Lennards Ltd Foundation and History


My slogan: Footwear, a neglected subject on histories of clothing and fashion.  

Southern Public Benefit Boot company Lennards Brothers LENNARDS and the SOUTHERN SECTOR
Samuel Lennard Born 1851 Leicester having served an apprenticeship with a large local firm, Walker Kempson and Brown rose to the position of factory manager prior to manufacturing in a rented factory in 1876 on his own account in Grafton Street for a yearly rent of £20. Shortly after he moved to larger premises in Junior Street but by 1881 had made a further move into Asylum Street. Branch factories were opened up at Kettering, and Blaby with a large warehouse in Gosling Street.  He had a partner Thomas Wright, together they venture into retailing. Later as Samuel branched out on his own, whilst he  remained totally focused on manufacturing, his brothers began to gradually extend the family business through retailing, something a lot of manufacturers appeared to do; open their own shop(s) to create outlets. Samuel had a distinguished career but generally his talent lay in manufacturing even though he began with his brothers to open several retailing ventures.

The brothers John, Henry, William and Thomas Joseph known as Lennard brothers collectively traded under a variety of trading  names and it was Thomas Joseph who purchased this arm of Lennard Brothers and renamed it Lennards Ltd.

LENNARD BROTHERS was the name Samuel  adopted, to represent his manufacturing interests and retail branches. Thomas Joseph formed partnerships with two of his brothers John & William whilst Henry operated on his own under the title of Public Benefit Boot Company chiefly in Bristol and elsewhere whilst William managed a Branch in Stroud also trading as Public Benefit Boot Company . When Thomas established Lennards Ltd, he acquired all branches trading under varying titles and in 1896 removed to Bristol where he set up a huge Headquarters and manufacturing site. Samuel Lennard of Leicester and Brow Dickinson of Bramley followed similar paths in their lives. Both were Liberals, methodists, Boot manufacturers and became involved in many civic and social duties. Samuel died suddenly in 1901 at age 50. Northampton Mercury September 1901



1879 Lennard brothers traded under the name Peoples Benefit Boot Company. Significantly, the date and the name being so close to the Public Benefit Boot Company trading name and retailing ‘start up’ in Hull; is an early indicator that Franklin and Lennards were co-operating. Henry Lennard was the direct link, he worked with William Franklin in Leeds, and other locations as his partner. They settled it seemed, on a name that would only require a quick name change.l ater his brother Thomas, also travelled to Leeds. 

1879 One of the earliest known branches belonging to Lennard and Wright but trading as Peoples’ Benefit Boot & Shoe Company was number 60 Piccadilly in Hanley Staffordshire. This came to light thanks to a court case involving a woman stealing boots from a peg outside the shop in October 1879.

1882 November the manager of the shop on Low Pavement Chesterfield trading as Peoples Benefit Boot Company prosecuted a man for the theft of boots.

The last known trading under this title was in 1887 when the branch
in Hanley and another in Newcastle Under Lyme trading under the title of Peoples’ Benefit Boot Company filed for bankruptcy. Lennard had formed a partnership with Boot dealer George Blackburn to operate the branch in Hanley. George then formed a separate agreement with John Blatherwick and between them they managed Hanley and another branch they opened in Newcastle under Lyme in 1886. Their separate partnership began in 1885 and ended in 1887 owing to bankruptcy. The pair took 30 shillings per week out of the meagre takings from the shops and kept no records and was unable to account for the large deficit that had accrued.

Public benefit boot and shoe company and public Benefit Boot Stores

Lennards used the franchise method in a big way, it was a popular method of trading amongst Boot companies. Franklin, with his Northern Public Benefit Boot Company, also adopted the franchise idea along with fostering his own branches. Sourcing a town with a ready-made boot shop operating and willing to act on behalf of another concern; may have appeared to be a better prospect than struggling under their own arrangement. Often though it ended abruptly in bankruptcy proceedings whereby both parties lost out as we have seen with the Blackburn/Blatherwick  affair. However,  it did not deter companies from using the practice.

