Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 2.5m Facelift in Store; HISTORIC TYNESIDE TRADER LINED UP FOR REVAMP IN BID TO DRAW IN FOLLOWERS OF FASHION

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 2.5m Facelift in Store; HISTORIC TYNESIDE TRADER LINED UP FOR REVAMP IN BID TO DRAW IN FOLLOWERS OF FASHION

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN WARBURTON

AN ICONIC Tyneside store is receiving a multi-million pound investment to spruce up the site.

Shopping chiefs at John Lewis are splashing out pounds 2.5m on a revamp of its Newcastle store as it tries to attract more fashion-conscious women through its doors.

The Eldon Square store is investing in a major shake-up of its womenswear and accessories department, which will begin early next month and is earmarked to be complete by mid-September.

Newcastle is one of only four of John Lewis's 29 UK stores to receive a cash injection to boost its fashion sales, alongside branches in London and Manchester and its brand new store in Cardiff.

It comes more than a century after it became the world's first department store and an iconic symbol of Newcastle.

It was sparked by 13-year-old Emerson Muschamp Bainbridge, who began an apprenticeship at a city draper's shop in Market Street during the 1830s.

In 1838 he set up in partnership and eventually he had 23 different business sections - and the concept of the department store was realised.

It became a phenomenal success story and in 1865 Bainbridge bought a 500ft stretch of buildings reaching from Market Street at one end to Bigg Market at the other. Between 1841 and 1899, staff levels leapt from ten to a staggering 700 - not to mention a further 800 in company factories in Leeds.

In 1892, Emerson Bainbridge, who five years earlier had purchased Eshott Hall in Northumberland, died, leaving a legacy which was to be fulfilled in the first part of the 20th Century.

His sons, Thomas and George Bargate, took over, making it a private company. The latter became chairman in 1912 aged 62 and remained until his death at the age of 94 in 1944.

Even the arrival in 1882 of department store rivals Fenwick did not hinder the forward march of Bainbridge, but the 1920s depression signalled a change in fortunes.

One of the company's factories in Leeds went into liquidation in 1938, and it fell to the next descendant, George Vivian Bainbridge, to attempt to repair the damage of the Second World War.

Under-capitalised and weak, the firm was bought up by the John Lewis Partnership in February 1953 - though they were wise enough to retain the trading name of Bainbridge. …

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