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Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010
Lewis's closes down the shutters after 154 years

North West Tonight report on closure of Lewis's store

It's stood firm through World Wars, the Great Depression and became a Liverpool landmark, but now the Lewis's name will vanish forever from the city's streets.

Founded by David Lewis, the first Lewis's store opened in Liverpool in 1856.

The original store sold men and boy's clothing, expanding to sell women's clothing in 1864.

The store will shut up shop for the final time in June 2010 to make way for a hotel development.

In pictures: Lewis's hidden fifth floor

The Lewis's stores grew quickly, by the 1870s the business had grown to become a department store, by this time also selling shoes and tobacco.

In 1879 Lewis's opened one of the world's first Christmas Grottos in the Lewis's Bon Marche in Church Street, Liverpool.

The Lewis's Group continue to grow and further stores opened across the country with branches in Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield and Leicester.

Each store covered multiple floors selling a wide range of desirable goods including fashion, jewellery, perfumery and homewares.

During the blitz in WWII the Liverpool store was badly damaged and was rebuilt with the famous 'Liverpool Resurgent' statue by Sir Jacob Epstein taking pride of place above the main entrance.

Lewis's tiled wall
The tiled mural on Lewis's fifth floor inspired by the Festival of Britain

The statue of a naked man was added in 1957 and nicknamed locally as 'Dickie Lewis', it features in the folk song 'In My Liverpool Home'.

The 1950s represents a golden age for Lewis's, remnants of which can still be seen on the Ranelagh Street building's fifth floor.

The floor contains the 1950s self service cafeteria, Red Rose Restaurant and hair salon.

Closed to the public since the early 1980s the area has been left untouched, and is a time capsule of another age.

The cafeteria includes a ceramic tiled wall of household condiments and utensils, alongside vegetables and cutlery.

The 65 metre long mural is Grade II listed and is thought to have been inspired by work at the 1951 Festival of Britain.

An exhibition of photographs of Lewis's fifth floor opens at Liverpool's National Conservation Centre on 26 February, 2010.

In 1991 the Lewis's company went into administration. Several branches were bought by competitor Owen Owen who continued to trade under the Lewis's brand.

Other stores have since been sold off to other operators including Debenhams and Allders.

The Manchester branch is now home to the budget retailer Primark.

The Liverpool store went into liquidation in February 2007 and was sold to Vergo Retail Ltd who continued to trade under the Lewis's name.

On Monday 22 February, 2010 it was announced that Lewis's would close at the end of its lease in June, bringing down the shutters for a final time on a Liverpool shopping legend.




SEE ALSO
Lewis's time capsule fifth floor
22 Feb 10 |  History
Oldest department store to close
22 Feb 10 |  Merseyside
Famous store set for 105m revamp
21 Feb 08 |  Merseyside
Jobs saved as iconic store sold
22 May 07 |  Merseyside
Lewis's bosses call in receivers
28 Feb 07 |  Merseyside

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