Page 188 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine III

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By 1868, turnover had increased to £1,000 per week, from just £20 in 1853. From the humble beginnings of its foundation in 1849 by Charles Henry Harrod, Harrods is today a famous
landmark in London and the only major department store to have started as a grocer and tea merchant.
Owned by Quatar Holding, to give you some idea of the sheer scale of this globally acclaimed department store, a few facts put things into context: there are 40 lifts in the store covering
50,000 miles per year; 27 are freight lifts and 11 are customer lifts and there are 62 sets of escalators in the store which, if stretched out and laid out end to end, the escalator steps would
stretch approximately ¾ of a mile. In fact, it was in 1898 that Britain’s first escalator or ‘moving staircase’ was installed in Harrods much to the amazement of the public. Attendants
were stationed at the top of the escalator to provide nervous customers with smelling salts or a tot of brandy after their experience of this strange innovation!
Harrods in Knightsbridge is over 150 years old and is the most famous department store in the
world and the third most visited tourist attraction in London. In 1834 Charles Henry Harrod
began trading as a grocer and tea merchant in Cable Street, Stepney, East London. Taking on an
active role in running a small grocer’s shop at 8 Middle Queen’s Buildings in 1849, two assistants
were employed six days a week and so the Harrods legend was born. The Great Exhibition was
held in nearby Hyde Park in 1851 and consequently Knightsbridge gained social status to become
an increasingly sought-after residential area. In 1861 Charles Digby Harrod, Charles Henry’s son,
bought the store from his father and within three years had repaid the debt.