W Hamilton Beattie, 1893-5; N extension A R Scott, 1903. Massive early Renaissance 6-storey and attic department store with canted 7-storey corner tower, built on ground falling to S; tower culminating in octagon with flying buttresses and oculi. Pink polished sandstone ashlar. All embracing strapwork detailing; paired columns and cornices framing windows, replaced by caryatids at 1st floor of corner (also to flying buttresses). Arcaded ground floor with plate glass shop windows. Ashlar mullions and transoms to 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, mullions at 4th. Arched windows to 5th floor, mostly paired, many set in swan-neck pedimented aedicules. Strapwork balustrading to 1st and 3rd floors, carved aprons to 2nd and 4th, open balustrade to 5th. Total of 6 flagpoles.
S (PRINCES STREET) ELEVATION: 5-bay; pedimented door at centre. 2 left bays slightly advanced with swan-necked pediment supported by consoles and caryatids; dormer to centre bay; right bay part of tower.
E (SOUTH ST DAVID STREET) ELEVATION: largely symmetrical 16-bay; tower to S, and simplified 6-storey version to N. Centre bays united by overlaid aedicules rising through attic, pedimented door at ground; flanking wings with solid projecting parapeted towers at centre which disguise level changes, with aedicules to each floor (strapwork cresting progressively transforming into pediments).
N (ROSE STREET) ELEVATION: 6-bay trabeated facade, stripped of all ornament, except initial bay which blends into corner tower. Channelled pilasters at ground, giant order pilasters to 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th floors, bipartite windows, pedimented dormers. Flying links to W (over entrance to Rose Street Lane South).
Plate glass casement windows to 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors; 12-pane timber sash and case to 4th, plate glass timber sash and case to 5th. Grey slates.
INTERIOR: fire-proof; steel-beams carried on iron columns support floors of 2-3 inch thick Stuart?s Granolithic. Elaborate strapwork timber stair from ground floor at S leads to magnificent 3-storey top-lit Saloon rising full height of building with open timber Queen-post roof and consoled galleries; further strapwork stairs to
1st floor. Remainder of interior mostly upgraded to modern retail use.
Statement of Special Interest
Details from many sources, including, at Charles Jenner's insistence, the Bodleian Library; the caryatids were intended, in Jenner's words, 'to show symbolically that women are the support of the house'. The first shop was opened on the 1st May 1838 by Charles Jenner and Charles Kennington in converted houses on the present site; these burnt down on the night of the 26th November 1892, with the loss of buildings and goods valued at a quarter of a million pounds. The present fireproofed replacement was one of the largest department stores in Britain when it was opened on the 8th March 1895, is one of the last privately owned independent stores left in Britain, and apparently the oldest in the world. Major restoration to stonework, 1995-6. The 6 N bays were added in perfect harmony by Beattie's partner Scott in 1903. Extended to W in 1966 by Tarbolton & Ochterlony, to sympathise with their Mount Royal hotel beyond, of 1955. Single fine Gothic streetlight survives to South St David Street, in form of octagonal column with subsidiary ventilator columns at ground; bracket lamp at top (globe missing).