House of Reeves
The surviving store, seen in 2010
Croydon, London, England120 Church Street
|Key people||The Reeves family|
The company came to widespread public attention in August 2011, when one of its two adjacent buildings was destroyed in an arson attack during the 2011 England riots. Images of the furniture store on fire, with firefighters unable to tackle the blaze because police could not protect them, became symbolic of the violence that spread across the country during several days of rioting and looting.
The furniture store was founded in 1867 as Ye Olde Curiositie Shoppe on Church Street — opposite Croydon Parish Church — by Edwin Reeves, a barrel maker from Sherborne, Dorset. He passed the business to his son, William. The store's name was changed after World War II to E. Reeves Ltd., and was passed to William Jr., then to Maurice Reeves, the company chairman as of 2011. The London business is run by Maurice's sons, Trevor and Graham, and another director, David Barnes. Another of Edwin Reeves' great-great-grandsons is Marc Reeves, former editor of the Birmingham Post.
One of the company's two adjacent stores was razed to the ground by an arson attack on 8 August 2011 during the 2011 England riots. Firefighters arrived too late to save the buildings because police had been unable to guarantee their safety. Time magazine wrote that the destruction of House of Reeves came to symbolize the violence that spread across England during the three days of rioting. Trevor Reeves said that the company, which employs 15 people, would remain in business. A group was set up on the Internet offering donations to help the store rebuild.
Police arrested a 21-year-old man two days after the fire on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life, and later a 15-year-old and another 25-year-old male. On 13 August Gordon Thompson, aged 33, was arrested in Surrey Street after he was recognised from his picture on the front page of the Croydon Advertiser. He was charged on 14 August. He pleaded guilty during his trial in February 2012, and on 11 April was sentenced to eleven and a half years in prison.
- Adams, William Lee (11 August 2011). "The London Riots: How the Community of Croydon Consumed Itself", Time magazine.
- Paton, Graeme (10 August 2011). "London riots: in ashes, a firm that survived two world wars". The Daily Telegraph.
- "About of House of Reeves". The House of Reeves. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
- Reeves, Marc (8 August 2011). "By Marc Reeves on Twitter".
- Jardine, Cassandra (12 August 2011). "Burnt out but not bowed by the mob - Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph.
- For number of employees, see "LIVE UPDATES: Riot fallout hits south London, Croydon". 8 August 2011.
- "Pledge 'RebuildReeves'", PledgeBank, accessed 12 August 2011.
- "Man held over Croydon blaze". ITN.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- "How the Croydon Advertiser helped bring House of Reeves arsonist to justice". This is Croydon today (London: Croydon Advertiser). 2 March 2012. Retrieved 21 May 3013.
- BBC: Riots: Man charged over Reeves Furniture Store fire
- "London riots: Gordon Thompson jailed for Reeves store arson". BBC. 2012-04-11.
- House of Reeves
- Video of attack on House of Reeves, fire starts at 01:40 mins, courtesy of YouTube, accessed 10 August 2011.
- Fire takes hold, from 0:56 mins, courtesy of YouTube, accessed 10 August 2011.
- "Croydon's House of Reeves furniture store demolished", footage of the fire and subsequent demolition, BBC News, 10 August 2011.