Army & Navy Stores (United Kingdom)

Army & Navy Stores (United Kingdom)

Military & Navy Shops was a division retailer group in the UK, which originated as a co-operative society for navy officers and their households through the nineteenth century. The society turned a restricted legal responsibility firm within the 1930s and bought numerous impartial malls through the 1950s and 1960s. In 1973 the Military and Navy Shops group was acquired by Home of Fraser. In 2005 the remaining Military & Navy shops (the flagship retailer situated on Victoria Avenue in London and shops in Camberley, and Chichester) have been refurbished and re-branded beneath the Home of Fraser nameplate.[1] Home of Fraser itself was acquired by Icelandic funding firm, Baugur Group, in late 2006, after which by Sports activities Direct on the 10 August 2018.[2]

The Victoria Avenue division retailer, buying and selling as Home of Fraser in 2019, is located within the Metropolis of Westminster, to the south of St. James’s Park. It’s the solely division retailer to commerce within the locality.
Every of its 4 selling-floors holds a broad vary of merchandise together with clothes, equipment and cosmetics, furnishing, family and electrical items.
‘World of Meals’, a brand new meals corridor idea in Home of Fraser shops (launched at Birmingham in 2003), was opened on the Floor Ground to coincide with the shop’s relaunch beneath the ‘Home of Fraser’ title however has since closed.

Historical past[edit]

Military & Navy Co-operative society shareholder’s ticket

Victoria Retailer as Home of Fraser on the best

Victoria retailer as Home of Fraser on the left

The Military & Navy Co-operative Society Ltd. was integrated on 15 September 1871, being fashioned by a bunch of military and navy officers. The goal of the co-operative was to provide items to its members on the lowest remunerative charges, and was primarily based on two earlier fashions – the Civil Service Provide Affiliation and the Civil Service Co-operative Society.[3] The society leased a part of a distillery premises in Victoria Avenue, London which was owned by Vickers & Co, and by February 1872 a retailer for the sale of groceries was opened on the positioning. By 1873, the shop provided stationery, material, fancy items, tailoring, groceries, a chemist and even a weapons division. The shop proved too small for the rising enterprise so the founding members rented a home subsequent to their present warehouse and bought an additional warehouse in Johnson Place.[3]

By 1876, the enterprise had once more outgrown its premises. They leased extra of the distillery from Vickers, closed their warehouse in Johnson Place shifting to a brand new location at Ranelagh Highway in Pimlico. The enterprise was now providing a banking division to its members, and had negotiated an possibility on the positioning as a part of the lease deal at Victoria Avenue. This selection was taken up in 1878, permitting for the acquisition of a part of the Victoria Avenue premises. A refreshments room was added to the shop for its rising buyer base. The shop additionally expanded internationally by opening workplaces in Paris and Leipzig.[3]

The enterprise continued to increase, and in 1881 the society bought the remaining distillery and related buildings. Within the following months departments have been opened overlaying your complete web site. As well as, warehousing was moved to Tooley Avenue in Westminster, with the Pimlico web site now working as a producing centre for tailoring and printing. Printing had been carried out in-house since 1877. Additional workshop area was bought in Johnson Avenue, and workplaces in Howick Place have been transformed into promoting area. By this time the enterprise had added furnishings gross sales and an property company to its operations.[3]

The society continued to develop, so new areas have been added. In 1890 shops have been opened in Plymouth, and Bombay, India, whereas in 1891 an additional retailer was opened in Karachi. This Indian journey continued with shops opening in Calcutta in 1900, whereas shops in New Delhi, Shimla and Ranchi have been opened within the 1930s.[3]

The society nonetheless continued to increase in London, erecting a brand new preserved provisions manufacturing facility in Coburg Highway, and buying extra property alongside Victoria Avenue. The society provided an unlimited illustrated worth checklist which might be ordered by cellphone.

Nonetheless the arrival of the First World Battle noticed commerce undergo badly, however this was supplanted partly by a contract from the Battle Workplace. After the battle, the society was hit by strikes by its employees, nevertheless it continued to develop its Victoria Avenue web site and by 1922 a brand new frontage had been added.[3]

The final surviving member of the unique board, Captain Ernest Lewis, died on three April 1926. He was joint managing director and treasurer till he retired in July 1914 after 43 years with the society.[4][5] One in all his sons was Donald Swain Lewis, senior officer, who died within the Royal Flying Corps in 1916.[6]

In 1934, the society was integrated right into a restricted firm – Military & Navy Shops Ltd. The Military and Navy Shops Restricted ‘Basic Worth checklist 1935-36’ listed showrooms and workplaces at 105 Victoria Avenue, Francis Avenue and Howick Place, Westminster SW1. Depots have been listed in Union Avenue, Plymouth, Devon and in India at Esplanade Highway, Bombay and Chowringhee, Calcutta. There was additionally a furnishings depository and powerful room at Turnham Inexperienced and an public sale room at Greencoat Place SW1.[7]

