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Great London Shops – Hatchards

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187 Piccadilly, St James’s, W1J 9LE

Hatchards is one of the oldest bookshops in the United Kingdom, It was founded by John Hatchard in 1797 in Piccadilly  where it still stands today.

His portrait still hangs in pride in the shop, and it has  a reputation for attracting high-profile authors and holds three Royal Warrants.

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Over the years many famous authors have signed at Hatchards including more recently J.K Rowling, , Peter Ackroyd,  Lauren Bacall, , Alec Guinness, ,Hilary Mantel and Sebastian Faulks..

There are a number of  antiquarian books  sold usually related to  Winston Churchill, with a small section to Royalty. Other specialist sections include Gardening, Food & Drink, Biography,  and Art.

Hatchard’s  regularly host literary events and book signings in the shop.

Next to  Fortnum and Mason, Hatchards offers old fashioned charm which has attracted a wide range of customers to its store.

If you want further information about Hatchards , visit their website here

Great London Shops – Hamleys

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Location – 188-196 Regent Street, London, W1B 5BT

Hamleys is one of the oldest and largest toy shop in the world, it was founded by William Hamley as “Noah’s Ark” in High Holborn, London, in 1760, with a branch opening in Regent Street in 1881.
For a long time a family business, the shop almost disappeared for ever in the 1930s but was bought by Walter Lines, the Chairman of the Tri-Ang company who restored its reputation as one of London’s main retail attractions. It is estimated it attracts around five million visitors a year.
The Regent Street flagship store has a 7 floors with an estimated 50,000 toys.

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The shop is also known for its inventive window displays and the staff who wander around the shop playing and demonstrating some of the products.

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London had a large number of toy shops in the 19th and early 20th century, as well as toys sold in the street, however the advance of online shopping as severely cut the number of toyshops with Hamleys one of the very few old style Toyshops to survive.

The ground floor is traditionally for soft toys and decked out with a bewildering array of stuffed animals, from regular teddy bears to enormous life-sized giraffes and elephants.

Opening Times
Monday    10:00- 20:00
Tuesday   10:00 -20:00
Wednesday 10:00- 20:00
Thursday  10:00- 21:00
Friday    10:00- 21:00
Saturday  09:30- 21:00
Sunday    12:00- 18:00

 If you want to find out more about Hamleys  , visit their website here

 

London Department Stores – Marks and Spencer

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Marks and Spencer

Location – Marble Arch ,458 Oxford Street,London,W1C 1AP

 Marks and Spencer is a major Department Store on Oxford Street, the origins of the Marks and Spencer company was a partnership between Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in 1894. They open their Penny Bazaar in Leeds before opening a number of stalls in markets in the North of England.

Eventually they built a number of stores all over the United Kingdom, they built a reputation by only selling British-made goods and by its generous returns policy, giving a full refund on goods regardless of when it was purchased. Working with British Manufacturers, the company became known for quality clothes and food sold under the St Michael and St Margaret brands. Women’s lingerie was especially popular and became an iconic part of M & S.

In the 1990s, facing fierce competition it was forced to abandon its British Goods only policy and change its returns policy. It was also hampered by its refusal to accept credit cards until 2001.

Although facing a relative decline, Marks and Spencer is still a major retailer with 703 stores in the United Kingdom and 361 stores spread across more than 40 countries.

General Opening Hours

Monday    08:00 – 21:00

Tuesday   08:00 – 21:00

Wednesday 08:00 – 21:00

Thursday  08:00 – 21:00

Friday    08:00 – 21:00

Saturday  08:00 – 21:00

Sunday    12:00 – 18:00

Products Women’s Clothing – Limited Collection, Women’s Clothing – Autograph, Women’s Clothing – per una, Women’s Clothing – Classic, Women’s Clothing – Portfolio, Women’s Clothing – Indigo, Lingerie and Sleepwear, Lingerie – Post Surgery Lingerie, Men’s Clothing – Blue Harbour, Men’s Clothing – Autograph, Men’s Clothing – Collezione, Men’s Clothing – North Coast, Men’s Clothing – Men’s Tailoring & Alterations, Kids – Clothing, Kids – Schoolwear, Food/Wine/Flowers – Bakery, Food/Wine/Flowers – Wine Adviser, Food/Wine/Flowers – Flower Wrapping, Home – Furniture, Home – Made to Order Curtains, Home – Homeware, Home – Fabric Swatches, Home – Made to Order Furniture, Home – Cards and Wrap, Beauty, Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing – Underwear, Babywear, Home – Kitchen, Women’s Clothing – Petite

Services Baby Changing Facilities, Bilingual Staff Available, Carry To Car, Customer Toilets, Leave It To Us – Food Ordering, Gift Cards, Disabled Toilets, Refunds & Exchange (excluding Outlet merchandise), Refunds & Exchange (Outlet merchandise only), Bra Fitting, Changing Rooms – Women’s changing room, Changing Rooms – Men’s changing room, Changing Rooms – Lingerie changing room, Ordering – Clothing Ordering & Collection, Ordering – Flower ordering, Money – M&S credit card validation, Money – Cash machine, Money – VAT back service, Places to Eat – Deli Bar, Places to Eat – Cafe, Places to Eat – Hot Food to Go, M&S Bank, M&S Bank – Bureau de Change

London Department Stores – Selfridges

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Selfridges

Location – 400 Oxford Street, London,W1H 6HB

Selfridges is a large department store on Oxford Street, it is the second largest store in the UK, Harrods being the largest.

