House of Fraser


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
14 -24 Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth


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Statutory Address:
14 -24 Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Department store of the late C19 for FJ Bright and Son, now House of Fraser. Extended to the rear (south) in c1905; N (Old Christchurch Road) and NE elevations largely rebuilt in 1920s, attributed to Reynolds and Tomlins. Various alterations, internal remodelling and refurbishment during the C20 and C21.

Reasons for Designation

House of Fraser, 14-24 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: for its relatively intact exterior which combines decorative ironwork of c1905 and 1930s embellishments (Gervis Place) with an early 1920s ornamented façade (Old Christchurch Road) of good-quality tile decoration by Carter and Co of Poole; * Historic interest: as a particularly good and quite well-documented example of a purpose-built, provincial department store which has evolved over the years in response to changing shopping trends and architectural fashions; * Interior: for the survival of historic features, notably cast-iron columns, decorative plasterwork and the two principal staircases and associated balustrades, which is not always to be expected in commercial premises.


In 1871 Frederick Bright opened a shop selling needlework and Berlin wool at No.9 The Arcade (Grade II) in Bournemouth, and later expanded into the next-door premises (No.8). By 1894, FJ Bright and Son occupied four shops (Nos.8-11) in The Arcade (Grade II). Towards the end of the C19 the company opened a newly-built stationers and a fancy goods emporium, with its own restaurant, in an adjacent building (now 14-26 Old Christchurch Road). Over time Brights Stores Ltd expanded to include a gent’s outfitters, drapers, costumiers and photographers, and in c1905 the building was enlarged to the rear (south) with an addition of five floors fronting onto Gervis Place. The lower two floors were of cast-iron framed construction, with a colonnaded ground floor projecting out onto the pavement and an open verandah above to the first floor. The recessed upper floors were faced in stone and classically styled. The lower three floors served as the shop and show rooms, the third floor was a restaurant, and the top floor was offices.

In the early C20 Frederick’s son, Percy, inherited the business and went on to purchase other department stores in the S and SW, including Flora Ltd in Southsea, Exeter’s Colson and Co and Bobby and Co in Clifton. Around the same time the company became Bright and Colson Ltd and the Bournemouth store underwent substantial alteration. The Gervis Place (rear) elevation was restyled and reduced in height to four storeys. Cast-iron verandahs in a matching style to the original first-floor verandah of c1905 were added to the two remaining upper floors, although at a later date they were all glazed-in and incorporated into the store. In c1920 the late-C19 Old Christchurch Road elevation and its east return (above The Arcade) were re-fronted in an Art Deco style attributed to Bournemouth architects, Reynolds and Tomlins. A tower was added at each end of the main façade and the walls were faced and decorated with ceramic marble and terracotta tiles supplied by Carter and Co of Poole. Carter and Co (Dorset Heritage Centre, see Sources) records that the company began manufacturing the tiles for Bright and Son before the First World War, only completing the commission after the war had ended. The interior of the store was also updated at the same time. In 1937 the lower ground-floor shop front and entranceway to Gervis Place was further remodelled, in a moderne style to the designs of Reynolds and Tomlins. Plans were drawn up in 1939 to carry out additional alterations to this elevation, including replacing the cast-iron frame with steel and recladding the whole façade in faience tiles. These proposals were not, however, carried out. In the mid-1940s a fifth floor was added to the rear third of the store to provide additional office and staff accommodation. In 1954 the Old Christchurch Road shop front of the 1920s was replaced and a new canopy was also added along the entire frontage; this was subsequently refurbished in 1960-61. The shop interior has undergone modernisation and refurbishment over the years, for example, the restaurant has been re-located on at least three occasions.

In the mid-C20 Bright and Colson was bought by JJ Allen Ltd, a company that owned a number of stores in the south of England; and the Bournemouth store became Dingles. In 1969 JJ Allen was taken over by House of Fraser Ltd.


Department store of the late C19 for FJ Bright and Son, now House of Fraser. Extended to the rear (south) in c1905; N (Old Christchurch Road) and NE elevations largely rebuilt in 1920s, attributed to Reynolds and Tomlins. Various alterations, internal remodelling and refurbishment during the C20 and C21.

MATERIALS: the Old Christchurch Road block is steel framed with cladding of ceramic tiles, brick to rear; the rear extension (Gervis Place) has iron-framed construction, faced with Vitrolite to the ground floor. Roofs not visible.

