London House, Commercial Street, Newport (Mon.). 1893
Source: "The Ports Of The Bristol Channel", 1893
Evans & Allen, London House, Newport (Mon.). - It is now more than half a century ago since this well-known drapery establishment was founded on the present site, and it can fairly claim to be one of the oldest houses in the south-west of England. London House will be long remembered by some of the largest and most successful proprietors in the trade as the training-quarters in which they received a thorough practical knowledge of their business. This establishment was founded by Mr. Davies in 1836, and was continued by him until 1847, when he took into partnership Mr. Benjamin Evans, one of the present partners, and continued it under the style of Davies & Evans. In 1854 Mr. Davies retired, leaving Mr. Evans as sole proprietor. Mr. Evans continued to control the business until 1888, when Mr. Walter Allen joined him, and took over the practical management of the concern. The energy and enterprise thus imported have vastly increased the business, and have necessitated great additions and extensions of the premises. The buildings are situated in one of the best positions in the town, immediately opposite the new Town Hall, and it now comprises three double-fronted shops, with arcade entrances, and having a frontage of ninety-seven feet to Commercial Street, rising to a height of four storeys, the carved stonework and balconies making it one of the structural and ornamental features of Commercial Street. The new premises on the High Street side are a handsome addition and were designed by Messrs. Graham & Hitchcox, and carried out by Mr. Blackburne, of Newport. A staff of over one hundred and fifty hands is employed on the premises, including eighty milliners and dressmakers. For the comfort of the employees the upper floors contain numerous sitting-rooms, and a dining-room capable of seating one hundred and twenty persons, which is utilised in winter for entertainments. Such houses as the one under notice play an important part in the commercial history of a town, and by their enterprise, and the honourable manner in which they are conducted, furnish an example which others would worthily follow. Success in commerce can only be obtained by diligent perseverance, and by working on a sound and honourable basis, and these have in this instance elevated London House to a position universally acknowledged as one of the foremost retail establishments in the district. Mr. Benjamin Evans was formerly intimately connected with the public life of Newport, and held office as mayor in 1874. The managing partner, Sir. Walter Allen, has had a long and extensive experience in the trade, and since his accession to the firm it has made rapid strides in the scope of its operations, and its progress is highly creditable to Mr. Allen, and is a proof of the esteem in which he and his partner are held by a large circle of patrons in Newport and surrounding districts.
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