Samuel was able to supply domestic and foreign markets and converted the company to a limited liability Joint stock company. Retailing began to accelerate once Thomas Joseph became involved after 1884 when he returned from a spell in Leeds; working for Franklin and where he made many friends amongst the Methodists and liberals there developing an interest in politics. In this respect he was destined to follow his older brother Sam into politics in later life. He initially formed partnerships with two of his brothers John & William. Henry, as mentioned, appeared to work independently for some time working very much in the style of his former partner Franklin in Hull until the formation of Lennards Ltd.

Margin Images 1-13 click on images for enhanced view 

Fig 1. Horfield & Bishopston  Bristol 1916. Widely used slogan ‘World Famed image @ British Library Board

Fig 2. Western Morning News 1925  Wil-Win range image @ British Library Board

Fig 3 Wil-Win’ mark Banbury Guardian 1923 image @ British Library Board

Fig 4. Illustrated London Tatler 1925 Footwear with Dri-Ped soles part of a combined ad. promoted by various companies. Illustrated London News Group

Fig 5. Tatler 1924 Dri-Ped  Illustrated London News Group

Fig 6. Illustrated London News Group  1925 available at all good shoe shops

Fig 7. Western Daily Press 1933 Norvic image @ Trinity Mirror 

Fig 8. Hull D. Mail 1935 artist drawn ad for repair of footwear image @ British Library Board 

Fig 9. Bedfordshire 1933 Lennards are agents for Norvic and Mascot image @ Johnston Press PLC

Fig 10. Bedfordshire 1934 Female range ‘Mascot’ image@ Johnston Press PLC

Fig 11. Daily Herald 1935 Full Page Spread image@ Trinity Mirror

Fig 12. Exeter & Plymouth 1934 Male range ‘Mascot’  Image @ Trinity Mirror

PUBLIC BENEFIT BOOT COMPANY BRANCHES OF THE SOUTHERN SECTOR opened by Lennard Bros and in Bristol led BY Henry Lennard. Clifton & Redland Free Press. Images @ British Library Board

37-38 High Street Bristol

30 Stokes Croft Bristol







On ending his agreement with William made his way to Bristol.
BRISTOL This ancient city with a history of trading across the world became the Headquarters of the Southern Public Benefit Boot Company at the turn of the twentieth century. The very first Branch may have been  7 High Street Public Benefit Boot Company occupied originally by a Mr. Franklin in 1878. Mr Franklin Is donating a pair of boots in a shooting competition in 1882.
Old Newspaper reports from Bristol Mercury for 1896 claims the Company by Lennard of Leicester began retailing at 38 High Street in a four-storey building situated next to “Market Gate,” a very prominent position. They also took over number 37 and expanded the operations. The medieval arrangement still in existence at the time of Public Benefit occupation down the High street consisting of four main thoroughfares, including High Street, Wine Street, Corn Street & Broad Street which all met at a crossroads in the middle of which stood a medieval High Cross. St Nicholas Gate stood at the bottom of High Street and was one of the entrances to the town. The gate has long since gone but the impressive spired structure still stands.

1878 on 16th April & 25th December 1879 Greenock Advertiser a Mr C M Percy proclaimed at his establishment 38 Hamilton Street Greenock famed Boot Depot the return of the annual time honoured and genuine Public Benefit Boot company once a year sale of Boots, Shoes and slippers. The company adopted this strategy in the Channel Islands also.

1880 KINGS LYNN: A Franchise. Here the firm opened two shops more or less at the same time in 1880/1 according to the 1881 census; the first at 4, North Street under the management of Alfred Smith and the other at 136-137 Norfolk Street.

The first branch in North Street was opened to attract custom from the developing docklands and the railway. Smith born in Leicester had two sons Frederick and Walter Henry who both worked as boot salesmen helping their father; Frederick at North Street and the premises at Norfolk Street assisted by Walter Henry. Interestingly Walter went on to become a boot factor from the public Benefit Boot company premises at 359 Cleethorpes Road Grimsby, which hints at the fact that opportunities and vacancies could be made available, in both sectors, for which anyone could apply. Smith, indications are he held the two locations under, ‘arrangement’ with the Lennard Brothers.

