The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Department stores

House of Fraser (Rackhams), Birmingham

Credit: Mike Sleigh

The C20 Society is seeing increasing numbers of 20th-century department stores coming up for demolition or unsympathetic alteration as more high street shops close in response to changing shopping habits and the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of these store buildings are local landmarks and are monuments to 20th-century commercial life. Located in urban centres, department stores are an important part of the social fabric of cities and towns. They were places where people could meet to browse the shops or drink in the cafes and, as such, are often greatly valued by locals. The C20 Society has launched a campaign to protect 20th-century stores of special architectural and historic interest. As part of this campaign, we are compiling a list of those at risk in the UK. If you know of a 20th-century store that is under threat of closure or change, please check the map below to see if it is already on our radar. If it is not, please do fill out as many of the details below as possible to nominate it for inclusion on our list. If the store is already flagged but the threat needs updating or you are able to enrich its entry, please submit your new information using the online form provided. For any enquiries, please email caseworker@c20society.org.uk. With your help, we hope to identify, monitor and ultimately save these buildings, and encourage owners and developers to see them as assets that can be successfully repurposed.

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