World’s oldest department store re-opens in Derby

Visitors looking to enjoy a spot of seasonal shopping can once again browse the ‘world’s oldest department store’, in the heart of Derby’s historic Cathedral Quarter.

Bennett’s of Derby – which first opened its doors in 1734 – closed in 2019 but was bought out of administration by a local businessman and has since traded successfully as an online store.

Now the 285-year-old department store is back on the high street after an almost two-year gap, initially as a pop-up store – with plans for more branches to come over the next few years.

Branded as Seasons by Bennetts, the shop is on Sadler Gate – just a stone’s throw from its original home, on Irongate, which first opened as an ironmonger in the 18th century.

It quickly grew and expanded into agricultural goods, as well as becoming a Gun & Silver Smiths, and Oil & Colour Merchants.

After George Bennett, a retired Master Mariner, bought the company in 1864, he added sports equipment alongside farming tools, toys, and guns. He also laid out the store like a sailing ship, with wrought iron stairways rising to nautical-style landings, examples of which still exist today.

Over the years the flagship store became a Derby institution, and a trusted name on the high street, and the current owners hope to re-open the original store once extensive restoration works are completed.

Derby’s Cathedral Quarter is a popular destination within the city, thanks to its mix of arcades and hidden entrances, independent retailers, and vibrant café culture.

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