TQ 2779 SE BROMPTON ROAD SW3
249/41/1 Nos. 87-135
Department store (originally built with mansion flats on 4 upper floors), 1901-5, (Brompton Road frontage), architect C. W. Stephens, contractor John Allen and Sons of Kilburn; elevation to Basil Street rebuilt 1929-30, architect Louis D. Blanc; elevation to Hans Crescent part rebuilt 1939, architect John L. Harvey. Pinky-buff terracotta facings by Doultons. Flat roofs and mansard attics with copper sheeting of fish-scale pattern. Plan has a series of cellular spaces, separated by cross walls, with arched openings to create through circulation. In the centre of each unit there were originally light wells, which ran through the upper floor flats, providing natural light to the sales floors. The flats were replaced by additional sales space between 1912 and the early 1930s. Exuberant Baroque style with French Second Empire features, 2 lower storeys with large display windows, 4 storeys above, and attics at corners.
EXTERIOR: Brompton Road elevation has 2:4:3:3:3:4:2 bays. Ground floor windows have large plate-glass panes, first floor subdivided with hardwood mullions and transoms, and Art Nouveau style tracery within shallow segmental arched heads. Cornice bands above ground and first floors. Upper floors have triple light sash windows, some canted or curved outwards. Three storeyed order of giant Ionic pilasters with fluted frieze and cornice. 9 bay centre breaks forward. Fourth floor windows in arched recesses, separated by composite pilasters, with entablature and balustraded parapet. Central three bays have a grand arcade, above which rises a pediment filled with figured relief of Britannia, presented with produce; putti, cornucopiae and swags, and plaque bearing Harrods' motto 'Omnia Omnibus Ubique' ('Everything for everybody, everywhere'). Octagonal dome, with terracotta ribs and facings, pedimented dormers and lunettes, and cupola above. The corners also have octagonal cupolas and elaborate pedimented dormers in the mansard attics, and balustraded parapets at eaves and crown levels.
In Hans Road adjoining entrance No. 1 is former entrance to flats (Hans Mansions) above Brompton Road, 1895, architect C.W. Stephens. Pedimented triple window within broken pediment above 2 storeyed arch with faceted voussoirs flanked by paired Ionic columns. 2 bay facade above with rusticated quoins, paired consoles and swags, and open pediment with serliana at attic level. The succeeding range 1910-12 drops to 4 storeys above basement, rusticated ground floor, arched windows on first floor, second and third floors above cornice band have bow windows flanked by single lights, separated by rusticated pilasters. 4 bay entrance, rusticated ground floor, rusticated arcade first and second floors, 3 light windows separated by curved 3 bay range leads to elaborate entrance, originally to service yard, at base of intended 'Coronation Tower', 1911, architect C. W. Stephens. Original carriageway to delivery yard, 2 storey (now infilled), with Ionic pilaster and column, on plinths, fluted frieze with central date plaque '1911', modillion cornice. 3 bay upper storeys, elaborate coupled windows, upper ones arched, with pilasters with console capitals supporting balcony above. rusticated corners, with small swan-neck pediments below. Top 2 storeys have central 3 bay arcade, with projecting voussoirs, which run as rustication over dividing columns. Top of tower incomplete, and supports large exposed water tank. Range to right of tower links to Basil Street corner, 5 storey, 4 bays, terminating in polygonal turret.
Stephens's original elevation along Basil Street was rebuilt 1929-30, architect Louis D Blanc, Harrods 'in house' architect 1920-35. Doulton's brown terracotta and Hathernware faience facings chosen to harmonise with original building, above black granite-faced ground floor. 15 bays, articulated in threes, 5 storeys. Ground floor has bronze-framed display windows supplied by Frederick Sage Ltd. 4 upper floors with giant pilasters, fluted with composite capitals at major subdivisions, plain with simplified lotus leaf Corinthian capitals between, and also for fluted columns marking entrance bays. Plain frieze with brackets, paired and tripled, supporting simplified cornice with plain parapets above, except over entrance which has palmettes. Triple bronze windows between pilasters, with modelled spandrel panels. Right hand curves into Hans Crescent, 10 bays, rebuilt 1939, architect John L Harvey, following the detailing of Blanc's Basil Street facade. To right continuing towards Brompton Road are earlier ranges, including a 3 bay section, with giant Ionic pilasters, and an attic with a broken pediment framing a pedimented dormer, part of the first phase of rebuilding to Stephens's design in 1894.
INTERIORS: As with the exteriors, change was virtually continuous over the period 1894-1912, and the appointment of the first 'in house' architect, M. Mostyn Brown in 1913, speeded the process, especially as the flats were converted to sales areas.
