ISBN 979-8507910199 RRP £9.99
The Lewis and Hyland firm was one of the best known and revered chain of stores in the southeast of England for 150 years. The founders, George Alexander Lewis and Frederick Hyland, were amongst the many pioneers of the department store alongside the likes of Harrods, Peter Jones and Harding, Howell & Co. They were also great benefactors to the communities and the towns they were in, but their contribution has been largely forgotten.
The book attempts to put this right by chronicling the phenomenal rise, expansion and popularity of the firm which became the leading Kentish drapery house in the Victorian and Edwardian period. They employed thousands of staff, trained hundreds of apprentices and brought prosperity. Unbelievably their landmark stores in Ramsgate and Folkestone rivalled the fashion houses of London and Paris at one point.
The author uses a multitude of sources to piece together the firm’s history from its beginnings in 1834 to when its last store closed its doors in 1986. It brings to life the staff who worked for them, how the firm treated them and why they were successful. It is a unique insight into the life and times of a Victorian retail empire.