Looking Back at Bon Marche

Bon Marche.
Bon Marche.

An advert in the Wallsend News from 1959 stated that Lily Smith opened her draper’s shop on March 7, 1904, and chose the name Bon Marche because the shop next door was already called Smith’s.

The business was a great success and her husband joined her. He had a drapery store on the opposite side of the High Street, which was next door to his mother-in-law’s butcher shop. The building was extended in 1936-37 with footwear, toys and furnishings added.

In 1947 they took a shop opposite, which sold electricals, and later Pringles Scotch Bakery was added to their business. The following year Brian Smith joined the firm. In 1955 Joseph Smith took over the business.

The staff seen on February 17, 1947, have been identified and we have the names in our records. Email discover@northtyneside.gov.uk