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A de Gruchy and Company Limited Archive
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On 21st June 1810 Abraham de Gruchy and his wife, Marie, having received financial support from Jean Le Brocq, Marie's Uncle, opened a shop in St Peter. In 1820 as St Helier flourished Abraham de Gruchy decided that it was time to move his business into town. He leased Francis Le Sueur's shop at 33, Broad Street, next to the British Hotel, for a short time and then in 1824 bought La Grande Maison from Mr James Poingdestre, which is now known as 52, King Street. In 1826 he advertised that from his shop at 50-52, King Street he was now not only selling materials and clothes but also furniture. On January 2nd 1860 the firm celebrated its Silver Jubilee at which William de Gruchy, the eldest son of Abraham, and his sibling John took the chair and vice chair respectively as they had taken the business over from their father. Three years later the adjoining property was bought and the whole of the premises were reconstructed so as to cope with the greatly increasing trade which had made the old premises inadequate. Sadly in 1864 the founder of the company, Abraham de Gruchy, passed away and his wife, Marie, followed him two years later. In 1872 a millinery department was opened in the firm and soon became one of the leading parts of the shop and in 1876 Philip Henry de Gruchy, William's younger son, took over the running of the store. In 1880 a new furniture department was added and in 1883 the premises lying east of the original shop were purchased and the arcade constructed. The tailoring and gentleman's outfitting department was transferred to the King Street end and a new hardware and ironmongery department was opened in the center of the arcade. In 1886 as a result of the crash of the Jersey Banking Company, which was owned by the de Gruchy family, A de Gruchy and Company was named bankrupt. In 1887 a Limited Liability Company was formed to purchase the business, premises, stock-in-trade and good will of the firms A de Gruchy & Co. The price agreed upon was £75,000 which was to be raised through shares of £10 each and £25,000 in Debentures. The business was carried on under the same staff and under the management of Philip Henry de Gruchy. The original intention was to keep the company going for ten years so that all the debtors could be paid, however, in 1895 it was announced that the company was to be extended for another twenty-five years such was its success. In March 1899 Philip Henry de Gruchy died at the age of 56 thus severing the link between the founder's family and the Company. Mr GF Wyatt, the sub-manager, was promoted in his place. In 1908 the company were preparing to expand further buying a motorised vehicle for deliveries to outlying parishes and purchasing 46, King Street. In 1909 Wyatt died with Mr James Le Petevin dit Le Roux taking his place having been sub-manager and this position being filled by James Randall. In 1910 the firm celebrated their centenary year with a great deal of celebrations. In 1917 James Le Petevin dit Le Roux passed away to be succeeded as manager by Mr Randall. The First World War did not unduly affect A de Gruchy's and Company Limited and they carried on running as usual.In 1922 James Randall died and to fill the gap Philip Le Petevin dit Le Roux (James' nephew) was appointed. In 1923 the King Street windows were modernised and further work was carried out in 1924/25 to extend the Arcade and install a Palm Court. Plans for extansion were instigated further in 1931 when a lingerie department, accessible by lift, was opened on the second floor of the shop. In 1935 Philip Le Petevin dit Le Roux retired as manager and Mr Rodney Leathes took his place only to be replaced by Arthur Harvey a year later after having an offer from Harrods. He set to work immediately and opened a cash-and-carry department in the Palm Court. In 1938 a restaurant was opened and it was soon extremely popular, however, due to its size and cost the Company never recouped a profit on it. During the Occupation stocks in the shop soon ran low and soon opening was limited to two days a week. In 1942 Arthur Harvey was deported to Germany necessitating the Directors to form a Committee of Management to run the store. In January 1944 disaster struck as a fire in de Gruchy's gutted a large portion of the buildings. After much work an insurance settlement of £34, 416 was settled upon and plans for the future were being prepared as the Occupation ended. On 29th July 1945 Arthur Harvey was welcomed back and took up his position of manger once again buying much needed clothing and supplies. On the 27th January 1950 8-10, New Street's rebuilding work was completed and handed back to the firm. Steadily over the next years the shop was slowly rebuilt and went through modernising changes. In 1962 Arthur Harvey informed the Board of Directors of his decision to retire and in August of that year Mr Adrian O'Sullivan was appointed as his successor. Other innovations came at this time including the opening of the Book Department in 1962 and older departments such as the Men's Shop underwent extensive refittings. In 1971 Mr O'Sullivan announced his retirement and his replacement was named in 1972 as Mr H L Lloyd. In 1980 a new shop named "de Gees" was set up in Halkett Street and later in Mansell Street, St Peter Port, Guernsey.
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