The enterprise was hit arduous through the Second World Battle with each its websites at Turnham Inexperienced and Portsmouth struggling critical bomb injury, whereas its Plymouth depot was utterly destroyed. Buying and selling difficulties have been additional accentuated after the battle when India gained independence in 1947. The final colonial retailer closed in Bombay in 1952.[3]

With the closure of branches abroad, plans turned to the enlargement of the home enterprise. The acquisition of the primary of numerous provincial malls was made in 1953 with the acquisition of Genge & Co of Dorchester. This was swiftly adopted by the acquisition of William Harvey of Guildford in the identical yr. In 1955, the corporate added J D Morant of Chichester. Additional purchases included Thomas Clarkson of Wolverhampton in 1960, Thomas White & Co of Aldershot in 1961, Burgis & Colbourne of Leamington Spa in 1963 and Parsons & Hart of Andover in 1965. The Bromley shops of Harrison Gibson have been added to the group in 1968. It was not solely acquisitions that cash was being spent on – a brand new retailer was in-built Camberley in 1964 and branded beneath the William Harvey title, whereas the shops in Guildford, Chichester, Dorchester and Wolverhampton got new extensions.[3]

Work on changing the outdated Victoria Avenue retailer started in 1973. The brand new constructing was accomplished in 1977,[1] designed by London architects Elsom Pack & Roberts.[8]

In 1973, Military and Navy Shops was bought by Home of Fraser. The John Barker & Co shops in Kensington and Eastbourne have been built-in with Military & Navy. The group was later prolonged with the addition of the Chiesmans shops, amongst others, to its portfolio.[3]


  • Aldershot, previously Thomas White.
  • Andover, Parsons & Hart; acquired 1965; offered to F W Woolworth & Co. in 1967.[7]
  • Basildon, previously Taylors of Basildon; bought by Home of Fraser in 1979; closed 1994.
  • Bexleyheath, previously Chiesmans[9]
  • Bromley, previously Harrison Gibson; acquired 1968; closed 2004. A part of the positioning is at present occupied by TK Maxx.
  • Camberley, previously Harveys of Camberley; opened by Military & Navy Shops as a satellite tv for pc retailer of William Harvey of Guildford. The shop was renamed Military & Navy in 1974.
  • Chichester, previously J D Morant. The enterprise was based in Southsea, Hampshire and moved to its location reverse Chichester Cathedral in 1942 after its unique premises have been destroyed by enemy bombing.
  • Dorchester, previously Genge & Co. (initially Genge, Dixon & Jameson).
  • Eastbourne, previously Barkers (initially Dale & Kerley); closed 1997 (the constructing was subsequently occupied by T J Hughes between 1999 and 2019).
  • Epsom, opened 1984; renamed Dickins & Jones in 1987.
  • Gravesend, previously Chiesmans (initially Bon Marche).
  • Guildford, previously William Harvey.
  • Hove, previously Chiesmans (beforehand Stuart Norris and initially Driscolls).
  • Ilford, previously Chiesmans (initially Burnes).
  • Kingston-upon-Thames, previously Chiesmans (initially Disguise & Co.).
  • Leamington Spa, previously Burgis & Colbourne; renamed Rackhams in 1976.
  • Lewisham, previously Chiesmans / Chiesman Brothers; closed 1997.
  • Maidstone, previously Chiesmans (initially Denniss Paine & Co.).
  • Maidstone, previously T C Dunning & Son; closed 2005.
  • Newport, Isle of Wight, previously Chiesmans (initially Morris of Newport / Edward Morris & Co.).
  • Rochester, previously Chiesmans (initially Leonards).
  • Southend-on-Sea, previously Chiesmans (beforehand a satellite tv for pc retailer of J R Roberts of Stratford; initially Ravens); closed 1987.
  • St. Albans, previously Greens / W S Inexperienced.
  • Tunbridge Wells, previously Chiesmans (initially Waymarks).
  • Upton Park, previously Chiesmans (beforehand The John Lewis Retailer of Upton Park and initially a satellite tv for pc retailer of John Lewis & Co. of Oxford Avenue).
  • Winchester, previously Chiesmans.
  • Wolverhampton, previously Thomas Clarkson & Sons.


On 13 November 1973, the proposed merger between Boots and Home of Fraser corporations was topic of a written query within the Home of Commons and the next corporations have been listed as subsidiaries of Military & Navy:[10]

  • William Harvey of Guildford Ltd.
  • Harveys of Camberley
  • Military & Navy Shops (Bromley) Ltd.
  • Genge & Firm Ltd.
  • Thomas White & Firm Ltd.
  • J. D. Morant Ltd.
  • Thomas Clarkson & Sons Ltd.
  • Burgis & Colbourne Ltd.
  • Artillery Mansions Ltd.


Exterior hyperlinks[edit]

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