Norfolk Street premises were situated between High Street and Broad Street to take advantage of trade using the main thoroughfare of High Street. it was also, located within a short distance from ‘Tuesday Market’ with its distinctive Corn Exchange. The Market has a wide-open space enclosed by Regency and other fine buildings. Kings Lynn like Hull is a Hanseatic seaport, a Market Town and began to expand in the 19th c.

1880 Franchise January in the Weston mercury Proprietors E. Wilcox & Co; are claiming to be The Public Benefit Boot warehouse corner of high Street & Holyrood Street Chard and Regent Street and Meadow Street Weston super Mare.

1880 Bristol: Public Benefit boot are advertising for workers for a factory ST. JAMES SQUARE, described as:’ Through the Red Gates by the Mission and school rooms. The Bristol factory was still operating in 1882, and I strongly suspect American and foreign footwear was also sold in large quantities from the premises which would have incorporated a warehouse.

1880 CHELTENHAM: The company branch at 380 High Street can be dated from around 1880 in this Spa town that was and still is the most complete Regency town in England. High Street has been the main thoroughfare throughout its history. Along it stood the timber-framed houses of the market town, which were gradually rebuilt or refronted as Cheltenham grew and prospered. It has always been the commercial heart of the town.

1880-onwards LEICESTER: A branch was advertised as 15 Belgrave Gate in 1885 also a major branch at Cheapside occupying a corner position opposite a major Landmark a huge clock tower. The Haymarket tower was sited at a junction to five busy and important roads and close to where markets were held. The five major streets (Gallowtree Gate, Humberstone Gate, Belgrave Gate, Church Gate and Eastgates) meet, and also close by to the junction with Cheapside. image Clifford Franklin

1881-2 Cambridge: The earliest verifiable record on a branch in the University and market town came to us via a court case reported 1882 in the local press. The manager at the time was THOMAS WRIGHT, Samuel Lennards partner We know the shop was close to Sidney Street because of another newspaper report of 1884.

1881  another franchise has been set up using a company called Pitcher and Son boot manufacturers of 85 Winchcomb Street Cheltenham and was advertising as Public Benefit Boot & Shoe supply stores. Again, this would have been a Lennard Brothers arrangement

1881 MONMOUTH: From 1881 Lennards operated a couple of branches here at 8 & 12 Monnow Street, Benjamin Yeates a locally born man managed the two boot shops under an arrangement with Lennards. His wife Fanny managed one of the premises and following his death January 1890 aged 56, his widow and children carried on the business. Monnow Street ran from Monnow Bridge a medieval three-arched structure with a gatehouse right up to Agincourt Square previously known as the Market Place. Within the market place is an 18th century Shire Hall an impressive building with six arches. Research also reveals deeds belonging to 14 Monnow Street being in the possession of Benjamin Yeates and combined with number 12 the shops would have provided an imposing sight, attracting a large footfall as the location is very close to the market place. Number 12 is on the corner of St John Street and a huge spired church can be seen at the head of Monnow Street, all in all another good example of the firm seeking the right location.

1882 LONDON The first London branch, was opened as far as can be ascertained at 294 Regent Street West 1885, gaps in sources such as Trade directories make it difficult to pinpoint with any real accuracy. An old Hull (Whites’) directory lists London as one of the places where the company has established a branch in 1882 but the whereabouts remains a mystery. Thomas Joseph Lennard himself did confirm though, in the International Exhibition in Melbourne,  a gold medal was awarded in 1887,  and, during the British Empire exhibition at Wembley his flagship London Branch, 294 Regent Street was represented throughout. Western Daily Press February 1926

1885 STRATFORD ON AVON: Here the shop was at 2 High Street around 1885 close to the corner of Bridge Street, the proprietor was Stephen Hilton.

