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.
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
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.
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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
B & H Memo on left and on right Advance Collection of funds from till collected by security and taken to cash office in basement
Delivery Note and Despatch Docket
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Daily Telegraph Wednesday August 2nd 1978
June 1978 Suters sells to Owen Owen, July 1978 David Evans sells to The House of Fraser and in August, from newspaper reports it looked like Bourne and Hollingsworth - B & H would be making a similar move.
News about possible sale of Bourne and Hollingsworth - 1979
Bonds were also members of the ISA - Independent Stores Association and were bought by the John Lewis Partnership in 1982. John Lewis Partnership traded as Bonds until 2001.
David Evans was a member of the ISA - Independent Stores Association like Suters Ltd and part of the arrangement was visits and meetings at other member stores. In the spring of 1978 Philip Suter and his brother Robert went to David Evans in Swansea for such a visit. At that time negotiations were nearly completed with Owen Owen, however everything was confidential and so outwardly we had to show that business was normal. Our hosts too were giving the same impression as under a month later, they too had sold out and this was to the House of Fraser as per the cutting from The Daily Telegraph below.
More information Here
Jenners were also members of the ISA - Independent Stores Association and were bought by The House of Fraser in 2005
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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
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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
Source of images, unless otherwise stated - Suter family archives