GH Lee and Selfridge Provincial Stores Ltd

Photo:The GH Lee interior from the 1920's

The GH Lee interior from the 1920's

By Jonathan Blatchford

Selfridge buys the business from Oakshott

After the death of Oakshott in 1910, GH Lee continued to expand, but was directionless to a degree. This would change dramatically in 1919, when an American, Gordan Selfridge, stepped forward to buy the business from the Oakshott family.

American swagger

Gordon Selfridge was an American businessmen, who at the time of taking over GH Lee, had been head of the well known store Selfridges of London for ten years. The exclusivities of GH Lee, were abruptly replaced by a whirlwind of American swagger, as Selfridge turned GH Lee into one of his Provincial stores, part of Selfridge Provincial Stores Limited, created in 1926. Public displays of drama, flair and pomposity suddenly became the order of the day.

Selfridge returns to America

With the upcoming threat of the Second World War, Selfridge made the decision to return to the relative safety of America. This led to the discontinuation of the Selfridge Provincial Stores. They were subsequently taken over by the John Lewis Partnership in 1940. At this point, GH Lee was now owned by the Partnership.

This page was added by Jonathan Blatchford on 27/08/2014.