The HOUSE OF FRASER Archive

Company: Binns Ltd H Binns, Son & Co Ltd

Registration number: 52065

Company name: Binns Ltd
Dates in business: 1934-

Earlier name: Company name: H Binns, Son & Co Ltd
Dates in business: 1897-1934

Type of business: department store retailers

Type of company: Limited liability company

Locations:
  • Fawcett Street, Sunderland, England
  • Athenaeum Street, Sunderland, England
  • High Row, Darlington, England
  • Blackwellgate, Darlington, England
  • Middlesbrough, England
  • West Hartlepool, England
  • South Shields, England
  • Borough Road, Sunderland, England
  • Newcastle upon Tyne, England
  • Carlisle, England
  • Dumfries, Scotland
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Hull, England
  • Grimsby, England

Management of company

In 1897, the chairman of the company was Joseph Binns and the director and general manager was John Simpson. The company employed thirty staff. In 1909, a third director, Neil Cameron, was appointed. Cameron had previously been manager of the household furnishings department. In 1918, a fourth director, Harry Bennett, was appointed. Bennett had previously been manager of the outfitting department.

In March 1922, Joseph Binns died and was succeeded as chairman by John Simpson. In about 1949, Simpson's son, John G. Simpson, replaced his father as chairman.

Company history

H Binns, Son & Co Ltd was incorporated in April 1897, to continue the drapery business of H Binns, Son & Co. It had premises at 38 and 39 Fawcett Street, Sunderland, England.

Expansion was rapid. By 1905, additional shops had been leased at 40 and 42 Fawcett Street and 3 Athenaeum Street, Sunderland and, in 1907, all the showrooms were remodelled. In 1910, new premises were acquired at 36 Fawcett Street, where a new man's shop was opened. This was followed by the acquisition of 35 Fawcett Street in 1912 and 33 Fawcett Street in 1913. In 1914, the company acquired McDonald & Co. In 1915, 34 Fawcett Street was extended and altered and, in 1918, 32 Fawcett Street was acquired to accommodate the household departments. Between 1918 and 1920, premises were acquired at 37 Fawcett Street and a number of the existing showrooms were extended. By 1921, the store was trading on both sides of Fawcett Street, supplying goods of all sorts except for perishable goods. It also had lounges, a tearoom, a post office, telephone rooms and a hairdressing salon. The company also had extensive cabinetmaking and upholstery workrooms and undertook removals.

In August 1922, the company acquired Arthur Sanders Ltd, a drapers, of High Row, Darlington, England. Adjoining premises were quickly acquired in High Row and Blackwellgate and the store, trading under the Binns name, was extended and refurbished. In October 1923, the company also acquired Thomas Jones, of Middlesbrough. Again the store was extended and remodelled and began to trade under the Binns name. In January 1925, the Darlington store was destroyed by fire but temporary premises were quickly found and rebuilding began the following year.

Expansion continued with the acquisition, in April 1926, of Gray Peverell & Co Ltd, a clothing and furnishing store in West Hartlepool, England. The store was later renamed and remodelled. This was followed, in July 1927, by the acquisition of Fowler & Brock Ltd, of South Shields, England, together with adjoining property. Later the same year, the company also acquired a substantial site in Borough Road, Sunderland for the erection of a new building, which was opened in 1928. In May 1929, James Coxon & Co Ltd, of Newcastle upon Tyne, was acquired. By the late 1920s the Binns name was well known all over north England and the company was securing furnishing contracts as far afield as Edinburgh and Southampton.

The improvement and extension of all the stores and the acquisition of local warehouse properties continued. In November 1933, Robinson Brothers Ltd, of Carlisle and Dumfries, was acquired and, in May 1934, Robert Maule & Son Ltd, of Edinburgh was acquired. In September 1934, the company changed its name to Binns Ltd.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, several of the company's stores were requisitioned and air-raid shelters were built in the basements. In March 1941, the Dumfries store was destroyed by fire. A few weeks later, most of the Fawcett Street premises in Sunderland were also destroyed, by a heavy bombing raid. In March 1942, the company was dealt another blow when the Middlesbrough store was destroyed by fire. Three months later, a second fire followed destroying all the stock in the Middlesbrough store. Rebuilding of the Sunderland store did not begin until November 1949. The new store, specialising in women's wear with a hairdressing salon and restaurant, opened in March 1953.

