Browse Freemans of London catalogue covers from 10 decades and let the memories flood back
Freemans & Co. starts life in a terraced house in the London suburb of Clapham. Its founders are A.C. and S.C. Rampton, W.E. Jones and H.A. Freeman. It employs just 12 staff, and a ‘Celebrated Freemans made-to-measure suit’ costs less than 30/- (£1.10 in today’s money).
Most goods are sold on credit, with wives needing their husband’s signature to buy goods. Freemans uses Agents to sell goods from its 200 page, black-and-white illustrated catalogue; they are mainly men.
Freemans of London moves to larger premises at 215 Lavender Hill Wandsworth. Company staff are soon nicknamed ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’.
Freemans’ pre-war expansion stops, and the business focuses on buying blankets and selling them to the Government and the armed forces.
Freemans of London catlogue cover 1912
Colour photographay was introduced to the Freemans catalogue, and by 1922 Freemans were employing 200 people, with most of the staff being women, and nearly all the managers men.
Freemans catalogue cover from the 1920s
Freemans became the largest mail order company in the UK with over 30,000 agents. Due to this exceptional growth Freemans became a proviate company and moved into its present location at 139 Clapham Road, London.
Freemans is now the largest mail order business in Great Britain; larger than all its competitors put together. Some of its 30,000 agents managed to buy cars and houses with their commission money.
Freemans moves into an old printing works at 139 Clapham Road, and becomes a Private Company. Freemans now sells labour-saving devices as vacuum cleaners in its catalogue.
Freemans catalogue cover from the 1930s
1940's, 1950's and swinging 1960's
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