Department Stores

Department stores developed in Britain in the late 19th century and they revolutionised the way goods were bought. A wider variety of cheaper goods such as furniture, fabrics and clothing could be bought under one roof. Prices were set and clearly marked, bringing an end to the tradition of haggling. All transactions were in cash.

The West End of London changed dramatically during the 20th century. Large department stores were built on Regent Street and Oxford Street. Architecturally, the buildings became grander and more ornate with stone facades and bronze sculptures. Windows became larger, so more products could be displayed. Many of London's department stores were rebuilt after the First World War. They were fitted with cafs and restaurants to serve their customers.

Fortnum and Mason

Charles Fortnum established a grocers shop in Picadilly in 1773. In the 1920s the store was refurbished and expanded, and one of the key features of the new facade were the elaborate windows. Above the entrance a large clock with automated statues of Mr Fortnum and Mr Mason was hung.

John Lewis

John Lewis leased a shop in Oxford Street in 1864. He had 14 years' experience in the drapery trade, having previously worked as a buyer at Peter Robinson. He began selling ribbons and haberdashery and in 1870 expanded into linens.

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