In April 1953, Binns Ltd was taken over by House of Fraser Ltd.

In 1954, planning permission was received to build a new store in Middlesbrough. The new building opened in March 1957. Meanwhile, in Sunderland, reconstruction began of the corner of Borough Street and Fawcett Street and the new store, incorporating floors devoted to carpets and furniture as well as china, glass, fabric and electronic equipment departments and a food hall, was completed in October 1962. The fashion building on the other side of Fawcett Street was refurbished at the same time.

In 1972, the Sunderland store received a massive facelift and traded successfully for the next fifteen years. However, by the late 1980s, the store's customer base had diminished , and, in April 1989, the furniture building was vacated and unprofitable departments, such as the food hall, were closed down. Meanwhile many of the company's other stores were trading strongly and, between 1984 and 1986, those at Hull, Darlington and Grimsby were totally refurbished.

Records held for Binns Ltd:

FRAS 169
Title: Memorandum and articles of association
Date: 1897
FRAS 146
Title: Minutes of meetings of board of directors and general meetings of shareholders
Date: 1897-1977
FRAS 147
Title: Annual report and accounts
Date: 1916-1974
FRAS 170
Title: Papers relating to issues of shares
Date: 1920-1938
FRAS 148
Title: Minutes of general meetings of shareholders
Date: 1930-1968
FRAS 171
Title: Notifications of changes of directors and secretary
Date: 1934-1968
FRAS 393
Title: Correspondence and papers relating to purchase of Arthur Sanders Ltd by H Binns, Son & Co Ltd
Date: 1922
FRAS 394
Title: Correspondence between H Binns, Son & Co Ltd and Harrison & Son, clockmakers and goldsmiths
Date: 1922-1930
FRAS 174
Title: Papers relating to purchase of businesses by H Binns, Son & Co Ltd
Date: 1926-1933
FRAS 395
Title: Correspondence relating to purchase of premises of W Sidgwick, of Darlington, by H Binns, Son & Co Ltd
Date: 1931-1934
FRAS 172
Title: Correspondence relating to royal warrants granted to Robert Maule & Son Ltd and Binns Ltd
Date: 1931-1974
FRAS 173
Title: Ministry of Food catering licence for cafe in High Row, Darlington
Date: 1942
FRAS 175
Title: Correspondence and papers relating to takeover of Binns Ltd by House of Fraser Ltd
Date: 1952-1953
FRAS 439
Title: Lease from Pearl Assurance Company Ltd to Binns Ltd of premises in Borough Street, Fawcett Street and John Street, Sunderland
Date: March 1961
FRAS 397
Title: Papers relating to acquisition of Owen Owen store in Doncaster by Binns Ltd
Date: 1975-1976
FRAS 442
Title: Papers relating to transfer of R.H.O. Hills' store in Blackpool to Binns Ltd
Date: 1975-1977
FRAS 1535
Title: Draft head office ledger and journal
Date: 1898-1899
FRAS 1537
Title: Head office journal
Date: 1916-1946
FRAS 177
Title: Head office revenue ledgers
Date: 1916-1954
FRAS 403
Title: Customer invoices
Date: 1923
FRAS 182
Title: Newcastle upon Tyne branch revenue ledgers and journals
Date: 1929-1954
FRAS 191
Title: Darlington branch revenue expenses and capital expenses book
Date: 1935-1950
FRAS 176
Title: Annual accounts
Date: 1940-1952
FRAS 1536
Title: Sunderland branch gross profit statements, stock statement and purchases and sales statement
Date: 1943-1951
FRAS 189
Title: Darlington branch capital ledger
Date: 1946-1954
FRAS 179
Title: West Hartlepool branch capital ledger
Date: 1946-1954
FRAS 181
Title: South Shields branch capital ledger
Date: 1946-1954
FRAS 183
Title: Newcastle upon Tyne branch capital ledger
Date: 1946-1954
FRAS 185
Title: Carlisle branch capital ledger
Date: 1946-1954
FRAS 187
Title: Dumfries branch capital ledger
Date: 1946-1954
FRAS 193
Title: Edinburgh branch capital ledger
Date: 1946-1954
FRAS 190
Title: Middlesbrough branch capital ledger
Date: 1946-1954
FRAS 184
Title: Carlisle branch revenue ledger and journal
Date: 1946-1954
FRAS 186
Title: Dumfries branch revenue ledger and journal
Date: 1946-1954
FRAS 178
Title: West Hartlepool branch revenue ledger and journal
Date: 1948-1954
FRAS 180
Title: South Shields branch revenue ledger and journal
Date: 1949-1954
FRAS 192
Title: Edinburgh branch revenue ledger and journal
Date: 1949-1954
FRAS 188
Title: Darlington branch revenue ledger and journal
Date: 1953-1954
FRAS 418
Title: Photographs of advertisements for Binns
Date: c 1850s-1980s
FRAS 319