1885  STROUD: Important ‘cloth’ town in Gloucestershire nestling amongst the Cotswold’s where numerous Woollen mills operated and where the company opened a branch at 50 High Street. Proprietors were Lennard Brothers but traded under the common name Public Benefit Boot. William Lennard was the manager for a number of years,  he remained responsible for the branch along with a similar one at Gloucester opened much later. Information gleaned from Kelly’s 1885 for Stroud. In this year, also a successful application was submitted for a sign to project nine feet from the front of the shop made up of revolving letters. The sign could not extend beyond the pavement.

1885 Sale of boots by the company under the franchise of Blaire’s Public Benefit Boot & Shoe stores at Woodside and Auchmill

1885 Public Benefit Boot & Shoe Company 58 Hannah Street Porth auctioning off stock fixtures and fittings of a small factory. Reason for sale the company having taken a wholesale business in London (this included a factory)

MUTUAL BOOT STORES  MOTTO: Lets pull together

The following title Lennards operated under was Mutual Boot Stores utilising a trademark depicting a boat on the high seas with crossed oars. The message was simple ‘Let’s pull together’ the trademark was registered on 29th April 1894.  Leeds library Patents and trademarks register

1892 and a petition to obtain collective agreement for all boot companies and shops in Portsmouth to restrict opening hours was underway and duly signed Mutual boot stores was one such company. Three years later in 1895 a branch in Bridge Street Southampton prosecuted a felon for the theft of boots.

Why the different trading names we ask? The answer lies in the firm
of Freeman, Hardy & Willis a long-established boot firm recognising that Lennards and the Public Benefit Boot Company was posing a threat to their operations. F.H.& W. decided to pressure and force the companies into bankruptcy. The threat was realised by Lennards, when they opened a branch in Briton ferry Wales in and around 1891 (according to the trade directories) at the Neath Road. Managed by a Mrs Rowland’s.


Freeman Hardy & W. purchased a registered company by the name of Mutual Benefit Boot Company with a limited number of branches and immediately opened branches operating in Haverford West and Tenby under the new name. It was registered in 1890 and an ad at the company headquarters in Pershore Street Birmingham in the same month wants
a manager for the Tenby branch. The new company did not last long it was wound up in 1891 and the real target and purpose of this act was to apply pressure to George Franklin in Derby advertising his branch as ‘Big Boot’

Freeman’s’ answer was to open a branch close to the Public Benefit Boot Company and called their branch ‘The Spot’
Part of the advert warned ’Be careful to find the right spot’ Both Public Benefit and Mutual Benefit advertised frequently each trying to outdo the other in a bid to ‘up the Ante’. Mutual Benefit announced in their adverts they had branches at BIRMINGHAM, LEICESTER, NOTTINGHAM, WREXHAM, PONTYPOOL, TENBY ETC.

Gas lighting was fitted to the London road Branch of the Mutual Benefit Boot shop claiming to be the best lit in Derby. Intense competition and yet it lasted in reality just over 16 months when Freeman’s’ pulled out.


One final twist to this story of heated rivalry was another company purchased by Freeman Hardy & Willis called the PEOPLES’ BENEFIT BOOT STORES was registered as trading from Winchester House, 1, Welford Road Leicester. Both companies purchased by Freeman’s’ were a stone throw from Lennards H.Q on Welford Road and Public Benefit H.Q. at Birmingham.


Another similar trading name gave cause for concern at one time borne out by an advert placed in the Western News by Lennard Brothers in 1884 following a court case involving a William Beer accused of assaulting his wife. Beer traded as: BRISTOL BENEFIT BOOT & SHOE COMPANY. He controlled three branches, one near the Bristol Bridge, one in White Ladies Road, one in Hotwell Road.

Lennards were also concerned, owing to the similarity in trading names people were beginning to think Beer was part of the Public Benefit Boot Company in the High Street; keen to distance themselves from him and his company they placed the ad.

