John Barnes & Co. Ltd.

John Barnes & Co. Ltd.

John Barnes & Co. Ltd. was a department store located on Finchley Road in north west London from 1900 until 1981.

John Barnes was one of the six founders who came up with a plan to open a new department store in London in 1898. The founders were all prominent London retailers, with John Barnes being a director at John Barkers. However, before the store could open John Barnes, who had been the chairman of the founders board, died in a shipping accident off the coast of Guernsey in 1899.

In 1900 the remaining founders opened their store on Finchley Road in the name of their former chairman. The department store premises had formerly housed 14 shops and a number of private dwellings, an indication of the sheer size of the new store. No expense was spared in its construction. The shop had a central passenger lift and provided accomodation for 400 members of staff. The store in its first year had a turnover of £125,000 but it was not until 1925 that it started to make a profit.

In 1925 John Barnes was acquired by the newly formed Selfridge Provincial Stores Ltd.

With the purchase major changes were carried out to modernise the business and it became so successful that in 1935 the store was completely rebuilt. The new store was located on three of the eight floors, with 96 flats on the upper five floors in a development known as St. John’s Court.

The collapse of the Selfridge Provincial Stores group in 1940 saw John Barnes become part of John Lewis.

The shop flourished after the Second World War as it was one of the few businesses not affected by German bombing. However the store became more reliant on its Food Hall to stay profitable, and the opening of the Brent Cross shopping centre in nearby Barnet in 1976 further damaged the business.

In January 1981 John Barnes & Co. Ltd. closed down, although in February the same year the store reopened as Waitrose John Barnes on the ground floor and continues to operate from there.

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