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A Bradford Street Scene 1938 - Photograph by C H Wood

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Busbys' Department Store

Ernest Busby opened his first shop in Kirkgate, Bradford in 1908. Through hard work and opportunism, the business grew to become the city's foremost department store.

The store was moved to the Manningham Lane site featured in the photograph, in 1930. By this time, Ernest was joined in the business by his three sons, Arthur, Gerald and Eric. This explains the famous Busby logo: a leading guardsman followed by three others.  The expansion continued as adjacent properties were acquired. Branches were also opened in Ilkley and Harrogate.

Known as 'The Store with the Friendly Welcome', Busbys' made the claim that it sold everything that any customer could need. Even if an item wasn't in stock, it could be ordered.

The store's popularity gradually declined in the post war era as shopping habits changed. In 1973, Debenhams, who had formed a friendly merger with Busbys' as far back as 1958, finally removed the old name and logo.  The doors closed for good in 1978 and a year later the old Busbys' building was destroyed by fire.

You can discover more about the Busby family and their famous store in 'Busbys' - A Shop Full of Memories' by Michael Callaghan and Colin Neville, available from all Bradford Museums.


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