Address: 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL

Website

Time: From 10.00am Mon-Sat, 11.00am Sun

Phone: 0207 730 1234

2000m from Victoria

30m from Knightsbridge

Harrods is the iconic, world famous department store in Knightsbridge, London. It is renowned for quality and is visited by millions of people every year, many of them tourists.

The origins of the store can be traced back to Charles Henry Harrod who ran a drapers store in Southwark in 1824 and a grocery and tea store in Stepney in 1834. With redevelopment in the Knightsbridge area and the Great Exhibition of 1851 coming up, Harrod moved to 8, Middle Queen’s Buildings in 1849. His son Charles Digby Harrod joined the firm soon after and bought it from his father in 1861. The shop then became 105, Brompton Road and started to trade in other products. Business flourished and he soon bought the adjacent properties to expand and build a warehouse. In 1873 the words ‘Harrod’s Store’ appeared and by 1883 it had six departments and 200 staff.

In December that year the store caught fire and burned to the ground, but luckily Harrod was insured. He still felt obliged to meet his obligations for Christmas so traded from nearby Humphrey’s Hall until it was rebuilt. Harrod retired five years later and the store was floated on the stock exchange.

As it moved towards the 20th century, the building had luxury apartments above the ground floor, but in wanting to expand, the store began to occupy these. It installed the world’s first moving staircase in 1898 and gave customers brandy at the top to compose themselves! In 1959 the store was sold to House of Fraser for £37m. It was sold again in 1985 to the Fayed Brothers for £615m, who finally sold to Qatar Holdings in 2010 for £1.5bn.

Today we find a store with 7 floors, over 330 departments, 32 restaurants, a bank and all manner of luxury items in every conceivable commodity. It’s food hall is world famous. The store attracts up to 300,000 customers a day and in 2011 became the only stand alone department store in the world to record over £1bn in sales in a year.

To many visitors to London, Harrods is an essential part of the trip.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.