-law. It dealt only in fancy drapery goods, laces, ribbons, gloves and millinery. In 1902 it moved to the corner of Oxford Street and Berners Street and its range of merchandise was considerably enlarged. At about the same time a branch was opened in Croydon but was soon closed, the partners preferring to concentrate on one business.

Before long the extenstiuon of departments and the increase of business called for further room. In the end the whole present island site, about an acre in extent, was acquired. But the premises were still inadequate, consisting mainly of old shops and houses with a mews down the middle. The fine modern building which we now occupy was mostly built between 1922 and 1928. The escalators and sixth floor were added ten years later.

It was not, however until 1960 that the development of the island site was completed by the rebuiloding of three old properties in Wells Street and the covering in of the great light well which pierced the southern block of the premises, developments which were delayed by the 1939-45 war, during which B. & H. was heavily bombed.

At first the business was mainly in women's clothing and accessories, with only a few departments of a more general character. Towards the end of 1938, however, a broader policy was adopted which owing to the war could not be put into effect immediately. As soon as circumstances permitted, new departments were opened in the basement and on the 3rd and 4th floors. Great care was taken, however, to preserve the general character of the business; women's and children's clothing, fashion accessories and haberdashery remained predominant.

In 1920 the firm became a private limited company and in 1951 a public company still under family control. Walter William Bourne died in 1921 and Howard Hollingsworth in 1938, the latter being succeeded by Mr. Stafford Bourne as head of the business.

Originally the firm had a small hostel in Store Street known as Staffordshire House. As the business grew this, too became inadequate and Warwickshire House was built in 1912. Some years later Staffordshire House was disposed of and Warwickswhire House enlarged, the consolidation making for greater economy. The houses were named after the counties in which the two founders, Mr. Bourne and Mr. Hollingsworth, were born".

Whilst working there in the 1970s Philip said there were at least two other family members from other independent department stores in England learning about retailing at Bourne and Hollingsworth before joining their own family business.

It was sold in 1979 and later became Bournes running a very long closing down sale.

Today although the building's art deco facade remains it is still a retail scene inside, known as the Plaza Shopping Centre. A restaurant in Rathbone Place, London now uses the Bourne and Hollingsworth name.

 

left - price tickets & an order form for personal Basildon Bond writing paper

Dispatch tie on label from 1970s

Philip Suter business card

Pass for the British Sports Trade Fair

1976 Christmas brochure Click on image to access page

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Junior Management Training Scheme

Staff badge for Directors, Managers, Buyers, assistant Buyers etc - sales staff and Department Managers had individual name badges - Below

Department Manager badge

Member of sales staff badge

Telephone used at Bourne & Hollingsworth in the 1950s to early 1970s era. Note the Telephone number "Museum 1515" (Extension 317) later to become 01 636 1515 - This image does enlarge

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News about possible sale of Bourne and Hollingsworth - 1979

and more

More information about Bourne & Hollingsworth Here and Here

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Bonds of Norwich, Norfolk

Visit the Norwich HEART website here

David Evans & Co Ltd, Swansea

More information Here and Here

Jenners Edinburgh

More information Here and Here

Ricemans, Canterbury

More information Here and Here and Here

Owen Owen, Liverpool

Liverpool Picturebook's history of Owen Owen Here

Wikipedia's information Here

Sale of Suters Ltd to Owen Owen stores group Here

1978 April to June - The Sale of Suters Here

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Randalls, Vine Street, Uxbridge

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Sir John Randall demonstrating the Lamson pneumatic tube system, once used to move cash, receipts and other items around the store. The store in Vine Street, Uxbridge closed in January 2015 after 123 years in busines. More information here

High Street Heroes - The story of British Retail in 50 People by John Timpson

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Philip Suter says that one of my Christmas presents given to me by my wife in 2015 was a copy of this book. I took this with me on holiday to Dubai in January 2016. It is a very interesting account of retailing and the names that have come and gone and that are still there on the High Street facias up to 2015. Written by John Timpson of the Timpson shoe shop and shoe repair family it is divided up into appropriate chapters for companies like Marks and Spencer, The John Lewis Partnership, supermarkets, shoe shops, mail order, traditional department stores and a very long list of individuals like Sir Terrance Conran, Sir Charles Clore, Laura Ashley, Anita Roddick and Philip Green.

Many names like Mac Fisheries, Radio Rentals, Timothy Whites and Richard Shops that have completely gone are written about in John Timpson's book.

It was published in the UK in 2015 by Icon Books and sold by Faber & Faber. Online selling was not included (but mail order was relevant to the book) and my copy came from a "high Street" retailer whose name did appear, Waterstones. The final chapter is John Timpson's top 50 British retail people and a brief synopsis of their careers.

Read a review of this book in The Independent Here

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Source of images, unless otherwise stated - Suter family archives

 

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