Pauldens Limited

Pauldens Limited

Pauldens Ltd. was a department store in Manchester and later also in Sheffield.

The business began in the 1860s when William Paulden opened a carpet and soft furnishing shop in Stretford Road. Pauldens was regarded as an innovative retailer; as the shop expanded to become a department store, it became the first to introduce electric lighting, lifts, escalators, and plate glass windows to the shop. There was also a moving picture show in the window, presumably advertising goods and services.

In 1928 Pauldens was taken over by Debenhams although the store continued to trade under the Pauldens name.

Debenhams also established another Pauldens store in Sheffield. The Manchester store was rebuilt in 1930. In 1941 the store had a lucky escape when it received a direct hit from a German bomb which went straight through the lift shaft causing minimal damage.

In 1957 Pauldens was completely renovated, however a fire broke out on the Sunday before it was due to open and the building was completely destroyed. The business was forced to start trading temporarily in an army barracks in Medlock Street.

In 1959 Pauldens transferred its business to the Rylands Building (which also housed the warehouse of Rylands & Co.) in Market Street.

The store was renamed as Debenhams in 1973. The site of the original Pauldens store which had burned to the ground, is today occupied by the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cambridge Hall of Residence.

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