The Story of Booths


A new book which tells the remarkable history of Booths has been launched in stores this autumn.


The story of Booths

The story of Booths

The Story of Booths (1847-2008) delves into the hidden archives of one of the region’s oldest and best loved retailers to chart the rise of this family-owned company.

Written by Frank Bamford, the book provides a real insight into 19th century Lancashire and reveals the dynamics of the Booths’ family. It includes many rare photographs and personal correspondence between family members.

The story begins in June 1847 when tea dealer Edwin Henry Booth borrowed £80 to open a tea shop called The China House in Blackpool. It ends 160 years later with the thriving company owning 26 stores across the North of England.

Graham Booth says: “It’s amazing to look back and see Booths grow from its humble roots to the successful company it is today. So much has changed, but in many ways the company remains the same.

“Booths is still run by the same family and its values remain constant – to offer customers the best quality products in attractive stores run by welcoming staff. It’s a recipe that worked in 1847 and continues to work in 2008.”

Much of the book focuses on characters such as Edwin Henry Booth who at the age of 10 was left by his mother and forced to fend for himself.

Edwin clearly had a head for business and soon repaid his £80 debt before opening another tea shop in Chorley in 1855. This was followed in 1859 with the completion of Booths’ first Preston store.

It took many months for writer Frank Bamford, who has written a number of local histories, to trawl through the company’s vast archive.

He explains: “It was a fascinating process. There is a huge volume of correspondence which was retained by the first Mr John Booth, the founder’s son, which gives a real flavour of the personalities involved and helps us to understand how the whole Booths ethic and philosophy was formulated.” 

The book also examines the social and political history of the times and looks at the impact the two wars had on the company.

Booths progressed steadily throughout with new branches opening in places like St Annes, Longton, Blackpool, Kendal and Penwortham.

The final chapter focuses on the modern era of change and development when the new Mr John Booth took over as chairman in 1970.

Booths broadened its territory by opening shops in the likes of Windermere, Ulverston, Kirkby Lonsdale, Knutsford, Ilkley and Settle.

Today, with Edwin Booth at the helm, the company continues to grow. Recent developments include the completion of a new store and Artisan restaurant in Lytham.  Two new stores will be opening at Ripon and Garstang in 2009.

The Story of Booths is available from most Booths stores and is priced at £4.99.

Speak Your Mind