Selfridges was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge who was born in 1856 in Wisconsin, in 1879 he started work for Marshall Field and Company a famous Chicago retailer. In a rags to riches story he started as an errand boy before working his way up the ladder, he married into a wealthy Chicago family and amassed a fortune which he used to build his London store.

Using American building methods the store opened in 1909. Harry Selfridge bought over a number of American retail methods and added a few of his own, he is credited for putting the perfume counter at the front of the store which was copied by stores around the world.

He also believed shopping should be fun so used the store to highlight technologies of the day for example Louis Blériot’s monoplane of 1909 was exhibited at Selfridges, and the first public demonstration of television was by John Logie Baird from the first floor of Selfridges from 1 to 27 April 1925.

In the 20s and 30s the roof with its terraced gardens, cafes, a mini golf course was a popular meeting place. After the war these were closed down but have recently been revived.

Up to the Great Depression, Harry Selfridge retail wise could do no wrong, however in the years leading up to the Second World War he began to get in debt, partially attributed to his lavish life style. He was ousted from the Selfridges board in the 1941 and died practically penniless in Putney in 1947.

Selfridges is known for its wide range of luxury goods, numerous designer clothes, a extensive food hall and has a number of restaurants and bars.

General Opening Hours

MONDAY             9.30 – 21.00

TUESDAY             9.30 – 21.00

WEDNESDAY      9.30 – 21.00

THURSDAY         9.30 – 21.00

FRIDAY                9.30 – 21.00

SATURDAY         9.30 – 21.00

SUNDAY             11.30 – 18.15*

London Department Stores – Liberty

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Liberty

Location – Regent Street, London W1B 5AH

Liberty is one of the premier department stores in London known for its luxury goods which feature its floral and graphic prints.

The stores founder Arthur Lasenby Liberty was born in Chesham, he worked for Farmer and Rogers in Regent Street for a decade before starting his own business in 1875. He started with a lease for part of a shop in Regent Street with three staff members. The shop sold ornaments and fabrics from Japan and China and was so successful in its first two years that he acquired lease for the whole shop and over time began to acquire neighbouring properties. At the end of the 19th century the store became one of the most fashionable in London, its exotic fabrics and “Eastern” furnishings and clothes began to appeal to a large buying public. It also became known for supporting the many designers who followed Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau styles. Considering its association with these styles it was unusual that the store was given a mock Tudor make over in 1920. Its unique interior of wooden balconies around central points produces a rather strange shopping experience. Equally strange is that some of the timbers on the exterior are taken from two old sailing ships, the HMS Impregnable (formerly HMS Howe) and HMS Hindustan. Liberty have always balanced contemporary and traditional designs and has worked closely with many leading designers throughout the stores history.

Opening Hours

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 8pm

Sunday: 12 – 6pm

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London Department Stores – Debenhams

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Debenhams

Location – 334-348 Oxford Street, London, W1C 1JG

The origins of Debenhams is a drapers store opened by William Clark in 1778, in 1813 William Debenham became a partner in the firm that was renamed Clark and Debenham.

In 1851 Clement Freebody became a partner so the name changed to Debenham and Freebody, it was not until 1905 that the business became a limited company known as Debenhams Limited.

In the 19th and 20th century the company made many acquisitions including the Knightsbridge retailer Harvey Nichols in 1920.

By 1950,Debenhams was the largest department store group in the UK, owning 84 companies and 110 stores. In 2014 it trades out of 240 stores in 28 countries.

In 2013 Debenhams undertook a £40 million refurbishment of the flagship store in Oxford Street, which included the installation of 180,000 aluminium tiles on the exterior of the building.

Best known for its fashionwear, accessories and homeware. The Oxford Street store has a large cosmetic products floor and three restaurants/cafes.

General Opening Hours

Monday     09:30 to 20:00

Tuesday    09:30 to 20:00

Wednesday  09:30 to 21:00

Thursday   09:30 to 21:00

Friday     09:30 to 21:00

Saturday   09:30 to 21:00

Sunday     12:00 to 18:00

London Department Stores – John Lewis

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John Lewis

Location –  300 Oxford Street London W1A 1EX

John Lewis is a premier department store in Oxford Street, it was on this site that John Lewis in 1864 opened a small drapers shop. The success of the original store led to Lewis buying another store Peter Jones in Sloane Square in 1905.

The continuing success led to John Lewis’s son Spedan carrying out further expansion by extending the Oxford Street store and acquiring other stores around England under the name of the John Lewis Partnership which was founded in 1920.

The Oxford Street store was badly damaged by a bomb in 1940, but trading continued until the building could be rebuilt.

The partnership has built a reputation for quality goods and service, it also has a good reputation regarding staff offering profit sharing and until  1994, John Lewis stores closed on Mondays to allow staff a full two day “weekend”.

The original Oxford Street shop is still flagship branch of the company. A complete refurbishment of the building was completed in late 2007 at a cost of £60 million.

The John Lewis department store has a wide range of goods in many departments, including electrical goods, tableware and a fabrics and haberdashery section. They also do Men’s and Women’s Fashion, fashion accessories, cosmetics and much more.

General Opening hours:

Mon:  9.30am – 8pm

(Bank holidays 10am – 6pm)

Tues:  9.30am – 8pm

Wed:   9.30am – 8pm

Thurs: 9.30am -9pm

Fri:   9.30am – 8pm

Sat:   9.30am – 8pm

Sun:  12noon – 6pm