Fenwick (department store)

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Fenwick Limited
Private company
Industry Retail
Genre Department store
Founded 1882
Founder John James Fenwick
Headquarters Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Number of locations
Key people
Mark Fenwick (Chairman)
Owner Fenwick family
Subsidiaries Bentalls
Williams & Griffin
Website www.fenwick.co.uk

Fenwick is an independent chain of department stores in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1882 by John James Fenwick in Newcastle upon Tyne, and today consists of 11 branches. As of 2012, the chain is still owned by the Fenwick family and the company is chaired by Mark Fenwick. The company is reported to be valued at £452million.[1]


Fenwick store in Market Street, Leicester

The store's founder, John James Fenwick, was born in Richmond, North Yorkshire in 1846.[2] The original store opened in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1882 and sold only mantles, silk goods, dresses, fabrics and trimmings and did not broaden into a department store until John's eldest son Fred Fenwick joined the business in 1890.[3] Fred had trained in retail in Paris and is said to have been inspired by Le Bon Marché, which is regarded as one of the first ever department stores.

Fenwick has since expanded its operations. In 1888 it opened a store in Sunderland, but it closed within the year.[4] In 1891 it opened a branch in Bond Street, London.[5] This store was later doubled in size in 1980.

The company bought the Joseph Johnson store in Leicester in 1962. This store was subsequently rebranded as Fenwick. Fenwick was the anchor department store for the 1976 opening of Brent Cross Shopping Centre in London, which was the first large enclosed shopping centre in the UK.[6]

Outlets in Windsor and York followed in 1980 and 1984 respectively, but offer only a limited range of departments, specialising in clothing, fashion accessories and cosmetic. The Ricemans store in Canterbury was acquired in 1986, and rebranded Fenwick in 2003. The Tunbridge Wells store opened in 1992.

Fenwick acquired in 2001 the Bentalls group of department stores for £70.8 million, with stores in Bracknell, Ealing, Kingston upon Thames, Lakeside, Tonbridge and Worthing.[7] The Lakeside store was closed, and three branches (in Ealing, Tonbridge and Worthing) were subsequently sold to J E Beale, with Fenwick retaining only the stores in Kingston upon Thames and Bracknell. In 2007 Febwick purchased Williams & Griffin, an independent department store, in Colchester, Essex; this continued to trade under the Williams & Griffin name until a 2016 refurbishment, after which it will adopt the Fenwick identity.[8]

Current operations[edit]

Main entrance to the Newcastle store on Northumberland Street.

Fenwick has its headquarters at the original Fenwick department store in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, and currently[when?]operates 11 outlets across England.

Fenwick Newcastle[edit]

The Newcastle store is the original store in the chain. The store has expanded since its launch in 1882 and now consists of several interconnected buildings with entrances onto Northumberland Street, Eldon Square, Monument Metro Station and Blackett Street.

It specialises in a wide range of luxury products. The 2008 Sunday Times Rich List specified that Fenwick Newcastle was the single most profitable branch of any department store chain in the United Kingdom with assets totalling in excess of £330 million.[citation needed] The store is known locally for its extravagant Christmas window display, filled with detailed sets and sophisticated moving figures, which has appeared since 1971. The themes are taken mainly from fairy tales and children's stories. The figures move and are accompanied by music. [9]

Pronunciation of name[edit]

The pronunciation of 'Fenwick' is 'Fennick', with a silent 'w'.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wearmouth, Rachel. "Mike Ashley is North East's richest after £500m boost in fortune". The Chronicle (ncj Media Ltd). Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  2. ^ http://www.richmondshiremuseum.org.uk/exhibits.html
  3. ^ "Fenwick - A history". 
  4. ^ "Victoria County History" (PDF). Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Anne Pimlott Baker, ‘Fenwick family (per. 1882–1979)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 29 April 2011
  6. ^ "Brent Cross History". 
  7. ^ "Fenwick buys Bentalls in £70m deal". This is Money. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  8. ^ The Retail Bulletin, 2016-09-01
  9. ^ Butcher, Joanne (2 November 2011). "Kids flock to Fenwick Christmas window display". The Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Fenwick (department store) at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 54°58′30″N 1°36′46″W / 54.97495°N 1.61283°W / 54.97495; -1.61283