Harvey Nichols is a nice department store. It has had its up and downs. Depending on how interesting the buying is, it is sometimes somewhere you are guaranteed to see interesting things or is looking a bit like very other department store in London town.
But I like it because it is (and always has been) unashamedly about fashion. The London store always has interesting (if not always beautiful) windows. It is in a lovely 1880’s building on a lovely corner site in Knightsbridge. And it has recently woken up to its own history and is putting together an archive of some sort – better late than never, I say.
I contacted the shop because I wanted to find dates for the little known Bournemouth branch of Harvey Nichols. The one that this paper envelope name checks. I came across a mention in one of my retail history books a while back but could find nothing else. Although Harvey Nichols is spreading it’s reach these days (has been since 1996 when Leeds got a branch) the early expansion to Bournemouth is a bit of a mystery.
The archivist kindly told me: “There was a Harvey Nichols store present in 120-128 Commercial Road, Bournemouth by 1942 (it was not there in 1928). It was still running in 1961 (but not in 1975). We have very little other information about it other than the descriptions that can be found in the street directories, where it is listed as ‘home furnishers, decorators and upholsterers’. We know they also did removals as we have a photo of a Bournemouth removal van.”
So far so obscure. But this paper bag lives on. It looks to be late 1950s, early 1960s to me. Nice paper cut-out patterning. Maybe it is a Christmas envelope. I hope it is.