Marshall and Snelgrove, 1848-1974, department store
Immediate source of acquisition:
Records were transferred from the Local Studies Collection in April 2001.
Administrative / biographical background:
The origins of the firm can be traced back to 1837 when a Yorkshireman, Mr James Marshall, opened a shop at 11 Vere Street in partnership with a Mr Wilson. Marshall had previously worked as a shop assistant for Burrell, Son and Toby at 10 Vere Street. The partnership subsequently expanded to become Marshall, Wilson and Stinton. On the retirement of Mr Stinton in 1848, John Snelgrove, who had worked as an assistant in the business, became a partner and the firm's name was changed to Marshall and Snelgrove. In 1847 James C Marshall (the eldest son of Mr James Marshall) joined the firm and the business continued to expand, with new premises being taken on the junction of Vere Street and Oxford Street. The new building, which opened in 1851, was known as the Royal British Warehouse. In 1855 James C Marshall married Louisa Stinton (the daughter of the partner who had retired in 1848). In 1871 Mr James Marshall retired from active commercial life (he died on 22 November 1893) and the management of the business devolved to Mr James C Marshall and Mr John Snelgrove (who died in 1903). To enable their customers to shop whilst on holiday branches were opened in fashionable resorts such as Scarborough and Harrogate. Mr James C Marshall was President of the Linen and Woollen Drapers' Institution for nearly forty years until his death in 1925 at the age of ninety-five. The firm continued to remain in family hands and additional branches were opened in Birmingham, Manchester, Southport, Leicester, Leeds, York, Sheffield and Bradford. The Oxford Street premises, having been taken over by Debenhams in 1919, though still trading under the name of Marshall and Snelgrove, were completely rebuilt in 1974 when the name was changed to Debenhams.
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