Title: Photographs and newspaper cutting of autumn fashion parade at Binns' Darlington branch
Date: c c 1950s
FRAS 411
Title: Extracts from a Sunderland branch product catalogue relating to women's underwear, corsets, hosiery and gloves
Date: 1906
FRAS 419/2-7
Title: Newspaper advertisements for Sunderland branch
Date: 1917-1962
FRAS 433
Title: Poster of Binns' premises in Sunderland, Darlington and Middlesbrough
Date: c 1920s
FRAS 421
Title: Newspaper advertisements for Darlington branch
Date: 1925-1951
FRAS 413
Title: Edinburgh branch catalogue of women's and children's clothes and accessories
Date: Autumn 1936
FRAS 412
Title: Edinburgh branch catalogue of women's summer hats
Date: c late 1930s
FRAS 414
Title: Edinburgh branch sale catalogues
Date: 1937-1967
FRAS 422
Title: Newspaper advertisements for Middlesbrough branch
Date: 1938-1939
FRAS 415
Title: Edinburgh branch Christmas gift catalogues
Date: 1938-1960
FRAS 409
Title: Booklet advertising Binns' hire purchase arrangements
Date: c 1940s
FRAS 410
Title: Booklet advertising furniture and furnishings
Date: c 1940s
FRAS 425
Title: Guides to Binns' Edinburgh branch and the city of Edinburgh
Date: c 1940-1953
FRAS 423
Title: Advertisement in the Sotsman for Dols' flannel
Date: 1942
FRAS 432
Title: Poster of Binns' store fronts
Date: 1953
FRAS 416
Title: Catalogue of gifts with a Scottish theme
Date: c 1953
FRAS 417
Title: Price lists of furniture and furnishings in two show bungalows
Date: c 1950s
FRAS 406
Title: Restaurant menu
Date: c 1950s
FRAS 408
Title: Press releases advertising various promotional events
Date: 1962-1963
FRAS 420
Title: Newspaper advertisement for twin tub washing machine
Date: c 1960s
FRAS 431
Title: Posters advertising Binns' new store in Newcastle upon Tyne
Date: late 1970s
FRAS 407
Title: Wedding dress and veil in original box
Date: 1919
FRAS 400
Title: Photograph of Binns' lady porters
Date: 1917
FRAS 401
Title: Photographs of Binns' sports days
Date: c 1910s
FRAS 435
Title: Photographs of Binns' store fronts, advertisements and delivery vehicles
Date: c 1910s
FRAS 441
Title: Photograph of advertisement for Binns on tram
Date: c 1910s
FRAS 323
Title: Photographs of Binns' Darlington branch destroyed by fire
Date: 1925
FRAS 404
Title: Volume of recipes published by H Binns, Son & Co Ltd
Date: 1927
FRAS 427
Title: Newspaper articles on Binns
Date: c 1920-1976
FRAS 405
Title: Story Book for Schoolboys published by Binns
Date: c 1930s
FRAS 424
Title: Brochure celebrating fifty years of Binns as a limited company
Date: 1947
FRAS 428
Title: Scrapbook of newspaper cuttings about Binns
Date: 1953-1957
FRAS 426
Title: Press releases about Binns' new stores
Date: 1957-1977
FRAS 436
Title: Photograph of front of Binns' store in Carlisle
Date: 1958
FRAS 317
Title: Photograph of window display of Berkertex women's clothes in Binns' Middlesbrough branch
Date: c 1950s
FRAS 318
Title: Photographs of window displays in Binns' Darlington branch
Date: c 1950s and 1970s
FRAS 438
Title: Photographs of interior of Binns' Hartlepool branch
Date: c 1960s
FRAS 322
Title: Photographs of heating and ventilation plant in Binns' Middlesbrough branch
Date: c 1960s
FRAS 321
Title: Photographs of exterior of Binns' Middlesbrough branch
Date: c 1960s, 1975
FRAS 320
Title: Photograph of exterior of Binns' Newcastle upon Tyne branch
Date: 1975
FRAS 437
Title: Photograph of exterior of Binns' store in Sunderland
Date: c 1970s
FRAS 440
Title: Photographs of interior of Binns' Hull branch
Date: c 1970s
FRAS 398
Title: Returns to Ministry of Labour relating to employees' share scheme
Date: 1926-1945
FRAS 402
Title: Staff dinner menus
Date: 1926-1955
FRAS 399
Title: Pension and life assurance scheme rules
Date: 1949
FRAS 392
Title: Plans of proposed workshop for Binns Ltd in Nith Street, Dumfries
Date: c 1930s
FRAS 337
Title: Plan of ground floor of proposed new store on west of Fawcett Street, Sunderland
Date: November 1950
FRAS 396
Title: Papers on construction of Binn's new store in Middlesbrough
Date: 1956-1957
FRAS 336
Title: Valuation of property of Binns Ltd
Date: 1965
FRAS 714/1
Title: Publication entitled Getting to Know The House of Fraser
Date:
Contains an article on the history of Binns and images of the exterior of the Middlesbrough store and departments in the Middlesbrough and Edinburgh stores.
FRAS 434
Title: Papers on Binns family
Date: 20th century

