"A handsome and spacious new establishment"

11 Sep

Mr Craft and his company it appeared had designs to have stores on the main roads into Hull. Starting in the mid 1880s with Beverley Road by 1912 they had one on Witham and one on Anlaby Road and by 1914 would have had one on Hessle Road had not an Archduke and his wife taken a wrong turn in Sarajevo. So anyhow Crafts’ Ltd proudly opened their Hessle Road store in May 1919. The local paper, the Hull Daily Mail, was there and gave it a big write up. We are given a description of this “innovation for Hessle Road” that reads like an architectural review: “As one approaches the new premises, the impression is of an effectively designed building, of lofty proportions, with distinct architectural features. The design suggests a modern business establishment on the lines of the great London stores. The fabric is a Royal Doulton terracotta facade with alternate squares and graceful circular columns. On the ground floor are two large semi-island windows and two large side windows. The building is surmounted with an imposing dome.” I’m guessing this was cut and pasted or whatever was the style in those days from a Crafts’ Ltd press release. The ground floor we are told sold “goods in the carpet line, dress and cotton fabrics, gentlemen’s outfitting goods, boots, etc.. The first floor we are informed “”will be of great interest to the ladies, for here are to be found the most modern underclothing, baby linen, smart blouses and the latest fashionable hats, effectively displayed at prices which appear to be most reasonable.” It ends optimistically: “It is safe to say that Messrs Craft’s new stores… will be quickly appreciated.”…
Maybe the stores were appreciated I don’t know. I can say that today there are no Crafts’ stores in Hull. I can find no reference to what happened to these dreams stores, maybe the downturn in the 20s and 30s was too much, or maybe they spent too much on terracotta columns and imposing domes (which, by the way, seems to have disappeared). The handsome and spacious establishment now sells camping equipment and outdoor clothing: The store website informs us: “You’ll find everything from jackets, fleeces, t-shirts, trousers and shorts, hoodies, base layers (???) and workwear .” Maybe they should get the HDM to do them a write up.
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One Response to “"A handsome and spacious new establishment"”

  1. William Kendall September 12, 2017 at 8:47 pm #

    Weird to think of camping gear in such a building.

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