Essential Architecture-  London





Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London, England




Victorian Free Classical


terracotta cladding 4.5 acre site and has over 1 million square feet (over 92,000 square metres) of selling space


Harrods is an upmarket department store on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London, England. Apart from the store, the Harrods Group of companies includes Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Casino, Harrods Aviation and Air Harrods.

The store occupies a 4.5 acre site and has over 1 million square feet (over 92,000 square metres) of selling space. The Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique - All Things, For All People, Everywhere. Several of its departments, including the seasonal Christmas department and Food Hall are world famous for the abundance and quality of goods on offer. The nearest tube station to the flagship store is Knightsbridge on the fashionable street of that name, so Harrods called itself "Harrods of Knightsbridge", and effectively expanded Knightsbridge to include itself. Mohamed Al-Fayed who bought the store in 1985 for £615 million is the current Harrods owner.

Harrods began in London's poor East End just before Queen Victoria's reign. In 1835, Charles Henry Harrod, a tea merchant and grocery wholesaler, started his own shop opposite his home in Stepney. Harrod was worried by a cholera epidemic sweeping London and he knew a businessman who wanted to get out of a lease on a grocery shop near Knightsbridge. The shop was moved in 1849 to what was then semi-rural Brompton Road.

As Knightsbridge was built up, Harrods grew with it and several adjoining buildings were taken over by the store.

Mission Statement:

To be the number one department store in the world for luxury branded merchandise maintaining an unprecedented level of retail standards, expertise and profitability.
Through a combination of product, innovation and eccentricity, we aim to provide every customer with a truly unforgettable experience in our quintessentially British environment.
1861 - Harrods undergoes a transformation when it was taken over by Harrod's son, Charles Digby Harrod.
December 6, 1883, fire gutted the shop buildings, giving the family the opportunity to rebuild on a grander scale.
1889 - Charles Digby Harrod retired, Harrods was floated on the London Stock Exchange under the name Harrod's Stores Limited.
1912 - Harrods opened its only foreign branch in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The store was modeled on the Knightsbridge store. It continued to be associated with the parent store until the 1950s when links were severed. It continues to trade under the Harrods name.

Harrods store at night-time, February 20051959 - House of Fraser bought Harrods.
1983 - IRA bomb kills six people.
1985 - The store was bought by the al-Fayed brothers in 1985 for £615 million, since then the selling space has enlarged to include previously staff-only and storage areas in the basement and top floors. He was supposed to sell back to House of Fraser, but did not.[citation needed]
1994 - House of Fraser and Harrods demerged. Harrods remains under ownership of Al-Fayed family whereas House of Fraser is floated on stock exchange.

In the late eighties, Harrods stopped selling fur clothing. Recently it has resumed sale of fur, and currently Harrods is the only department store selling fur in the UK, and subjected to regular anti-fur demonstrations. It is seeking an injunction against the activists, and, as of writing this article, has obtained a temporary injunction allowing only 3 activists within ten metres of the entrances of the store at a time. This explains the yellow chalk line bordering Harrods. The anti - fur activists are urging consumers to boycott Harrods until the store stops selling fur.

Mohamed Al-Fayed
Store owner Mohammad Al-Fayed has had a tempestuous relationship with British authorities through the years. He has never been granted British citizenship despite his efforts over the last 20 years. Most newsworthy are his conspiracy claims against the Royal Family, particularly Prince Phillip, in regards to the death of his son Dodi Al-Fayed and Princess Diana in the Paris Alma Tunnel. There is a memorial to the pair near Harrods' famous Egyptian escalators, and a life-sized statue of the lovers at Door 3.

Royal Warrants
Harrods was the holder of Royal Warrants from

Queen Elizabeth II for Provisions and Household Goods
The Duke of Edinburgh as Outfitters
The Prince of Wales as Outfitters and Saddlers
The Queen Mother for China and Glass
Harrods had held The Duke of Edinburgh's warrant from 1956, but it was rescinded by Prince Phillip on the 21st December 2001 because of a "significant decline in the trading relationship" between the Duke and the store. Speculation suggests that expansive conspiracy claims of Prince Phillip's personal involvement in the death of Al-Fayed's son and Princess Diana led to the warrant's removal.

Al-Fayed then pre-emptively removed all the royal coats of arms prominently displayed by the business, even though other warrants were yet to be withdrawn or expire. None of the royal warrantors had shopped at Harrods since 1997.

Further reading
Chris Bennett and Colin Cameron (2000-02-07). Behind the Scenes at Harrods. Andre Deutsch. ISBN 0-233-99617-6.
Tim Dale (November 1986). Harrods: The Store and the Legend. Pan. ISBN 0-330-29800-3.