J R Roberts Stores
In 1888, it is reported that J R Roberts opened the first Christmas grotto in a UK department store. Later their Christmas fairs were known for animated soldiers, sailors and other toy figures. During the early part of the 20th century, the postcard artist Hermann Fleury Jnr fitted out the Christmas display for a fee of £200.
In 1895, Queen Mary Hospital at West Ham opened a new wing and the two main wards were named after J R Roberts who had paid for the furniture.
The business expanded in 1899 when they opened a second store in Nelson Street, Southend-on-Sea, as a subsidiary (Company no. 00338672) of the Stratford branch. They also announced they would stop selling alcohol in their Stratford store as part of the temperance movement. At some time they moved from Nelson Street to 90 High Street, Southend, which had been home to Percy Ravens since 1900.
In 1954, J R Roberts closed their Stratford store and sold it to the London Co-operative Society (who demolished the old buildings and built a new department store between 1957-1962), while the Southend branch was sold to another department store chain, Hide & Co. The store became part of House of Fraser in 1975 and was renamed Chiesmans before becoming Army & Navy. The premises have since been occupied by Dixons / Currys and Morrisons Local.
- "St John's Stratford E15 - Timeline (1866-1881)". Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- 1896 Kelly Trade Directory
- "Victorian values". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- "Automaton - The Newham Story". Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- "Lost_Hospitals_of_London". Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- "Seax - Catalogue: D/BC 1/4/12/1587 Building plan: Addition to Messrs J.R. Roberts and Co.'s shop No. 12 Nelson street Lewis Frederick". Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- Otago Daily times 26/8/1899 page 8
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