Emerson Bainbridge died in 1892 and control of the business passed to his sons. In 1897 the firm became a private, limited company.
In 1923 Bainbridge & Co. Limited opened a marble-lined food hall, which offered such delicacies as speciality sausages, galantines and haggis. There was also a thriving trade in unusual services such as the production of trade union banners.
In the 1930s the Depression in the North East of England caused business to suffer badly. During The Second World War part of the Bainbridge store was requisitioned. A large air-raid shelter was built and observation turrets on the roof provided lookout posts for air-raid wardens.
At the end of the war, George Bainbridge, who was the great-grandson of Emerson Bainbridge, was eager to revive the business and he set up the "Bainbridge Renaissance" project. However, financial resources were short and by 1952 it had become clear that if the business was to continue to expand, it needed to ally itself with a larger organisation and so an offer from the John Lewis Partnership was accepted. In 1953 Bainbridge formally joined the Partnership.
In 1976 Bainbridges was relocated to a new shopping centre in Eldon Square. In 2002 the Bainbridge name was finally dropped and the store became John Lewis, though many locals continue to call the store by its original name.
By Mark Matlach
Bainbridge's retail operation used commercial overprints into the 1970s; their wholesale division used overprints at least in the early 1950s. If you look closely, you'll notice that the font used on the SG 488 overprint above is different from the one used on the SG 465 overprint at the top of this post.
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