Lennards in the South and Franklin and associates in the North were continuing their advances. By 1885 both companies had erected large main branches, ‘better than anything London can produce’ was the proud boast. Generally, they had 6-8 Huge windows, anywhere from 6-10 feet high, lit up by illuminating lamps which in turn portrayed the company trademark 31545; the ‘Man in the Boot’ registered by Henry Lennard from Bristol in 1883. All branches of Public Benefit Boot Company North and South became affectionately known as ‘Big Boot shops’. Everywhere on the facias particularly, the name was emblazoned large and prominent and quite apart from the ‘extra’, signage in the shape of large boards hung at a height of 7’6 inches. Careful to obey the local by-laws of not protruding beyond the pavement, both companies would also install extra corner lighting. The trademark was exploited to the fullest limits, even on sides of walls, would appear the ‘Man in the Boot’. Slogans provided additional advertising, ‘King of Boot shops’ appeared, on the top of their buildings, along with ‘Great boot providers for the people’. True in so many respects this company had invaded the ‘boot trade’, took on the big boys, and fulfilled their pledge to have representation from all ends of the United Kingdom.

Advertising was one of the undoubted, keys to their success. Franklin employed artists to sketch his emporiums, (from which branch establishments came) supplied from the extensive stockholdings within the emporiums. Artists were not paid money but paid in kind by an allotment of shares in the company. The sketches were then placed in the local newspapers informing the general public to ‘get there early on opening day to avoid the crush’

Inflammatory statements about their competitors was normal and accepted. It was akin to professional banter!

Margin Images click on images to obtain enhanced views 13-21

13. Western Press 1946 repairs, simple, artistic illustration image @ trinity Mirror

14. Western Mail 1940’s generally ‘Birthday’ range for children image @ Trinity Mirror

15. Market Harborough 1948  highlighting the slogan ‘Easy on the Feet’ image @ Johnston Press PLC

16. Cornishman 1949 Quality ad for ‘Mentone’ image @ Trinity Mirror

17. Wells 1948 ‘easy on the feet’ Image @ Trinity Mirror

18. Taunton 1949 ‘Comfort’ rang1920. Bognor Regis  1954 ‘Dunlop’ range image @ trinity Mirror

19. Bognor Regis Blossom our 1954 Dunlop range image @ Johnston Press PLC

20 Newcastle 1960 Dura Flex range image@ Trinity Mirror

21. Coventry  Clarks shoes 1970 image @ Trinity Mirror

Incorporation 1897

The Northern Public Benefit Boot Company so concerned were they that their trading title was under threats from rivals, even market stall men, the first incorporation took place in 1890. However, as no allotment of shares had taken place the threat had not diminished sufficiently.
1893 the old company was liquidated and the New Public Benefit Boot Company was incorporated. 1897 and the final NORTHERN incorporation was undertaken as all business partners were now prepared to come into the arrangement. What did the 1897 incorporation achieve?

In order to gain the maximum amount of shares each partner (seven in all) would work to present to the final company as many assets as possible. William Franklin, George Franklin and his brother in law Benjamin Hunn, John & George Kirby. The Kirby’s were close friends of William Franklin and Henry Lennard during their period in Leeds, Jabez Harker and Brow Dickinson, the boot manufacturer along with his brothers. Between them they presented 51 branches in 37 towns and cities along with two footwear factories in Bramley and Wellingborough. The ‘big hitters’ were William Franklin and Brow Dickinson amassing large shareholdings.

Opened in 1896 Lennards Headquarters in Queens Road Clifton

Thomas Joseph Lennard, who had founded Lennards Ltd was also busy. Having Consolidated all the various trading names he traded now under the Public Benefit Boot Company banner, co-operating in every sense of the word with William Franklin. Thomas incorporated in 1897 the various businesses within his part of the organisation which also included, seven like-minded gentlemen. He also closed down his base in Leicester to resettle in Bristol, erecting a magnificent Headquarters, in a centralising move ahead of, and in anticipation of, an eventual merger. The idea to merge the two separate entities of the company trading name was borne out in Leeds in the 1870’s, chiefly by William Franklin, and his one-time partner Henry Lennard. The Northern entity would begin at Birmingham and travel North the Southern half would begin at Worcester extending South, and West of England and South Wales.

