11 fascinating photographs showing Primark and former Debenhams buildings in Bristol through the years

The two sites in Broadmead in Bristol opened as Jones and Co and Lewis’

Like an ocean liner, the construction and opening of Lewis’ (now Primark) in 1957 brought huge excitement to the city. The department store, along with Jones and Co, provided a huge attraction for visitors to Broadmead.

The stores were also another sign of Birstol’s recovery from the ravages of the Blitz.

On opening, Lewis’, which was so big it featured 200 departments, had 100,000 visitors. There was even a roof garden restaurant with a fountain and flower beds. In the early days it was asuccess, but in the late 70s competition led to the store’s downfall and it would later be operated by John Lewis, Bentalls and Primark as it is today.

Jones and Co opened four months before Lewis’, and just like its competitor it offered shoppers virtually everything under one roof, including a ‘meeting place with 35 seats on the third floor’. The store was taken over by Debenhams in 1972, which closed in 2021 and has since been purchased by a London group.

Here are pictures documenting the history of the two sites:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.