Company name: Hugh Lauder & Co Ltd
Dates in business: 1911-1972
Type of business: department store retailers
Type of company: Private limited companyLocations:
In April 1864, Hugh Lauder, in partnership with John Brown, opened his drapery store in King Street, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland. In 1911, the partners decided to form a private limited company; Hugh Lauder & Co Ltd was incorporated on 2 May 1911 with the new board consisting of Hugh Lauder, John Brown and their respective sons Hugh Lauder, junior, and James S M Brown.
One of the first decisions taken by the new board was to install large display windows and electric light in the store. The firm continued to expand and, in 1914, the adjacent premises at 45-49 King Street, Kilmarnock, were acquired. With Hugh Lauder's death in 1916 the board had to be reconstructed. John Brown became chairman and John M Burns was made a director. On John Brown's death in 1922, Hugh Lauder, junior, became chairman of the company.
On 10 February 1923, the store was destroyed by fire causing a damage of over GBP 100,000. Within three weeks trading resumed in Kilmarnock's Agricultural Hall, which was used as temporary headquarters while the store was rebuilt. The new premises were ready for partial occupation in October 1927 and in 1932 a new shop front was installed.
Following Hugh Lauder's death in 1935, James Brown became chairman and John M Brown was made co-director. James Brown died in 1942 and at the end of the 1939-1945 World War the board had to be reconstructed again with John Burns now resuming the role of chairman. The grandsons of John Brown, the company's co-founder, E J Gilbert Brown and G Brown became chairman and board member respectively when John Burns died in 1950.
In 1949, the fashion floor of the store was redesigned to meet modern display standards. In 1954, the company purchased the site of W. & K. Gailey (drapers) at 77 King Street with the view to establishing a new store. However, the site was sold to the Saxone Shoe Co. in 1956 following the death of J.N. Cassels, the director in charge of the redevelopment.
In March 1953, the company acquired Archibald Cook, retailers, Campbeltown, Scotland. Despite refurbishment in 1955, the store's profits fell and the decision to cease trading was taken in early 1956.
A further extension programme of Lauder's Kilmarnock premises was completed in spring 1963, increasing the selling space and the administrative accommodation. The new office area also included cloakrooms, a rest room and a staff canteen.
In 1972, House of Fraser Ltd bought over the company, and the store ceased to trade prior to 2003.
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