Company name: Dickins, Smith & Stevens
Dates in business: 1827-1856
Type of business: Drapers
Type of company: Limited liability company 1900Locations:
By around 1803, Thomas Dickins and William Smith opened a linen drapery establishment at 54 Oxford Street, London, England, where they adopted a golden lion as their trade sign. Little is known of the business in its early years, but around 1827, Dickins & Smith were joined by a third partner, Joseph Stevens, and thereafter the firm traded as Dickins, Smith & Stevens.
In 1835, Dickins, Smith & Stevens moved into 232 Regent Street, London, the central portion of a symmetrical block built by Samuel Baxter. The imposing facade featured four large columns and the golden lion brought from the Oxford Street premises. By 1835, Dickins, Smith & Stevens had built up an extensive connection based on the sale of quality goods at reasonable prices. During the mid-1840s, Dickins loaned his eldest son, Thomas, a large sum of money to purchase a Manchester silk manufactory, and this family connection may well have been an important factor in the gradual diversification of the store's trade away from its original specialisation in linen drapery. Thomas Dickens, senior, consequently retired from the business, which was already trading as Dickins, Stevens & Dickins, and around this time Charles John, Dickins's second son, joined the firm, living over the showrooms with ten other young shopmen.
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.
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