Building Name

Dobbins Department Store 84-88 Oldham Street Manchester

1937 - 1938
84-88 Oldham Street
Central, Manchester
GMCA, England
Dobbins Limited
T Campion and Sons

DOBBIN'S NEW STORE - Fresh Landmark of City Endeavour

Manchester's central shopping area gradually grows more attractive and imposing year by year. This is the age of the big department store, and Manchester, as the centre of Lancashire, has kept abreast of the times by providing adequate shop windows and fine shops in which to display its goods. People usually get what they deserve, and that is determined by the strength of the demand. The buying public has marched hand in hand with commercial progress and has created the demand for the latest products of industry housed in the most attractive surroundings. In the larger centres of industry, in the larger cities with vast populations of potential buyers like Manchester, many small shops have grown in years to the status of big stores, with departments supplying a great variety of wants.  Manchester has been singularly fortunate in the growth of its main shopping area, and now she is to have a notable addition to the group of big department stores with the opening of Dobbin's handsome new building in Oldham street. It has some remarkable features as shoppers will finnd for themselves when it opens its doors to the public on Thursday. It is one of the few big retail firms under the entire control of two private individuals. Mr and Mrs J. Dobbin are the only two directors, and this new venture is the culmination of a business which began in a small way at Levenshulme twenty years ago.

The new buiding is one at once imposing in design and striking in appearance with its five long horizintal (sic) windows spreading up three floors looking on to Oldham street. It has a street window frontage of 160 feet in Oldham street and continuing some distance round the corner into the side street. But its window display does not end there. Beneath a wide glass and metal canopy over the main entrance is an arcade entrance set back 50 feet from the street frontage, providing an additional and most extensive window display. It offers itself as a Paradise for window gazers who are seeking value for their money. The canopy itself is a feature. By night it is illuminated by neon lighting, while above the canopy amber floodlights aided by a transformer wash the whole of the facade with 1,000 candle power beam. The effect of this exterior illumination when seen from within gives the impression of brilliant sunshine.

The contractors for the shop front are Lycett and Platt Ltd. the well known firm of shop fitters, of Plymouth Grove, Manchester, and the manner in which they have carried out their task is deserving of the highest praise. The entrance to the store proper is by way of seven wide, metal framed, glass swing doors arranged in a central line so that at the peak hours of business there will be ample provision for entrance and egress. Despite the area taken up by the arcade there is an impression of airy spaciousness about the ground floor of the store with its high ceiling and wide avenues between the counters. The serving space provided in the new building is six times as great as that in the old store. This has been made possible by the fact that the two warehouses at the rear of the old premises were acquired and pulled down to make way for this development. Among the departments on the ground floor are gloves, hosiery, neckwear, blouses, knitware, ladies' handbags, umbrellas, flowers and fancy goods. [The Manchester Evening News Tuesday 15 March 1938]

The store was opened by Gert & Daisy ( Doris & Elsie Waters) as part of their promotional tour of Manchester.

Reference    Builder 15 January 1937 Page 189
Reference    Builder 12 March 1937 Page 603
Reference    Builder 7 May 1937 Page 1013
Reference    Manchester Evening News 15 March 1938