Visitors to a recent display charting the history of a well known Wolverhampton institution have helped raise funds for Compton Hospice.

Type=image;ImageID=3858;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Mum Lea Ann Hammond and baby Lorenzo Hammond;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=3859;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Karen Davie presents cheque to Compton Hospice Sally Woods;TitleClass=strong;

Dozens of people took part in a raffle to win a Beatties bear while they inspected an exhibition at Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies which highlighted the development of the popular department store of the same name.

A cheque for £155 was handed over to the hospice today (Thursday 10 April, 2014) - at the same time as the raffle winners collected their cuddly prize.

The display, which ended this week, included a selection of catalogued material relating to Beatties dating from the 1870s to the present day.

Karen Davies, Cataloguing Archivist, said: "The display proved very popular with visitors and we're delighted that we've been able to raise some much needed funds for Compton Hospice.

"We also discovered some interesting information about the links that local people have with Beatties.

"People were invited to write down their experiences in connection with the popular department store in a memories book. One woman told us she used to work at Beatties and has fond memories of the staff restaurant, as that was where her husband proposed to her. Another wrote that in the early 1980s, all their children wanted for Christmas were tubes of glue and a roll of sellotape.

"And one visitor commented that if you split James Beattie in two, you'd find the word Wolverhampton written all the way through, which I think sums up such an important character in our city's history rather nicely."

The business which became Beatties was originally known as The Victoria Drapery Supply Stores and founded at 77 Victoria Street, Wolverhampton, by local draper and businessman James Beattie in 1877.

Twice in its lifetime was the building demolished and rebuilt, the first time following a catastrophic fire in 1896 and the second in 1912. During the early 1920s the company adopted limited liability and became James Beattie Ltd. The store's frontage in Victoria Street was also completely remodelled in this decade, extended in the 1930s and remodelled again in the 1950s.

In 1954, the company offered the sale of shares to the public making it a Public Limited Company and the company became James Beattie Plc. It was taken over by House of Fraser in 2005.

The exhibition was the latest in a series of temporary displays delving into local history at Wolverhampton Archives & Local Studies. For more information, please call 01902 552480, visit Type=links;Linkid=3241;Title=The Museums, Galleries and Archives of Wolverhampton;Target=_blank; or email

  • released: Thursday 10 April, 2014