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Coupled with the opulence of the interior design all the displays of foods themselves, cheese, fish, wine, patisserie, cakes, confectionery, delicatessen, meat, fruit and vegetables all have the most sumptuous displays of mouth-watering food, sourced from the best suppliers all over the world.

All this started from very humble beginnings when in 1834 Charles Henry Harrod opened a small wholesale grocery in Stepney in Londons East End, with a special interest in tea. But in 1849 to escape the inner city dirt and to capitalize on trade to the Great Exhibition in 1851 in nearby Hyde Park, Harrod obtained a small shop in Knightsbridge on the site of the current store.

Starting in a single room with 2 assistants and a messenger boy, Harrods son Charles Digby Harrod built the business,acquiring adjacent properties and employing 100 people by 1880 selling medicines, stationery, perfumes, fruit and vegetables. Disaster struck in December 1883 when the store burnt to the ground, but Charles Harrod rallied to fulfil all his commitments to his customers for their Christmas deliveries that year and made a record profit in the process.

New buildings were soon raised on the same site and once again the store continued to expand, 1898 saw the installation of the worlds first moving staircase (the escalator) where nervous customers were offered brandy at the top to revive them after their "ordeal".

There cannot be many people in Britain who from one source or another, have not heard of Harrods and its colourful owner Mahommed Al Fayed.

This unique store with its motto of 'Omnia Omnibus Ubique' (All things for all people, Everywhere) is famous as one of the two largest department stores in the world.

Sited in Knightsbridge London, one of the capitals most up-market shopping districts its sheer size is staggering as it occupies a prime 4 and half acre site, has over one million square feet of selling space in over 330 departments, staffed by over 5,000 employees, selling luxury goods of the highest quality.

Among its many beautiful interiors are the spectacular Food Halls. The grand re-building work in 1901 put terra cotta tiles with cherubs, swags and pilasters along the main frontage, palatial Art Nouveau windows, while inside French craftsmen created fine rococo plaster work and vivid Royal Doulton tiles designed by W. J. Neatby, were installed in the Meat Hall, which are still there today.

Harrods - The Ultimate Department Store

When the extensive re-building ended in 1905 its sumptuous interiors continued to make it London's most fashionable store, with many famous customers such as Oscar Wilde, Lily Langtrey and Ellen Terry.

Over the years this has continued, Noel Coward was sent an alligator from the pet shop and Ronald Regan was the recipient of a giraffe called Gertie. A.A. Milne bought the original Winnie The Pooh bear for his son Christopher here, and Alfred Hitchcock had them send out herrings to him in Hollywood by air.

They also supplied various services to the Royal Family. Harrods is always worth a visit, but if you are especially interested in food, its Food Halls are unrivalled.

The men and women who create the wonderful displays are masters of presentation guaranteeing that you will not come away without buying some indulgence as a souvenir of a remarkable store.