London's Lost Department Stores

Tessa Boase


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Safe Haven Books
30 April 2022
ISBN: 9781838405137
192 pages

From the publisher

The recent closure of Debenhams (with its silver-fronted Oxford Street flagship and the historic Arding & Hobbs at Clapham Junction) is confirmation that suddenly the department store is an endangered species. There are now a great many more lost department stores in the capital than extant ones . . .

But London has been losing its great department stores for decades – once every major high street in Greater London, from Croydon to Uxbridge, had its landmark store, while the West End was full of them, from Bourne and Hollingsworth in Oxford Street to Swan and Edgar at Piccadilly Circus.

Now, for the first time, Tessa Boase, the acclaimed author of The Housekeeper’s Tale and Etta Lemon, guides you through a vanished era to celebrate all these fabulous stores, from Art Nouveau Debenham & Freebody in Wigmore Street to Art Deco Simpson’s in Piccadilly and Derry & Toms in Kensington (later Biba) with its roof garden, and the Moderne lines of Holdrons at Peckham Rye (now Mr Khan’s Discount).

From Gamage’s peerless toy department to Swears & Wells’ furs, here is a lost age of confidence and style, of cutting-edge architecture, buccaneering entrepreneurship and the height of high fashion, fabulously illustrated with period photographs, brochures and adverts. There is even a guided walking tour taking you to all the lost stores of the West End.