George Binns opened a draper’s shop in Sunderland in 1811. The shop remained a family business, becoming H. Binns, Son & Co. Ltd. in 1897.
By 1921 the shop had expanded into a large department store, supplying a wide range of products except for perishable goods. There was also a tearoom, a post office, telephone rooms and a hairdressing salon. The company also had extensive cabinetmaking and upholstery workrooms and undertook removals.
In 1922 a branch store was established in Darlington and a year later a store was opened in Middlesbrough. The expansion of H. Binns, Son & Co. Ltd. continued throughout the following years with stores opened in West Hartlepool, Hull, Grimsby, South Shields, Newcastle, Carlisle and Dumfries and Edinburgh in Scotland.
In 1934 the name of the company was shortened to Binns Ltd. In 1953, following a bitter takeover battle, Binns Ltd. was acquired by House of Fraser.