St.Pauls’ Italianate House Leeds opened 1904 photo by Brian Seddon

When the merger came in 1904 Thomas Joseph had designs on controlling both territories of the merged company from North to South east to west. In this way, he could implement changes far more smoothly, or so he thought! Board room battles began to become apparent. The Northern Public Benefit Boot Company hitherto still retained its’ various power bases, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield with each major shareholder and founder reluctant to relinquish their own H.Q. Franklin in a bid to carry through his part of the merger, moved operations in 1904 to St. Pauls’ House in Leeds a massive factory in the Venetian style built for a clothing magnate. Here the manufacturing site at Bramley was closed with Wellingborough kept on for a while. Distribution and warehousing followed, thus ending a disjointed system. Discord was bound to follow as mistrust of Lennards ambitions became apparent with numerous Northern ‘board’ resignations. There still remained one more obstacle though, a sizeable differential between assets owned by each entity. Lennard owned less branches than the Northern company halting his dream for complete control. The question was solved by William Franklin who, looking to retire due to ill health sold his shareholding to Lennard in 1905.This then allowed both companies to transfer seventeen branches over to balance the books. Each company then had 100 branches each accomplishing complete parity. William Franklin retired, George Franklin resigned, and John Kirby resigned his chairmanship. Lennard stepped into the role of M.D. and chair of both companies, and the network from ‘end to end ‘was deemed to be over 200 branches, four factories, several repair facilities; what could go wrong now?

Opposition continued, chiefly from the Northern founders remaining and the road to merger was not smooth. Three years on and no sign of a merger was in sight upon which, Lennard resigned his post on the Northern board and began the laborious task of changing his company to Lennards Ltd. It wasn’t until around 1914 that this event occurred up until then both companies still traded as Public Benefit Boot Company. The Northern and original side, planned to eventually, buy back their 17 transferred branches and the two companies, their separate paths would go. Not quite, in 1917 the Northern Public Benefit Boot company owned 140 branches broken up in this way; 111 branches, six repairing factories, owned outright by the Leeds board, with a further six branches owned by them in Lennard territory. There were also 17 Jointly owned branches, one in Fulham, four in Wales and 12 in the west Country. It was still very much a confused state and whilst both companies had embarked on their different paths regarding trading names, it was clear there were still issues to be sorted out. The buying back and transference of assets was still required to finalise matters. For a few short years, they had achieved their aims of a national network of multiple branches, the first company to achieve such a feat.

60A Oldham Street Manchester HQ & Lennards factory. Lennards can be seen inscribed into the stonework at the top. Google inc photo 2017


Lennards Cowper Street/Shakespeare Street factory Google Inc photo 2017










PUBLIC Benefit Leeds as we know and Lennards did eventually level their assets, and severed their links. Continuing to trade using the shorter name of BENEFIT FOOTWEAR installed in 1946 the Leeds based company survived up to about 1988 but under different ownerships.

Lennards on the other hand continued their policy of retailing British made footwear only and, it was only after the resignation of T. J. Lennard did this policy gradually, cease, and British and foreign imports began to grace the windows of their shops. Their slogan, ‘World Famed’ was justified as they had a mail order business that sent parcels of shoes to all corners of the known world, chiefly the British Empire. It was so vast, a branch of the ‘post office’ was installed in their own offices!

T.J. Lennard finally handed over the reins to his nephew Colonel Lennard, in 1926, having steered his company to an impressive 200 branches and a global, all British trade. 


This is what T.J. said in his major speech on resigning his position to Ernest Lennard at the 29th Annual Shareholders meeting at Company H.Q Bristol.‘During the fifty years his four brothers, Sam (Alderman Lennard J.P. of Leicester) Sam was brilliant. John was a gentleman of the old school and along with William and Henry had all been his partners at one time or another.”

