Jarrold: 250 years of evolution

PUBLISHED: 13:42 06 April 2020

The eye-catching fashions of the 60s in the aptly-named Jarrold boutique

The eye-catching fashions of the 60s in the aptly-named Jarrold boutique


Jarrold is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. Here we take a photographic look at how things have changed inside the iconic Norwich store over the decades


Then: The Eyecatcher Boutique was launched in the 1960s and was Jarrold’s first venture into fashion, after selling predominantly books and stationery. At the time the head of the fashion department, Mrs Whitehouse, said: “After years of being associated with fine printing, publishing, stationery and books, etc, it really is a big surprise for all of us to learn that we are launching into the world of fashion. ‘This fashion lark’ as one of the staff calls it, will bring you a touch of the glamour that emanates from Paris and London.”

Now: The fashion floor is now home to some exclusive brands to Norfolk and has a personal styling and lingerie consultant services, which aim to help you shop easier and smarter.

1920s - one of Jarrold's first efforts at a 'Home' exhibition1920s - one of Jarrold's first efforts at a 'Home' exhibition


Then: The perfumery department used to be as much about essential items, such as toilet rolls, as it was luxury beauty gifts.

Now: The beauty hall is much bigger and is home to many brands exclusive to Norfolk such as Charlotte Tilbury and MAC, as well as other popular beauty products.

1920s toilet roll ad1920s toilet roll ad


Then: The housewares department was one of the first to introduce ‘experiential retail’ with a ‘Home Exhibition’, a programme of demonstrations of the latest gadgets for the home in the 1920s.

Now: The housewares department continues to have regular demos alongside events such as barista masterclasses, with regular collaborations with the deli and wine bar and cookery and foodies’ books from the book department. Jarrold’s home offering also extends to Home on 2 on floor two and over at The Granary on Bedford Street.

1920s restaurant advert1920s restaurant advert


Then: The third floor restaurant was the place to be seen in the 1920s and 1930s. Many readers may remember the fountain that used to be a focal point in the restaurant up until the late 1990s/early 2000s, where children used to drop pennies (and even half penny pieces) into the water.

Now: The Bay seafood restaurant is the latest addition to Jarrold’s food and drink offering. The store now boasts six places to eat and drink and is quickly becoming the place to socialise and enjoy locally-produced food and drink.

Jarrold books department nowJarrold books department now

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Then: The Jarrold book department from the early 1900s was also a library where people could borrow books. By the 1920s the library was a popular and growing facility. This was one of the areas of the store that set the precedent for the ‘retail experience’ of today.

Now: The book department is on the lower ground floor and is a hub for local, popular and classical books. The spirit of the experiential side of the department still remains with regular book signings by local and well-known authors such as Stephen Fry and Nigella Lawson, book events in Benji’s or The Pantry restaurants and the annual Jarrold Literary Lunch with the East Anglian Book Awards held at the top of the terrace at Norwich City Football Club.

1910s photo of the circulating library on floor two1910s photo of the circulating library on floor two

Own a piece of history

Jarrold Emma Bridgewater 250 Mug, £24.95

Celebrate Jarrold’s 250th anniversary with the exclusive Emma Bridgewater mug. This mug represents Jarrold being at heart of Norwich.

Available instore or online jarrold.co.uk

Jarrold 250 Years: A HistoryJarrold 250 Years: A History

Jarrold 250 Years: A History, £20

Discover more from the Jarrold archives in the anniversary book. Spanning seven generations of this family enterprise, the book tells the story from the early days when John Jarrold opened a small shop in Woodbridge, Suffolk, to the thriving 21st century business it is today.

Jarrold Emma Bridgewater 250 Mug, £24.95Jarrold Emma Bridgewater 250 Mug, £24.95

Year of celebrations

Please note: Due to COVID-19, events have been postponed, so keep an eye out for future events.

Jarrold will be celebrating its 250th anniversary with several events throughout the year, here are just some of them:

Jarrold Heritage Exhibition at The Museum of Norwich, from June 2 until October 31: The exhibition will be a showcase of photographs, documents and artefacts that tell some of the many stories of the Jarrold company over the years and is a must-see event for 2020.

Jarrold Ladies Day at Fakenham Races, Sunday May 31: Put on your best attire and join us for Jarrold Ladies Day at Fakenham Racecourse. Enjoy fashion, food and have a flutter, plus there are prizes for the best dressed lady, best-dressed couple and best hat! Get your tickets online at fakenhamracecourse.co.uk

Royal Norfolk Show, Wednesday July 1 and Thursday July 2: Prepare to celebrate Jarrold’s 250th anniversary at the show of the year. Enjoy fashion shows, food and drink plus lots more as Jarrold department store comes to the Norfolk Showground. Details of how to get your Royal Norfolk Show tickets can be found online at royalnorfolkshow.rnaa.org.uk

Keep up to date: Jarrold 250 events will be posted online at jarrold.co.uk/event throughout the year.

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