Related People and Companies:

Name: Fraser, Hugh, 1903-1966, 1st Baron Fraser of Allander
Dates of connection: 1953
Connection type: Fraser became chairman of Binns Ltd in 1953.
Name: Gamble, Elson, fl 1937-1972, retailer
Dates of connection: 1953
Connection type: Gamble joined the board of directors of Binns Ltd in 1953.
Name: Keenan, Robert G., d 1961, retailer
Dates of connection: 1953
Connection type: Keenan joined the board of directors of Binns Ltd in 1953.
Corporation name: H Binns, Son & Co
Dates of connection: 1897
Connection type: H Binns, Son amp; Co was incorporated as H Binns, Son amp; Co Ltd in 1897.
Corporation name: Arthur Sanders Ltd
Dates of connection: 1922
Connection type: H Binns, Son & Co Ltd acquired Arthur Sanders Ltd in 1922.
Corporation name: Taylor Tobacconist Ltd
Dates of connection:
Connection type: Taylor Tobacconist Ltd was a subsidiary of Binns Ltd.
Corporation name: Robert Maule & Son Ltd
Dates of connection: 1934
Connection type: Binns Ltd acquired Robert Maule & Son Ltd in 1934.
Corporation name: Nithco Manufacturing Co Ltd
Dates of connection: 1934
Connection type: Binns Ltd established Nithco Manufacturing Co Ltd in 1934.
Corporation name: House of Fraser Ltd
Dates of connection: 1953
Connection type: Binns Ltd was acquired by House of Fraser Ltd in 1953.
Corporation name: Binns (Grimsby) Ltd
Dates of connection: 1970
Connection type: Binns (Grimsby) Ltd was established in 1970.
Corporation name: William Henderson & Sons Ltd
Dates of connection: 1975
Connection type: The William Henderson & Sons store was renamed Binns in 1975.

Access points: Department stores - Drapers - Retail trade

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