Iconic Norwich department store Jarrold celebrates 250th birthday

An independent department store in Norwich is celebrating its 250th birthday.

Jarrold, which was founded by John Jarrold I in Woodbridge in 1770, moved to Norwich in 1823.

It's been a permanent fixture in the city centre ever since, and is still being run by the Jarrold family to this very day.

It also has smaller branch stores in Wymondham and Cromer, as well as a specialist sports store and art shop.

Michelle Jarrold (right) is the 7th of generation of Jarrold to work at the business after John Jarrold I (left) set-up the company in the 1700s. Credit: Jarrold/ITV News Anglia

Despite the general decline of the high street, as reported by ITV News earlier this year, Jarrold has continued to buck the trend and has even seen an increase in sales.

Michelle Jarrold, who is the 7th generation of Jarrold to still work in the business, believes the shop's personal touch is the secret to their success.

"We're extremely lucky that our customers choose to shop with us, we can't take it for granted," she told ITV News Anglia.

"We're just trying to surprise and delight them every time they come in because they can buy everything online. Why would they come to shop with us? It's because they can have a fabulous experience and be looked after by lovely people and have a great day."

Jarrold will be awarded the freedom of the city at a special ceremony in June after councillors unanimously voted to honour the firm.

Jarrold's 250-year history

The Jarrold store in 1909. Credit: Jarrold
  • Founded by John Jarrold I who opened a grocers and drapers in Woodbridge, Suffolk, in 1770

  • After his death at the age of 30 in 1775, the business was run by a friend of the family before eventually being passed on to his 21-year-old son John Jarrold II in 1794

  • John Jarrold II purchases a farm at Dallinghoo, Suffolk in 1811 and establishes a printing press

  • The business moves to Norwich in 1823 and is set up as a bookseller, publisher and printer

  • The first edition of Anna Sewell's Black Beauty is published by Jarrold in 1878

  • By the early 1900s, the printing works is one of the premier printing operations in the world and employs 1,500 people

  • The Great Yarmouth branch of the business is bombed during the Second World War in 1941, destroying the print works

  • The retail business is expanded in 1964 when Jarrold purchases the adjacent Corn Hall on the Exchange Street and Bedford Street frontage

  • The John Jarrold Trust is set up in 1965. Since then, it's raised more than £3 million for local charities

  • The company sells the printing and publishing arms in 2005, choosing to focus solely on retail