Company: John Walsh Ltd

Registration number: 166419

Company name: John Walsh Ltd
Dates in business: 1902-1972

Type of business: department store retailers

Type of company: Private limted company 1902

Type of company: Public company 1920

Type of company: Private limited company 1968

  • Glossop Road, Sheffield, England
  • High Street, Sheffield, England
  • Fargate, Sheffield, England
  • Church Street, Sheffield, England
  • Castle Square, Sheffield, England
  • Pinfold Street, Sheffield, England

Company history

John Walsh Ltd, department store retailers, was founded in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, in 1875 by John Walsh. Initially trading under the names John Walsh, it was incorporated as a private limited company in 1902, following John Walsh's retirement from active management. Five directors of the new company were drawn from the Walsh family; John Walsh became the chairman of the board of directors, while his two sons and two sons-in-law constituted the remainder of the board. In 1920, the company was incorporated as a public limited company, John Walsh Ltd

The company traded in the sale of silks, dresses, millinery, ribbons, laces, flowers, feathers, toys, stationery, patent medicine and other goods as well as maintaining restaurant and writing rooms. The company also made furniture and carried out household removals, and in 1906 a new cabinet factory, warehouse and furniture depository was built in Pinford Street, Sheffield. A residential property was also acquired at Glossop Road, The Mount, Sheffield.

During the 1939-1945 World War, the premises on High Street were destroyed due to an air-raid bombing, and subsequently a temporary war-time store was opened at The Mount. By the end of 1941, the company also operated from its premises at 41-45 Fargate, Sheffield, which had previously been used as assistants' accommodation, and at Church Street, Sheffield.

In 1944, in an attempet to secure a foothold in the furniture manufacturing business, the Pinfold Street factory was made into a separate company, John Walsh Manufacturing Co Ltd . This offshoot company operated until its closure in 1957.

In 1946, Harrods Ltd made an offer for the entire share capital of both John Walsh Ltd and John Walsh Manufacturing Co Ltd. Whilst the company's sales had gradually increased since the conclusion of the war, their premises at The Mount, Fargate and Church Street were inadequate. With the financial resources of Harrods, the way was clear for the construction of a new store on their derelict site on High Street. In 1953, the new store opened to universal acclaim with the temporary premises being sold off over the following three years.

Following the takeover of Harrods by House of Fraser Ltd in 1959, the 1960s saw years of buoyant trade for John Walsh Ltd. Both Harrods and House of Fraser introduced new methods of buying and improved staff benefits. A further alteration of the store was also undertaken to conform with Sheffield's plans for the development of Castle Square. The redeveloped building opened in 1968, with additional selling space and a new subway entrance from Castle Square.

In the same year complete ownership of John Walsh Ltd was transferred to Harrods Ltd, with the company wound up in 1972. The store continued to trade under the Rackhams brand under Harrods Provincial Ltd until its renaming as House of Fraser in 1987 following a 3 year refurbishment programme.

Records held for John Walsh Ltd:

FRAS 1064
Title: Minutes of meetings of board of directors
Date: 1920-1972
FRAS 1065
Title: Minutes of annual general meetings of shareholders
Date: 1920-1968
FRAS 1066
Title: Sales, stock and profit analysis
Date: 1925-1947
FRAS 1067
Title: Private ledger
Date: 1940-1948
FRAS 1068
Title: General ledger
Date: 1940-1948
FRAS 1069
Title: Balance sheet books
Date: 1945-1966
FRAS 1070
Title: Statements of account and balance sheets
Date: 1942-1961
FRAS 1071
Title: Sales journal
Date: 1940-1964
FRAS 1073
Title: Invitation
Date: 1968
FRAS 1074
Title: Customer bill
Date: 1903
FRAS 1075
Title: Parcel label
Date: c1950
FRAS 1076
Title: Stationery samples
Date: c1950
FRAS 1077
Title: Restaurant menus
Date: 1937-1939
FRAS 1078
Title: Sale advertisements
Date: c1970
FRAS 1079
Title: Architectural plans and drawings
Date: 1896-1960
FRAS 1080
Title: Staff guides
Date: c1970
FRAS 1081
Title: Store histories
Date: 1925-1953
FRAS 1082
Title: Catalogues
Date: 1935-1960s
FRAS 1083
Title: Newspaper advertisements
Date: 1925-1968
FRAS 1085
Title: Time capsule
Date: 1896-1960
FRAS 1086
Title: Photographs
Date: 1875-c1960

Related People and Companies:

Corporation name: John Walsh
Dates of connection: 1902
Connection type: John Walsh was incorporated as John Walsh Ltd in 1902.
Corporation name: John Walsh Manufacturing Co Ltd
Dates of connection: 1902
Connection type: John Walsh Ltd established John Walsh Manufacturing Co Ltd in 1944.
Corporation name: Harrods Ltd
Dates of connection: 1920
Connection type: Harrods Ltd bought the entire shareholding in John Walsh Ltd in 1946 and the company was completely sold to Harrods Ltd in 1968.

Access points: Department stores - Retail trade

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