John Lewis Reading

John Lewis Reading

John Lewis Reading

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John Lewis Reading is a major department store in Reading in the English county of Berkshire. Until 2001, the store was known as Heelas, and that name is still in common usage. The store fronts on to Reading's main pedestrianised shopping street, Broad Street, and backs onto Minster Street and The Oracle shopping centre. The store belongs to the John Lewis Partnership.


Heelas started in Reading with just one small shop at 33 Minster Street. John Heelas, who already had a shop in Wokingham, set up the new business in 1854 with his sons, John and Daniel. They described themselves as 'Linen and Woollen Drapers, Silk Mercers etc..'. Over the years they acquired adjacent properties and by 1877 the business had become a department store.

In 1897 the family firm became a public company, Heelas Sons and Co. Ltd, and in 1890 the House of Heelas was appointed Linen Drapers and House Furnishers to the then Prince of Wales. This warrant was continued on his accession to the throne as King Edward VII.

The shop was rebuilt in 1907 and the Directors were confident that the 'handsome well-arranged buildings would add to the great comfort of the customers'. Both John and Daniel Heelas died in 1910 and their successors, John Heelas Junior and Edward Heelas, inherited a thriving business. Heelas became a major entity in Reading, and in 1937, the John Lewis Partnership entered into takeover discussions with the department store. These did not work out and in 1947 Heelas was...
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