A. W. Gamage Ltd.

A. W. Gamage Ltd.

A. W. Gamage Ltd. was a department store at 116-128 Holborn in London.

In 1871 an apprentice draper called Arthur Walter Gamage, together with his partner Frank Spain, decided to set up their own shop. Between them they raised the £88 necessary to lease and refit a small watch repair shop in Holborn. Gamage insisted on selling everything cheaper than anywhere else and gradually crowds began to visit the shop despite its unfashionable location.

In 1881 Gamage bought out his partner Frank Spain and began to expand the premises by buying the small properties that surrounded his shop. By the end of the decade most of the block between Leather Lane and Hatton Garden was in his hands.

Due to the piecemeal expansion, Gamage’s department store ended up as a maze of rooms, steps, passages and ramps which Gamage now called the People’s Popular Emporium. It offered a very wide selection of goods, including haberdashery, furniture, sporting goods, gardening equipment and clothing.

Gamages went on to become the official supplier of uniforms to the Boy Scout movement and continued to expand. A large zoological department and a toy department were joined by a motor department where cars could be purchased and a large department devoted to bicycles and motorcycles. Gamages also had a large mail-order business.

A. W. Gamage Ltd. closed down in 1972. The site of the store is now occupied by W.H.Smiths and the offices above are occupied by French technology specialists Steria.

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