Letter: Second to none

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sir: Marek Kohn's review of Judith R. Walkowitz's City of Dreadful Delight (16 December) states that Whiteleys of Bayswater was the first department store. It was, in fact, preceded by some decades by Kendals of Manchester, which was founded by the Watts family of Didsbury.

In 1831, the year of William Whiteley's birth, that family redeveloped its previously rented premises as a purpose-designed 'bazaar' on three storeys, where they advertised themselves as selling 'the most fashionable article in every branch of art of manufacture, at a reasonable rate'. This ancestor of the department store operated on the 'shops within shops' concession common to its modern descendants, and became part of the Harrods Group earlier this century.

Yours faithfully,


Bickley, Kent