Lennards had been boot manufacturers, merchants and multiple branch retailers and was still growing. He exhibited the Gold medal his company won at the International Exhibition at Melbourne, Australia. Whilst at the British Empire exhibition at Wembley his company branch at 294 Regent Street was represented throughout. He didn’t believe the longer hours worked years before, had been injurious to his health; when 12 hours per day was the minimum in his case. Average railway travel of 50,000 miles per year for twenty years was however a great strain on him, as he admitted, when he visited and inspected every branch personally.

The years of the Great war were never to be forgotten throughout the trade, with limited resources of both men and materials, and a government increasing taxes year on year to fund the war effort. He impressed upon the gathering of his belief, that had it not been for the great cause such sacrifices would have been opposed vociferously.

His ideals began to emerge, when he admitted, as the greater part of life is spent at work, the workroom should be “The place Beautiful” which culminated in the ‘noble headquarters in Bristol’ He also felt ‘work ties’ should exist between Capital and Labour, with holiday ties and pension ties. He had presented out of the profits a popular holiday home at Weston Super Mare and allocated £5,000 to the benevolent fund confirmed by the 1925 report. Another ideal was to give the best British value to customers world-wide. Buy British goods was his cry long before it became popular.After fifty years, the great man began to fade into the background remaining as an advisor under a fee.

1920 Lennards Real Property Company was formed to purchase 40 prime, premises from Lennards Limited., amongst them being the prestigious Headquarters with warehousing.  In 1925 the company was incorporated laying out its’ terms and aims, being to lease, repair and insure not only the forty premises, but all of their 200 premises back to Lennards Ltd. The company could also sell off or lease, Lennards Branches no longer required.

In 1929 Lennards acquired the Leicester based Alfred Tyler resulting in about fifty branches stretching from Lands’ End to Berwick Upon Tweed, raising the total number of branches under Lennards Control to 250.

1935  Central Somerset Gazette November 1935 PROPOSED BOOT TRADE MERGER. An important boot and shoe deal became known on Friday, when it was announced at Leicester that the directors of Messrs. Lennards, Ltd., of Bristol, a concern controlling 250 retail shops and four repair factories, had decided strongly to recommend the acceptance by the shareholders of an offer by Messrs. Greenlees and Sons, Ltd , of Leicester and Glasgow, to purchase the shares of the Company.

1936 The company has opened Lennards (Handbags) Ltd a branch selling handbags in the Hendon and Finchley area 12 Watling Avenue Burnt Oak. They also begin to stock and sell stockings and socks in all branches of Lennards Ltd. ‘Benefit’ Footwear were doing a similar thing.

1970 Lennards acquired ‘Englands’ Smart Shoes’ paying around £750,000 for about twenty stores mainly in the midlands. This now brings the total of shops under Lennards control to 226

1973 Great Universal Stores acquired Lennards in 1973. Gus also owns Greenlees Footwear chain with 370 shops and the two companies together have given G.U.S. a middle ranking in the shoe retailing stakes. Lennards continued to trade under their own name. The takeover was a ‘walkover’ and the company was purchased for £7.5 million. Vast majority of Lennards 25 million shares had no voting rights, the directors held 1.2million shares, G.U.S. held 1.4 million deferred ordinary and 2.9 million deferred A shares.

1977 Lennards sees a change in title to Greenlees Lennards Ltd.,

1978 It once again changed, to Greenlees, Lennards, Easiphit Ltd., 

Lennards were advertising for a branch manager in the 1980’s in Newcastle. we can safely say the name Lennards with regard to footwear retailing went well beyond a century.

Aberdeen Press & journal March 1989 Charterhall is the acquisitive investment company with a near-30% stake in Scottish retailers. Australian Mr Russell Goward, who heads the fast expanding concern,  has spent the ‘past three years’ turning the company into Britains’  third largest owner of shoe retailers, through the acquisitions of Tandem and Lennards.

A further twist to the story comes in 1990 when Charterhall is liquidated and in the hands of the receivers

Shortly after this Shoe Zone purchased around Thirty Lennard branches


Bristol Magpie 1886 ‘Big Boot’ making its’ way to 38 High Street Bristol image@ British Library Board