The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Department stores

Debenhams – Nottingham

Nominated by: C20
Have C20 acted upon before? yes
Region: East Midlands
Former names: Griffin and Spalding
Dates from: 1919-27
Built for: Griffin and Spalding
Architect: Bromley and Watkins
Listed: No
Conservation Area: Yes

Debenhams, Nottingham

Credit: mattbuck, Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license)

The department store in Nottingham was built in two stages between 1919 and 1927. It was designed by the local practice Bromley and Watkins for Griffin and Spalding, which was established on the site in 1878. The grand classical, Portland stone-clad store occupies a prominent corner site within the Old Market Square, facing T. Cecil Howitt’s contemporary Grade II* Council House which is located to the east. The store was well reviewed by local newspapers when the first phase was completed in 1921. The Nottingham Journal (29 October 1921) admired the “beautiful new structure of Portland stone”, with its “uncommon bronze framed windows with their attractive panellings of Ancona walnut”, and noted “the decided improvement it [the building] has made to the great Market Square”. The article stated that “the establishment is undoubtedly second to none between London and Manchester”. The adjoining 19th- and 20th-century buildings on Market Street and Long Row were acquired, occupied and rebuilt by Griffin and Spalding as the company grew and expanded over the centuries.

Debenhams ceased trading its physical stores in May 2021. The buildings that formed the Nottingham store became vacant at this time. The future of the early 20th-century store is uncertain. Last update: November 2021.

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