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Shops - General

Places > Bedford > Shops > General > Where to Buy

Mr James Maxwell

Where to buy at Bedford: an illustrated local review
 1891 (Extracts)

Bedford Premier Shops

Mr James Maxwell, 
Wholesale and Retail Draper, 70 High Street

James Maxwell, Draper The above business' is one of the oldest of its kind in the town, having been in existence for upwards of one hundred years. The present proprietor, Mr. James W. Maxwell, carries on an extensive wholesale and retail drapery trade, and fully sustains the substantial reputation attained many years since. The premises are situated in one of the best parts of the High Street, nearly opposite the General Post Office, and are conveniently arranged for carrying on a large general trade. A most important department, and one which receives very special attention, is the dress department. It is supplied with a choice assortment of materials in both plain and figured designs, and very great care is bestowed upon their selection. It is quite marvellous to find how many thousands of yards of dress materials both plain and fancy, black and coloured, low priced and high priced, are cut up in a single season in this department. A speciality is the splendid and thoroughly trustworthy make of black cashmeres which has been adopted, ranging from the lowest price to the highest, each price being designated by a distinguishing letter. These goods can be most confidently recommended both for mourning and general use. They are thoroughly well-made of the best wools only and their good wear may be relied upon. The colour is a deep rich shade of black, which is warranted to stand, being dyed by the celebrated firm of Sir Henry Ripley, Bart., M.P. The spacious showroom, which extends along the entire front of the building, will be found replete with an ever-varying display of attractive novelties in millinery and mantles, and other kindred ladies' requisites such as capes, visites, blouses, dust cloaks, mackintoshes, furs, shawls, wraps; also a large assortment of straws, feathers, flowers, mob caps, aprons, skirts, corsets, etc. In this room it has recently been found necessary to add a new department, comprising ladies’ underclothing, dressing-gowns, tea-gowns, dressing-jackets, etc. At the commencement of each season a special and extensive show is made of the leading novelties in millinery, mantles, etc., large deliveries of the latest productions being arranged for specially for the occasion. The whole room is placed under the supervision of an experienced lady of great tact and skill. The household drapery includes standard makes in calicoes, sheetings, hollands, blankets, white, scarlet, and shirting flannels, Oxford shirtings, lace curtains, art -muslins, quilts, table cloths, etc., and the house enjoys a long and well-deserved renown for Manchester goods generally. The fancy departments are well-stocked with large and varied assortments of silk and kid gloves, laces, ribbons, frillings, plain and fancy buttons, trimmings, silk squares, cambric handkerchiefs, and such goods; and a good trade is done in hosiery, umbrellas, sunshades, and haberdashery. Special attention is given to the window-dressing; the windows of this establishment will compare favourably with those of any other house in the whole town, both for the ever-changing variety of the show, and for the skill and talent manifested in the execution. An extensive business, both wholesale and retail, is done in the villages and towns of Bedfordshire and the neighbouring counties, the customers of the firm being waited upon at regular and frequent intervals by a trusted representative, who carries samples of all goods in stock so far as is practicable. The firm being large purchasers of goods are thereby enabled to buy in the best markets, and to obtain many concessions in price that otherwise could not be secured. A great amount of time and labour is expended in the effort to purchase the best goods procurable: at the price in all departments, and no goods are allowed to be taken into stock but such as are likely to give satisfaction to the purchaser, not only as regards the appearance, but also as regards the wear. Showy rubbish finds no quarter here, consequently ladies may reckon upon having goods of a superior and reliable character offered to them, whilst they need have no fear of being overcharged. Another feature of the house is its readiness to procure without a moment's delay any goods that may not be in stock, and a telegram sent by them at, say 10 o'clock in the morning, would result, if necessary, in a nice assortment of the goods requited being ready for inspection by 1.30. So far as is practicable the operations of the house are confined to ready-money transactions, or to approved credit of a short period; long credit is discountenanced, no ledger account of doubtful reputation is opened, and in the case of strangers satisfactory references are required. Great care is taken to have assistants whose character, both moral and commercial, is above reproach, and it is the earnest wish of the proprietor that in all his dealil1gs there should be an absence of misrepresentation, and that every customer should receive attention and civility.

Page last updated: 22nd January 2014