Safe Deposit, basement, security doors by Ratners of London, with Yale timelocks, security entrance, manager's office, central room with hardwood booths, with obscure-glazed doors, for opening individual boxes, strong rooms lined with deposit boxes (2646 total in 8 different sizes, 13 individual strong rooms, all with original fittings from 1897. Tessellated mosaic flooring with rosettes and scroll pattern. Original paint scheme retained, with stencilled decoration. Barber's Shop, basement, 1930, mirrored and black vitrolite-lined walls, original square light fittings, 22 chairs (renewed) each with basin and lockers. Adjoining is former Gentlemen's Lounge (now the 'Green Man' pub) designed as original waiting room. Elaborate mixed 'Tudorbethan' style carved oak panelling with carved composite pilasters raised on plinths. Moulded ribbed plaster ceiling, with rosette bosses, flower and animal frieze, carved newel to staircase. Fireplace with stone Tudor arch, carved frieze with gryphons, scrolls and strapwork; carved oak surround with bulbous pilasters on plinths, shelf carved with strapwork and masks, triple bay arcaded mantel with carved busts on plinths, carved colonettes and arches, inlaid marquetry floral panels, entablature with strapwork frieze and modillion cornice supported on carved consoles. Gentlemen's Lavatory adjoining has trompe l'oeil cubical patterned marble veneer walls and floors in an abstract pattern, using black limestone, grey Carrara marble, Napoleon tigre marble, Lunel rubane marble, and creamy granular stone. Aluminium leaf ceilings. Outer telephone lobby with three booths with semi-circular headed oak outer doors, with patterned obscured glass panels, and pierced oak screens above. Lavatory has arcaded cubicles, with solid doors, and screens repeating pattern of telephone cubicles. Wash basins with marble surrounds and arcaded recessed mirrors lit by concealed strip light. Main lighting from white glass troughs fitted flush to ceiling.
Entrances 2 and 3 Brompton Road have gilt bronze wall grilles and coved ceilings, c.1928 by Frederick Sage. Entrance 5 from Hans Crescent, east escalator hall, 1939, by John Harvey, anodised aluminium screens and framing, and pendant light fittings original but embellished, escalators renewed. Entrance 7 from Basil Street, 1929-30, architect Louis D. Blanc. Staircase, ground to 4th floor, with travertine marble treads, risers and string, iron stick balusters, panels with modelled palmettes, guilloche band, and brass handrail. First floor half landing has Harrods War Memorial and Roll of Honour on wall-mounted tablets. Escalators added to stairwell in 1986 and decoration embellished with Art-deco reproduction features 1995, designer William Mitchell.
Entrance 10 from Hans Road, 'Roman escalator hall, created 1980-1, architect Frank Allen, within original entrance hall to 'Hans Mansions', the upper floor flats. Walls embellished with reproduction Roman arcading at all levels,designer William Mitchell.
The outstanding pre-1914 survivor is the Ground Floor Meat Hall of 1903, created as part of C. W. Stephen's progressive rebuilding of the store. The hall is lined with Art Nouveau decorative tiling, designer W. J. Neatby, manufacturer Doultons, wall plaques of stylised birds and fish. Hunting scenes, and stylised trees around the original central light well, built over in the 1930s. Ceiling tiling of billet bands with gilt flying peacocks. Walls and beams subdivided by billet bands and yellow bands. Counter fronts, some modified, some reproduction, of Brecchia Sanguini marble, with Carrara marble colonettes. Tea, Coffee and Chocolate Hall (former Bakery) 1903, tiling by Doulton's. Floral frieze, arcaded wall treatments, acanthus dado. Original plaster ceiling (except in infilled light well), with Art Nouveau Rococo mouldings and cartouches with modelled female figures, flower fruit and medallions. In N.W. corner, hardwood stair, 1903, with curved lower flight, moulded handrail, and balustrade of gilded scrollwork. Floral Hall and Charcuterie Traiteur built 1925, architect Louis Blanc, infilling former service yard. Tiled finishes, with decorative column caps, lunettes and wall plaques, supplied by Doulton's, some renewed. Mezzanine created in Charcuterie mid 1990s, when Floral Hall also refurbished by addition of decorative plaster swags to ceiling. Remainder of ground floor includes some surviving ceilings from 1903-4. Room A (now Room of Luxury) has panelled ceiling, with baroque cartouches with 'H' motifs and lion masks. Nearest to Brompton Road front, very elaborate, eclectic decoration, reclining draped females receiving palette from putto, floral motifs, heads and grotesques on ceiling bosses. Room K (Toiletries), original panel with draped reclining female, coving with 'H' cartouche. Most other ceilings replaced, but in Room E/E (Leather goods), portions of original, including cartouches, putti and masks, survives above 1928 refit with shallow segmental plaster vaults. Room G (Designer jewellery) has restrained Art Deco style plasterwork and box light fittings. Basil Street block rebuilt 1929-30 by Louis Blanc has restrained Art Deco plasterwork, acanthus capitals. Room B (Black Perfumery) 1989, architects Walker C N I (New York) with Copeland Novak and Israel, black granite floor, counters and columns facing, with boxed vertical strip lights and vaulted fibrous plaster ceiling. Room F (Egyptian Hall) also below in basement, designer William Mitchell, granite floor, columns clad with reproduction hieroglyphs, glazed lotus capitals with concealed lighting, heavy coved ceiling with lighting concealed behind modelled cornices of stylised lotus leaves.
