Records of John Walsh Ltd, department store, Sheffield, England

Author: Compiled by Wiebke Redlich, Archive Assistant (Hub), 18 June 2003
Reference and contact details: GB 248 HF 067
Title: Records of John Walsh Ltd, department store, Sheffield, England
Dates of Creation: 1896-1985
Extent: 0.42 metres
Held at: Glasgow University Archives Service
Name of Creator: John Walsh Ltd (department store retailer: 1902-1959: Sheffield, Yorkshire, England)
Language of Material: English
Level of Description: fonds

Administrative/Biographical History

John Walsh Ltd , department store retailers, was founded in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, in 1875 by John Walsh, and initially traded under the name John Walsh . By 1888, the company had expanded its existing premises at 39 High Street, Sheffield, through the acquisition of a number of short and long term leases on adjacent and neighbouring premises, which were situated on the north and south side of the High Street, Sheffield. In 1902 , the year following John Walsh's retirement from active management, the company was incorporated as a private limited company. Five directors were drawn from the Walsh family; John Walsh became the chairman of the board of directors, while his two sons and two sons-in-law constituted the remainder of the board.

The company traded in the sale of silks, dresses, millinery, ribbons, laces, flowers, feathers, toys, stationery, patent medicine and other goods as well as maintaining restaurant and writing rooms. The company also made furniture and carried out household removals, so that in 1906 a new cabinet factory, warehouse and furniture depository was built in Pinford Street, Sheffield. A residential property was acquired at Glossop Road, The Mount, Sheffield. In 1920 , the company was incorporated as a public limited company, John Walsh Ltd. During the 1939-1945 World War, the premises on High Street were destroyed due to an air-raid bombing, and subsequently a temporary war-time store was opened at The Mount. By the end of 1941, the company resided in premises at 41-45 Fargate, Sheffield, (previously used as assistants' accommodation), and at Church Street, Sheffield. The Pinfold Street factory was made into a separate company, John Walsh Manufacturing Company Ltd , for administrative reasons in 1944 . This offshoot company operated until its closure in 1957 .

A new store was built on the site of the High Street premises in 1953. This was funded through financial resources derived from Harrods Ltd, department store retailers, London, England, who acquired the entire share capital of John Walsh Ltd in 1946. In 1959, John Walsh Ltd came under the control of House of Fraser Ltd , department store retailer, Glasgow, Scotland, when Harrods was taken over by House of Fraser Ltd. From 1987, the store was renamed House of Fraser, Sheffield after it had undergone a 3 year programme of refurbishment costing �2,000,000. In 2003, House of Fraser Ltd operates its Sheffield store from 1 Park Lane, Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Sheffield.

Source: Moss, Michael and Turton, Alison , A Legend of Retailing. House of Fraser , London , 1989

Scope and Content

The House of Fraser collections are in the process of being re-catalogued. Under the new system John Walsh Ltd will be catalogued as HF 67. However, in 2003, the collection is still catalogued as HF 19 and the scope and content below reflects the old catalogue from c1989.

  • Minutes of board meetings 1920-1967
  • Minutes of annual general meetings 1920-1968
  • Analyses of stocks and profits 1925-1947
  • Private ledger 1940-1948
  • Balance sheet books 1945-1966
  • Statements of accounts and balance sheets 1947-1955
  • Daily sales journals 1940-1969
  • Staff records 1899-1973
  • Public relations material 1925-1985
  • Promotional material 1925-1970
  • Architectural plans and drawings 1896-1951
  • Time capsule 1952
  • Photographs 1890s-1970s

System of Arrangement

The arrangement of the material was made by the company's archivist. The material will be re-catalogued in accordance with a function based classification scheme.

Custodial History

The collection has been housed with the House of Fraser Archive at the University of Glasgow since 1979 and is currently listed as HF19. It will be re-listed as HF 67 in the near future.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

On permanent loan from House of Fraser plc

Appraisal, Destruction, Scheduling

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures


None expected

Access Conditions



Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)) and London (NRA 19964)

Related Units of Description

GB 248 HF 1: Records of House of Fraser Ltd

Publication Note

Moss, Michael and Turton, Alison, A Legend of Retailing. House of Fraser, London, 1989

Processing Information

Fonds level description compiled by Wiebke Redlich, Archive Assistant (Hub), 18 June 2003.