Freemans Catalogue History - forties, fifties and the swinging sixties


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Freemans Catalogue
The wars years to the swinging sixities

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The 40's war years, the 50's post-war boom years and into the 60's
- a social revolution

During World War II the Clapham offices were bombed and 23 members of staff were killed. All of the company documents were destroyed, however after the war there was a period of rapid expansion. By 1948 the catalogue had expanded to 1,000 full colour pages.

Further bombing causes severe damage to the building and almost total destruction of the company’s records. Staff and Agent loyalty allows the company to survive these setbacks and continue trading.

War shortages meant that no household items were available, only clothing. Coupon rates are introduced for the first time as a way to pay for Freemans clothes.
Clothing coupons become the only way to pay for clothes. The number of staff working for Freemans drops to less than 300.

freemans-cover-1943 (15K)
Catalogue cover 1943

By the mid-fifties the post-war boom was at its height and Freemans was growing faster then ever. New office and warehouse space was acquired as up to 7,000 parcels were being despatched ever day.
The company also expands rapidly with the post-war consumer boom, with many customers choosing to buy on credit. It is now competing with the leading department stores of the day, selling a wide range of consumer goods in its full-colour, 1,000-plus page catalogue.

freemans-catalogue-covers-1950s (16K)
Catalogue cover from the 1950's

Based in London, Freemans was at the forefront of the sixties fashion revolution. Carnaby street, mini skirts, flower power and all this decades fashion was reflected in the catalogues.

Freemans becomes a Public Company, and installs its first computer.

The company expands world-wide with its new International Division, which eventually wins the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement in 1995.

New automated Distribution Centre at Peterborough is opened, and it is the first company to post goods in plastic packaging. It is also the first UK company to generate heat from waste packaging.

freemans cover 1962
Catalogue cover from 1962

Catalogues from the 1910's, 1920's 1930's

Catalogues from the 1970's

Go to Freemans Catalogue at catalogue connection to view the highlights from the current catalogue, this site also reviews all the home shopping mail order catalogue websites available in the UK.

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