PLAN: roughly rectangular plan with a late-C19 block of five storeys and basements fronting Old Christchurch Road and a rear, four-storey plus basement addition of 1905, to which a fifth floor was added in the mid-C20; service areas and service lifts situated in the rear part (S) of the Old Christchurch block accessed by a covered passageway from Gervis Place.

Nos.8-11 The Arcade (Grade II) have been incorporated within, and form part of, the department store, but are included in the List entry for The Arcade.

EXTERIOR: the principal façade on Old Christchurch Road combines Art Deco architecture with neo-classical elements. It is a symmetrical composition with a tower to either end flanking a central section of five bays. The windows are all metal casements with stepped glazing bars. The whole façade is clad with cream and buff-coloured ceramic marble tiles manufactured by Carter and Co of Poole and the floors are expressed externally with terracotta panels set with sunburst and vaguely Egyptianate motifs in blue and brown faience to each bay. The windows to each of the tall, square towers are set within a full-height moulded surround with keystone, and an oculus window above. The towers have octagonal tops with pairs of panels to each face decorated with sunburst motifs in blue and brown faience, and stepped, domed roofs surmounted by stumpy finials. There is a late-C20 shop front and canopy to the ground floor with entrances to bays two and six. Above the ground floor the five bays between the towers, including a narrow central bay, are divided by giant pilasters which support a deep fascia. The two outer pairs of pilasters have banded rustication, with a sunburst block in place of a capital. The left return, above three floors of The Arcade, is also faced with tiles and has identical storey heights, but is plainer. There are tower blocks at the corners; between these are simple metal-framed windows with keystones to the lintels and a fifth-floor clerestory under a sloping roof. The five-bay elevation to Gervis Place (S) has five storeys; the upper floor being a 1940s addition. It extends out over the pavement, supported at ground-floor level by remodelled columns encased in concrete. The shop front is set back, with an entrance to bay two and service access to bay five, while the remaining bays are display windows that have black Vitrolite surrounds and are framed by anodized metal strips; the flanking pilasters are also faced with Vitrolite with vertical metal strips. The stall risers have been reclad in modern materials. The first, second and third floors are fully glazed between Corinthian colonnettes of iron. The wooden mullioned and transomed windows are of three lights, except those to the central bay which have four lights; they are probably early or mid-C20. The first and second floors have spandrels of openwork foliage patterns of iron, and there are panelled upstands at sill level to the second and third floors. The short east and west returns are one bay deep and are similarly detailed.

INTERIOR: plant rooms are situated in the basement level; the other floors are open retail spaces, except for parts of the top floor which has a restaurant and office accommodation. The retail floors have been refurbished with late-C20/early-C21 shop fittings, including suspended ceilings which may conceal original plasterwork, floor coverings, display units and counters. They are served by two principal staircases and lifts, as well as a service stair and goods’ lift. To the rear left of the Old Christchurch Road part of the building is a staircase within a well which houses one of the lifts. The handrails and square newel posts are timber and the streamlined balustrade is metal. The stairs are lit by round-arched metal-framed windows with streamlined leaded lights. The service stairs and goods’ lift are to the right. At the rear right of the store, adjacent to the c1905 rear extension, is a wide late-C19 staircase with a moulded timber handrail, a continuous metal balustrade with enriched pierced decoration, and decorative open strings. There are apsed recesses for displays to the half landings, plaster cornices and plasterwork panels to the some of the walls and ceilings. A further flight of stairs with Art Deco-style moulded wooden handrail and slender, geometric metal railings leads to the lower ground floor. Several late-C19 cast-iron columns with capitals formed from stylised acanthus leaves are visible on the ground and first floors; though most of the columns have either been replaced or encased in modern materials, and some of the original plaster ceiling panels are visible.

* Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (the Act) it is declared that the late-C20 enclosed fire escape and the modern shop fittings are not of special interest and are excluded


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Powers, A, 'Part One: British Architecture before the Great War' in The Architectural Review, , Vol. 237, (November 2014), .
Powers, A, 'Part Two: British Architecture after the Great War' in The Architectural Review, , Vol. 238, (December 2014), 98-101
Bright's department store, Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth: view of the extension under construction, 1920, accessed 4 October 2016 from
Historic postcard, Bright's Buiilding, accessed 10 November 2016 from
Building plans, Bournemouth Borough Council


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed building(s) is/are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 23 Jul 2001
Reference: IOE01/02760/08
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Trevor Fenwick. Source Historic England Archive
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