Company name: Dickins & Jones
Dates in business: 1856-1900
Type of business: Drapers
Type of company: Limited liability company 1900Locations:
In 1803 Thomas Dickins and William Smith opened a linen drapery establishment at 54 Oxford Street, London to be joined in 1827 by Joseph Stevens. By 1835, Dickins, Smith & Stevens, now housed in 232 Regent Street, had built up an extensive connection based on the sale of quality goods at reasonable prices.
In 1856, Thomas Dickins, senior, died, leaving a very large estate. Charles John and Henry Francis, his two younger sons, took over the shop and created Dickins & Jones by assuming John Prichard Jones as a partner. In 1869, the store occupied adjoining premises at 234 Regent Street and, by 1890, 236 Regent Street and 29-31 Argyll Street had also been added. The separate houses were converted into a single, commodious warehouse.
The 1890s proved to be a period of tremendous growth. Traditional linen lines were augmented by the sale of lace, dresses, furs, mantles, wedding trousseaux, mourning apparel, underclothing, gloves, umbrellas and a huge variety of oriental and other giftware. In 1895, an afternoon tea room was opened. The staff numbered around 200, most of whom lived-in at the Argyll Street lodgings. The store, which supplied royalty and the aristocracy at home and abroad, had acquire a remarkable reputation for the quality of its goods and services. Indeed, Dickins & Jones held appointments to the Princess of Wales, the King of Spain, the Queen of the Netherlands and King Louis Philippe of France. The firm also operated one of the largest-mail order businesses in London, circulating catalogues and patterns post-free on application. By 1895, special premises in Argyll Street had been allocated to the growing postal department which also offered free delivery to central and suburban London.
The growth of the business was reflected in sharply rising profits which increased from GBP20,106 in 1894 to GBP63,434 in 1900. In 1900 the firm was incorporated as a limited liability company, Dickins & Jones Ltd , with a share capital of GBP600,000.
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