Jarrold of Norwich bucks High Street decline and gets freedom of city

  • Published
Jarrold, 1909Image source, Jarrold
Image caption,
Jarrold on London Street in 1909 - and still an independent department store 110 years later

A 250-year-old business that has been granted the freedom of a city continues to thrive despite the High Street decline, its chief executive said.

Jarrold, founded in Woodbridge, Suffolk in 1770, moved to Norwich in 1823.

Norwich City Council agreed to honour the family-run firm in recognition of its contribution to the city.

Minnie Moll, Jarrold chief executive, said: "Despite this very challenging time for retail, Jarrold is bucking the trend and seeing an increase in sales."

The firm's five-floor department store is based in London Street, while there are further shops in Cromer and Wymondham.

Image source, Jarrold
Image caption,
Jarrold said it was "bucking the trend" of closures among well-known high street chain stores

David Hill, Jarrold's chairman, said he was "delighted" with the honour.

"We are proud to have been at the heart of Norwich for almost 200 years and grateful we have been a part of many people's lives," he said.

The city council voted to approve the proposal "in recognition of the contribution that Jarrold has made to the city".

The proposal agreed to "admit Jarrold to the Honorary Freedom of the City of Norwich".

Jarrold: History of a family-run firm

Image source, Jarrold
  • 1770: John Jarrold I opens his grocers and drapers in the Market Place, Woodbridge
  • 1811: John Jarrold II buys a farm at Dallinghoo, Suffolk and, aside from mixed agriculture, he establishes a printing press there
  • 1823: Sets up as a bookseller, publisher and printer in Norwich, at 3 Cockley Lane (now London Street)
  • Early 1900s: Printing works in Norwich employ about 1,500 workers
  • 2005: Sale of printing and publishing arms, with focus now solely on retail and property

Alan Waters, leader of the Labour-run council, said: "It remains a family business and members of the family have been entwined with the civic life of the city - John Jarrold was Lord Mayor in 1970 and Peter Jarrold was sheriff in the early 1990s.

"The family has made significant contributions to the cultural life of the city, its twinning links, particularly Koblenz [in Germany] and charitable work through the John Jarrold Trust."

Image source, Jarrold
Image caption,
The five-floor department store's fashion floor opened in 1965, housing the Eye-Catcher boutique

The company will be formally admitted to the Freedom of the City at a ceremony in June.

The Honorary Freedom is a symbolic honour and does not grant the company any special rights within the city.

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