Harrods
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Harrods at night

 Distance from hotel: 3.4 miles (About 7 minutes)
 Hours of operation:
 Cost: Free
 Included with tour: No

 

  THE HISTORY

  Harrods is best known as an upmarket department store in Knightsbridge, London. Apart from the store, the Harrods Group of companies includes Harrods Bank, Harrods Estate and Harrods Air.

The store has an estimated five acres (20,000 m) of floorspace over five floors.

The Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique - All Things, For All People, Everywhere.

The nearest tube station to the Knightsbridge shop is the Knightsbridge tube station.

Harrods's current owner is the Egyptian tycoon Mohamed Al-Fayed and the shop was recently awarded a prestigious Imperial Mark, after being stripped its Duke of Edinburgh Royal Warrant.

Harrods started off London's East End at the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign. In 1835, Charles Henry Harrod, a tea merchant and grocery wholesaler, set up shop in across the road from his home in Stepney.

Harrod was worried by a cholera epidemic sweeping London and he knew a businessman who wanted to get out of a lease on a grocery store in Knightsbridge. So the shop was moved in 1849 to what was then semi-rural Brompton Road .

As Knightsbridge grew Harrods grew with it and several adjoining buildings were taken over by the shop.

The store underwent a major transformation in 1861 when it was taken over by Harrod's son, Charles Digby Harrod.

On December 6, 1883, fire gutted the shop buildings, thus giving the family the opportunity to rebuild on a grander scale.

In 1889 when Charles Digby Harrod retired, Harrods was floated on the London Stock Exchange under the name Harrod's Stores Limited.

In 1959 the House of Fraser bought Harrods.

Harrods has been targeted by the Irish Republican Army three times. The first of these was on 15 December 1974 with an incendiary bomb placed inside the store on the first floor in the corner nearest the tube exit, however the most serious incident was on December 17, 1983, when the explosion from a car bomb killed six people and injured ninety. Harrods re-opened three days later despite the damage.

The store was bought by the al-Fayed brothers in 1985 for 615 million, since when the selling space has enlarged to include previously staff-only and storage areas in the basement and top floors.