Room B (Egyptian Escalator Hall and Staircase), 1997, designer William Mitchell, created within the area occupied by a bank of six elevators, installed 1927-8. The most significant of the modern 'concept interiors', with the original elevator door openings at each level retained as feature balconies. Columns have reliefs of Egyptian warriors, and cast glass lotus capitals with concealed lighting. At 5th floor level columns have mask capitals, tops of walls lined with deep relief frieze of procession of warriors and chariots, deep coved ceiling with lotus leaf cornices, and recessed centre with reliefs of lotus leaves, stars and animals on a blank background. Adjacent staircase, basement to fifth floor, 1927-8, open well plan, marble treads and risers, and string, anodised bronze Art-deco balusters (with modern Egyptian embellishments), brass handrail. Georgian Stair, basement to fifth floor, c.1911, irregular dog-leg plan around narrow well, open strings, hardwood newels, capped by urns, moulded handrails, iron scrollwork balustrades, hardwood panelled dado, plaster soffite with coved moulded and modelled scrollwork cornice. Elevators: Lifts 131-136, Hall 0, and 2 lifts adjoining 'Georgian stair', 1927-8 Otis pattern cars refurbished, and also reproduced, original ironwork probably by Frederick Sage Ltd., copper bands and grilles, coved grid cornices and ceiling, inlaid sunburst pattern flooring. Bronze framed sliding doors, with small panes in bronze cames, star patterned plaster architraves around openings.
First Floor: The first floor showrooms formed the original suite of ladies' fashion departments. Elaborate French rococo style plasterwork, with hints of Art Nouveau detailing was installed throughout on ceilings, columns and walls - much of the latter has disappeared, but the following ceilings survive. Room 1/A (Separates), 1903, centre light well infilled 1935, rococo plaster cornices and ceiling outlined by scrollwork surrounds framing allegorical panels, putti, monkeys, sea monsters, peacocks, musical instrument trophies, flowers and luxuriant foliage. Naturalistic palm-leaf capitals survive against display windows at front of room. Rooms 1/F and 1/G c.1904, ceilings less exuberant with moulded bands and cartouches with 'H' initial. Room 1/K, ceiling panels with allegorical figures. Room 1/Z (Dress Salon), facing Hans Road, c.1911, plaster-cased beams with scrollwork friezes, egg and dart cornices, recessed panels with Jacobean style ribs and pendants, and animals.
Room 1/B (International Room) remodelled 1934, with central column with boxed light, and recessed circular ceiling above coved light trough.
Upper floor interiors were largely created in the interwar period as and when the flats were converted to sales space. Fourth Floor: Ladies Lavatories, c.1935 (behind lift hall 131-136), central marble console vanitory unit fitted basins, mirrors and obscured glass uplighter on top. End walls have mirror strips, one with fitted electric clock, side walls divided into individual mirrored make-up booths by figured veneered semi-circular face pilasters, with streamlined louvered ventilation grilles above. Inner room has 10 w.c. cubicles with figured veneered screen and flush doors. Gentlemen's and Ladies Lavatories, off 4/S2, c. 1911, fitted within base of 'Coronation Tower'. Much refurbished, both include elaborate French-style panelled hardwood screens, with panelled oval-headed doors, with some inlaid marquetry decorative features and carved scrollwork, recovered and re-used from former Ladies' Club )1908, dismantled 1980, when West (No. 10) Escalator Hall inserted. 4/Y, Z 'Georgian' Restaurant, 1911, remodelled 1928-9. Walls oak-panelled (now limed), with fluted composite pilasters and pulvinated frieze, with egg and dart cornice. Free-standing columns, with carved putti heads, plaster-cased beams with pulvinated friezes and egg and dart moulding, ceiling margins have elaborate bands, roundels and panels, with modelled flowers and fruit. In Room Y, large Art-deco skylight installed c.1928-9, fishscale tracery and stars in metalwork, blue glass infilling, coved plaster surround with low relief modelled fountains and foliage, and moulded architrave.
HISTORY: In 1853 Charles Henry Harrod, who had begun trading as a grocer in Cable Street, Stepney, occupied a small house and grocery facing Brompton Road. The 'official' foundation date of 1849 is not confirmed by documentation. His son, Charles Digby Harrod began to build up the business from 1860 and diversified adding non-food departments, extending the premises back into Queen's Gardens, which occupied the backland behind Brompton Road. In 1889 Harrods became a limited company and embarked on a scheme to purchase and redevelop the street block back to North Street, later Basil Street. C. W. Stephens was appointed architect in 1894, and began the rebuilding programme, completed in 1912. In 1921, Harrods secured the freehold of the whole site from the Goddard Estate. In 1959, Harrods Ltd. was taken over by House of Fraser, and the group was acquired by Mohammed Al Fayed in 1985, who restored Harrods to private family ownership.
['Survey of London XLI' (1983) pp 17-23, plates 26-30; T. Dale, 'Harrods, a palace in Knightsbridge', 1995; N. Pevsner (ed B. Cherry), 'Buildings of England, London 3: north-west', pp. 539-40]