HARRODS, BETWEEN LUXURY AND EXTRAVAGANCE
I hope you are ready to enjoy the British summer in London! It is the best season thanks to plenty of festivals and events that take place in the city, but also because you can wander in the streets and enjoy the beautiful weather.
But you know what I love to do the most in summer? Shopping! 🙂 Especially because it’s sales season haha!
One of the best places to shop in London is not quite cheap, but very fancy! But you don’t have to buy, the place alone is worth it! Of course, I’m talking about Harrods 😉
It’s perfect to spoil your friends with gifts, but only the ones who deserve it, because this might cost you a limb!
What exactly is Harrods? It all began with a man named Charles Henry Harrod, who, in 1834, opened a tea shop on Cable Street… As you can see, we are located where all the great success stories started ^.^ As the years passed, the company grew bigger and bigger until reaching the fame that it knows nowadays!
Let’s see together some milestones about its history… The Great Exhibition of 1851 was organised in Hyde Park, so in 1849, Mr Harrods decided to buy a shop located in Brompton Road, in the same area. This year was to be the year Harrods was founded. Back then, the company employed only two commis and one courier… But in 1880 they were already 200 employees!
In December 1883, a fire burned the shop to the ground, but it never discouraged them as the following year, an even bigger and prettier shop was built to replace it!
In 1889, Richard Burbidge, CEO of the company, remodelled the brand image to become what we know today. The company kept growing and reached 2000 employees in 1902 J
In 1985, the Al-Fayed brothers acquired House of Fraser – which had taken over Harrods Ltd a few years before – for a just a trifle: 650 thousand pounds!
In 2010, Qatar Holdings became the new happy owner of Harrods!
But let’s see… Doesn’t the name of Al-Fayed ring a bell? There is a dark side to every successful story… Mohamed Al-Fayed was Dodi Al-Fayed’s father, who was Princess Diana’s fiancé after she divorced Prince Charles. That’s the reason why you can find a memorial dedicated to the two lovers inside Harrods, after they tragically passed away in a car crash in Paris in the late summer of 1997.
Mr Al-Fayed has always been suspicious about the death of his son and daughter-in-law, and following his belief that it wasn’t an accident he decided to take out the Royal Warrants awarded to Harrods. Since Princess Diana’s passing, not one member of the royal family, who award these warrants, has ever bought anything in Harrods…
Well, all of this is very informative, but what makes Harrods such a landmark?
Its motto OMNIA OMNIBUS UBIQUE – Everything, Everywhere, for Everyone – makes me think that you can probably find your happiness there!
Because Harrods is basically 7 floors full of luxury products, restaurants, souvenirs… It’s a shopping centre but you can visit it just like a museum! But it’s free entry, don’t worry 😉
Anyway, the Al-Fayed brothers made this shopping centre a magical place, with some rooms with an Egyptian theme, some others that are more Art Nouveau, all fancy and posh looking – and also the impressive memorial! Harrods is not only a luxury shopping centre, it’s a touristic landmark famous all over the world. The brand also includes Harrods Bank, Harrods Estate, Harrods Aviation… Enough to make your head spin!
What is not to be missed are the enchanting Christmas windows, which are generally installed during the month of November, and the theme changes every year!
So if you want to take a look, the closest tube station is Knightsbridge, on the Piccadilly Line. You can’t miss it, it’s the huge red-brick building!
Anyway, I need to do some summer shopping… So I’ll see you around!
The London Dream Team