Beatties House of Fraser- The Heritage Room
Bit of retail history explored today for the Wolverhampton Heritage Week. I decided to go to an unusual place as I always seem to gravitate towards museums, galleries and archives. Well, in the House of Fraser store, formerly known as Beatties, they have held an exhibition room inside.
This has allowed visitors to explore a century of retail history with archive documents dating back to when the store first opened as well as original objects including the Beatties Rocking Horse and the first Beatties carrier bag.
Beatties was founded in 1877 and had grown from a small family drapery business in Wolverhampton to a department store with an excellent reputation for Customer Service. The Company Policy (known as the Four Corners of Responsibility)stated that the responsibility to the customer was
“To provide the customer with a good range of well chosen, good value merchandise. To offer this to the public in attractive surroundings, backed by pleasant and effective service, and in an atmosphere of complete integrity and responsibility. To demonstrate at all times a genuine desire to please”.
On joining Beatties, each member of staff (known as a “Member”) was presented with a “Members’ Guide” to provide members with information about the company and its policies, the condition of service offered, the facilities available and the rules to be followed. Nice and formal eh?
The rocking horse is gorgeous! I always wanted one when I was little. I took various photographs of some of the archive materials, including old photographs of store window displays.
Here are some window displays from the 1960s, nice and retro!
Wool is where it’s at guys! There were also old photographs of the outside of the building, such as this one which shows the road being widening outside Beatties during the 1900s.
View of Beatties down Victoria Street, beginning of the 20th C (see below).
Here is an advertisement from 1937 too.
I really enjoyed looking around the exhibition, especially as it was presented as a visual timeline. It is interesting to see how a business can change over time and become the store we know and love today. The Heritage Room is such a lovely gem in the Wolverhampton Heritage Week and I hope many people have discovered it over the course of the past few days. It’s not to be missed! Especially if you love nostalgic fashion, photography, and rocking horses!