Wall celebrates Norwich store’s proud history

PUBLISHED: 15:30 30 March 2011

Caroline Jarrold, community affairs adviser, with the new Jarrolds Heritage Wall situated in the Pantry Restaurant, telling the store's history. 

Picture: Denise Bradley

Caroline Jarrold, community affairs adviser, with the new Jarrolds Heritage Wall situated in the Pantry Restaurant, telling the store's history. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant © 2011

After 240 years of trading and seven generations of family ownership Jarrold is one of the most familiar – and historic – business names in East Anglia.

Through the reigns of nine monarchs, two world wars and massive changes in the world of retail, Jarrold has played a key part in the lives of generations of Norfolk families.

And it is that history that has been celebrated as part of a heritage wall installed outside the store’s Pantry restaurant at its Norwich store.

The wall, which was unveiled yesterday, charts every significant step in the company’s development, from its beginnings in the 1700s as a drapers and grocers in Woodbridge, Suffolk, to the present day as a department store in London Street.

Shoppers at the store will now be able to learn about the history of one of the region’s most prominent family-run businesses.

Caroline Jarrold, the company’s community affairs adviser, said the idea for the wall came from the company’s managing director, Peter Mitchell, who thought that it was a history well worth sharing.

She said: “We’ve been doing a lot of work with our archives. We had a huge amount of material but it hadn’t been catalogued.

“Peter Mitchell said it would be really nice to use some of it as part of a heritage wall in store and we thought that was a great idea so we started working on it three to four months ago. The challenge was really to whittle down the material.”

Mr Mitchell said he was delighted to see the project that had been talked about for so long finally unveiled.

He said: “I’m delighted that we’ve finally been able to make the story of the Jarrold business visible for customers.

“We sometimes forget that people travel from all across the UK to visit Norwich and Jarrold is one of the attractions on the Norwich circuit. It’s good to be able to explain our history to people coming into the store.”

The wall, which has been produced by Suffolk-based designer Barry Lowenhoff, details how the Jarrold story began back in 1770 in the grocers and drapers store opened by John Jarrold in Suffolk.

Visitors will be able to learn that Mr Jarrold kept an immaculate book in which he jotted down things that appealed to him – from recipes for Indian pickle to his own “rules to make a good tradesman” which included only speaking as much as necessary to recommend your goods and always observing the rules of decency.

John Jarrold was just 30 when he died, in 1775 from a “raging fever” but had already built up a prosperous business which was later taken over by his son, also called John, in 1794.

The entrepreneurial son diversified the business from retail into farming and then into printing which, following the collapse of farm prices, saw the formation of a printing press in 1815 at Grove Farm at Dallinghoo, Suffolk.

By 1823 busy Norwich provided the ideal place to move the business to and John Jarrold II set up as a bookseller, publisher and printer at 3 Cockery Lane (as London Street was then called), opposite the present premises.

He ran the business with his four sons John James, Samuel, William and Thomas, and in 1840 moved to part of the present site at London Street. Over the next 164 years the company gradually acquired the rest of the current site.

Richard Jarrold, former managing director of retail, described the heritage wall as being “absolutely fascinating”.

He said: “Some of it I knew already and some of it was new to me.

“I think it’s rather nice to have it on the wall and hope it will be interesting to customers as well.”

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