|Headquarters||Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom|
|Number of locations||2|
|Key people||Leonard Edward Rowan Bentall (Chairman 1968-78, President 1978-93)|
Bentalls is an English department store chain with branches in Kingston upon Thames, London, and Bracknell, Berkshire. The well regarded 'county' department store began as a drapery shop, founded by Frank Bentall in 1867. Since 2001 it has been owned by the private Fenwick group.
The principal buildings of the Kingston store were completed in 1935 to a design by architect Maurice Webb (son of Sir Aston Webb) and inspired by Wren's design for Hampton Court. The fine stonework on the facade was the work of Eric Gill. This original facade has been retained as part of the Bentall Centre shopping development, in which the principal Bentalls store is now located. The store previously occupied buildings covering the entire site of the development and between 1935 and 1976 was the UK's largest department store outside central London.
In addition to the Kingston and Bracknell stores, Bentalls once operated branches in Worthing, Ealing, Tunbridge Wells, Chatham, Tonbridge, Lakeside and Bristol. The Bournemouth based Beales group acquired the lease to three of these sites and the Worthing and Tonbridge stores continue to trade under the Beales name.
Kingston is one of the largest retail centres in the south-east and Bentalls itself is popular among many shoppers. In the days approacing Christmas, Bentalls is said to take over £1 million per day.
The Bentall Centre, Kingston upon Thames
History and development
In 1987, construction began on creating a new Bentalls department store and shopping centre. This new development was to include a five level department store and a four level adjoining shopping centre including over 100 retail units.
The development took five years to complete and was built in two phases, allowing the existing department store to trade throughout the development period on a reduced footprint. The first phase, the 'new' department store opened in July 1990. The completed shopping centre was opened in November 1992 by Edward Bentall (descendant of Frank Bentall) and Nick Price from Norwich Union with a floor area of 600,000 sq ft.
Another significant feature of the centre is an escalator which travels from the ground to the second floor. It is the largest single truss escalator in the world with only a top and bottom support.
When opened, a statue of Leonard Bentall by William Reid Dick was placed on the top floor looking down across the whole centre. However when Fenwick bought the department store, they moved it to a secondary location as they believed it affected the sight lines into the store.
On opening, the Bentall Centre was the first shopping centre in the UK to adopt a "no smoking" policy throughout.
Below are just a few of the many stores, For a full updated list visit http://www.bentalls.co.uk/index.html
As of January 2014 ;
Bentalls' 1935 facade inspired by Hampton Court Palace