Pryce Pryce-Jones

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Sir
Pryce Pryce-Jones
Pryce Pryce-Jones.gif
Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones
Born (1834-11-16)16 November 1834
Llanllwchaiarn, Wales
Died 11 January 1920(1920-01-11) (aged 85)
Nationality Welsh
Occupation Businessman

Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones (16 October 1834 – 11 January 1920) was a Welsh entrepreneur who was one of the first to succeed in the mail order business.

Life history[edit]

Pryce-Jones was born in Llanllwchaiarn, just outside Newtown, Montgomeryshire.[1] He was apprenticed to a local draper, John Davies, and took over Davies's business in 1856. In the same year he married Eleanor Rowley Morris of Newtown. Pryce-Jones started with his own little shop selling drapery just off Broad Street. Renamed the Royal Welsh Warehouse, the business flourished.[2] Newtown had always had a woollen industry and it was the local Welsh flannel which formed the mainstay of Pryce-Jones' business.

Post Office reforms and the arrival of the railways in Newtown helped turn the small rural concern into a company with customers around the globe. Pryce-Jones was one of the first to sell by mail order on a large scale, dispatching his goods by post and train. It was an ideal way of meeting the needs of customers in isolated rural locations who were either too busy or unable to get into Newtown to shop. It was Britain's first large scale mail order business.[3]

The further expansion of the railways in the years that followed allowed Pryce Jones to take orders from further afield and his business grew rapidly. He built up an impressive list of customers – among them Florence Nightingale as well as Queen Victoria, the Princess of Wales and royal households across Europe. He also began selling Welsh flannel from Newtown to America and even Australia.

Pryce-Jones is credited with the invention of the sleeping bag, patented in 1876 under the name of the Euklisia Rug.[4]

Several times, he was forced to re-locate to bigger premises. In 1879, he built the Royal Welsh Warehouse, a tall red brick building in the centre of Newtown which still stands today and which remained home to a mail order company until 2011, albeit not the original Pryce-Jones company.

By 1880, he had more than 100,000 customers and his success was acknowledged by Queen Victoria in 1887 with a knighthood, when he became Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones. He was also elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament for Montgomery from 1885 to 1886, and from 1892 to 1895. In 1891, Pryce-Jones became the High Sheriff of Montgomeryshire.

Pryce-Jones died in 1920 at the age of 85. The company he had built up over decades was hit badly by the depression of the 1920s and 1930s, being taken over by Lewis's of Liverpool in 1938.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Legacies - Work - Wales - Mid Wales - Pryce-Jones: Pioneer of the Mail Order Industry". BBC. 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-11. 
  3. ^ Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel; Menna, Baines; Lynch, Peredur I., eds. (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. pp. 973–974. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6. 
  4. ^ "BBC Blogs - Wales - The Welshman who invented the world's first sleeping bag". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Frederick Hanbury-Tracy
Member of Parliament for Montgomery
18851886
Succeeded by
Frederick Hanbury-Tracy
Preceded by
Frederick Hanbury-Tracy
Member of Parliament for Montgomery
18921895
Succeeded by
Edward Pryce-Jones