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 1968Locations:
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.
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