Leeds was a place we visited often as kids to see our Grandparents. We didn’t often go into the city centre, but despite this the name of the Schofields department store on The Headrow was one which we heard a lot about, being the premier shopping destination for many locals. It was opened in 1901 but I only remember the 1962 rebuild, done at perhaps the height of modern shop building in terms of quality of construction and ambition.
And it was quite an event when Schofields opened only their third branch in Sheffield in 1972. That proved an expansion too far, it only lasted ten years, and then the Leeds shop was bought out and ended up as part of the House of Fraser chain in 1988, with the name finally disappearing in 1996 when the new owners began to reduce their retail footprint.
But if the shop and name has gone, their sturdy cardboard boxes survive in surprising numbers ‘up North’, proving to be useful storage containers in many Yorkshire wardrobes for sixty years or more.
The original floral Schofields packaging is very collectable but much less common is this clearly Fifties inspired geometric Festival of Britain style design. The store typeface is actually more Forties perhaps, but they’ve nevertheless allowed a local design agency to give the box a contemporary make-over and the result is quite striking. I also have a paper bag with the same design on. I would imagine the design didn’t last too long, the Fifties look was hard to pull off properly or it quickly looked tired.
Maybe Mrs. M F Parkes, who lived in flat in a smart pre-War semi in an area of Leeds just the far side of the outer ring road, bought herself a new Easter bonnet and kept in here originally? But the box outlasted the hat and from the biro on the label we can see she later stored lampshades and a rose bowl in it.
More Easter themed packaging on the site.