AS DEBENHAMS closed their doors for the last time in Fareham and Winchester this week, the Echo looks back at when Southampton had a store.

Celebrations were held during the night, through to the morning when the department store we recently knew as Debenhams was opened in the city.

More than 60 years ago the premises were built on the same site as the old store which fallen victim to Luftwaffe bombs during the Blitz.

A Daily Echo report at the time described the building as being “the most up-to-date departmental store in the South.”

New Forest Post:

The official opening took place on March 10, 1959, and a celebration dinner was held in the store’s Queen’s Restaurant.

The chairman of Debenhams, J Bedford, spoke of the city’s history including links with Alfred the Great, King Canute, Henry II, the Black Prince, Henry V and the Pilgrim Fathers.

“I believe the future of Southampton will be even more glorious than its past,” declared Mr Bedford.

There had been a department store on the site since 1880 when Edwin Jones moved premises from his small shop in East Street.

Although it was purchased by Debenhams in 1928, the store kept the name Edwin Jones until 1973.

The decision was made to not reopen the store when it was closed during the Coronavirus lockdown in 2020.