Welcome to London's History
_HOMEPAGE_TOPICS_DOWNLOADS
    create an account |
_USERACCOUNT_SUBMITNEWS_SHOWTOP  
Theme by www.UserWear.de


Discover the great, the strange, the seedy, the inspired, the criminal and the downright ordinary past of one of the World's Greatest Cities!

SITE MAP




· Home

Modules
· AvantGo
· Downloads
· FAQ
· Members List
· News
· Recommend Us
· Reviews
· Search
· Sections
· Stats
· Topics
· Top List
· Web Links



The Special Sections are only available to registered users. Login or register for free here.
ENGLAND
Samuel Pepys
Elizabeth I
London's Underworld
Fleet Marriages.
The Cries of London
Updated.




Hell is a city much like London - A populous and smoky city.

-- Percy Bysshe Shelley 1819



We have 79 guests and 0 members online

You are an anonymous user. You can register for free by clicking here


London's Lost Department Stores: Gamages
Posted on Jun 17, 2005 - 10:11 AM by Bill McCann

Most of London's Department Stores began life as small drapers' shops in the 19th century. Many of them went on to become household names and some even became internationally known. However, the developments of the late 20th century brought changes that proved too much for some and names such as Swan & Edgar or Derry & Toms are now but fading memories. In this short series we will present a brief history of the more famous of these, starting with the original cut-price emporium Gamages of Holborn.



Gamages

A W Gamage Ltd., 116-128 Holborn.

Arthur Walter Gamage was the son of a Herefordshire farmer who was apprenticed to a London draper in St Paul's churchyard. In 1878, at the age of 21 and having saved 40 (equivalent to 2,500 today) he decided to set up his own shop, in partnership with Frank Spain. Between them they raised the 88 necessary to lease and fit a small watch repair shop in Holborn. The owner assured them that a hosiery shop would do well in the area.The frontage was no more than five feet and above it Gamage hung his motto "Tall Oaks from Little Acorns Grow."

The partners lived in the back room of the shop and allowed themselves no more than fourteen shillings a week for their living expenses. Gamage insisted on selling everything cheaper than anywhere else and gradually crowds began to visit the shop, even though the area was "unfashionable." By the end of the first year trading had grown to 1,632. In 1881, Gamage, bought Spain out and began to expand the premises by buying the small properties that surrounded his original shop. By the end of the decade most of the block between Leather Lane and Hatton Gardens was in his hands.

A Gamages advertisement from the 1960s.Because of the piecemeal expansion, his Department Store ended up as a maze of rooms, steps, passages and ramps which Gamage now called the People's Popular Emporium. And it was popular with children and adults alike who experienced something of an adventure as they wandered through the warren in search of bargains. It offered a very wide selection of goods, including haberdashery, furniture, sporting goods, gardening supplies and utensils, camping equipment and clothing.

Gamage went on to become the official supplier of uniforms to the Boy Scout movement and continued to expand. A large zoological department and a toy department were joined by a motor department where one could purchase a motor car and all the equipment required for running it. One of the largest departments was that devoted to pedal-bicycles and motorcycles. In 1911, 49 pages of his 900 page catalogue were devoted to bicycles. Gamage died in 1930 and tradition has it that he lay in state in the cycle department with a guard of honour made up of members of his staff..

The premises closed in march 1972 and disappeared in the massive redevelopment scheme which now occupies the site. The frontage on High Holborn that was Gamages is now occupied by a W H Smith stationary store.


 

· More about London's Buildings
· News by Bill McCann


Most read story in London's Buildings:
London's Lost Department Stores: Gamages


London's Lost Department Stores: Gamages | Login/Create an account | 0 Comments
Threshold
Comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. Unless otherwise indicated, all written material on the storyoflondon site is the copyright of Bill McCann. All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters.

Google
 
Web www.storyoflondon.com

This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

This European History Site
is owned by
storyoflondon

If you would like to join this ring
Click Here

[Prev 5][Prev][Next][Random][Next 5] [List]

This web site was made with PostNuke, a web portal system written in PHP. PostNuke is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL license.
You can syndicate our news using the file backend.php