Film ID:
YFA 4851

OPENING OF LEWIS'S, LEEDS

1932

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is one of three films made of the building and opening of the new Lewis's Store in Leeds between 1930 and 1932.  The building was opened to the public on the 17th September, 1932 by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Alderman F.B. Simpson.  The opening ceremony took place in the restaurant, where the chairman of the company, Harold L Cohen, presented a cheque for £500 for Leeds Charities to the Lord Mayor. Over 100,000 people visited the store on that first day.  About half way through the film, after the opening speeches, it has been filmed at a slower speed, and so appears speeded up. 

The film begins showing a sign for ‘Lewis's Yorkshire Store’.  A group of men wearing trilby and bowler hats make their way down the staircase of the store.  They go outside and inspect the display in the windows.  A sign in one of the windows announces ‘Lewis’s Open Tomorrow at 10 am’.  The men are shown around the inside of the store, starting in the Ladies clothes department.  Then the film returns to the men outside inspecting the stockings on display in the window.  They walk around the entire outside of the store, and the other nearby shops can be seen.

The film switches to the opening ceremony the next day, with the Lord Mayor addressing those in attendance.  After this the guests have a walk around the store. [speeded up] Then the store is shown open to customers who crowd the isles.  'Ask Me' girls were on hand to help people find the department they wanted. There were 157 different departments which sold everything from furniture to food. The film focuses on one man, presumably one of the owners or managers, sitting on a bench.  The guests eat in the large dining room, accompanied by a live jazz quartet.  Customers are shown walking around the first floor, and going up the escalators.  This was a new feature to the store and the first escalator to be installed in Leeds.  The film then switches to a room with two long lines of desks divided into individual lighted compartments, presumably for the office staff.  Then back to showing the store after the customers have gone.  The staircase and roof are shown, with a view down onto the street below.