It's been 150 years since Frank Bentall first opened the doors of a small drapery in Kingston back in 1867. The department store's anniversary celebrations comprise three key elements: in-store theatre, the history of Bentalls and the local Kingston community.
Inside the store, Bentalls held a number of events including a giant birthday cake built by The British Sugarcraft Guilde, Punch and Judy puppet shows, chocolate tastings with Urban Village Chocolate who had created a bespoke celebration box for the store and pet accessory personalisation with Teddy Maximus. The store's restaurant on level three celebrated with a ‘memory-lane menu’, featuring dishes inspired by the Victorian era. Local artist Raph Thomas also hosted a pop-up shop across the four days of celebration in July with local Kingston landmark artwork, textiles and greetings cards. Commemorative shopper bags also went on sale and are still available to purchase from the gift department.
Located on the second floor, an exhibition opened in July and will run until Sunday 3 September. The exhibition features historical artefacts from the store’s archives as well as a timeline depicting the store’s 150 year history. The exhibition also displayes original advertising, in store menus and booklets providing a unique insight into the company behind the name.
A key highlight to the whole anniversary campaign was ensuring the Kingston community felt involved in the birthday celebrations; this invitation was extended into the exhibition. Customers were invited to share their memories which are displayed within the space on a digital screen and a hand written ‘wall of memories’. To date, more than 150 memories have been shared with a further 100 memories shared on social media and through.