For those new to CabbieBlog or readers who are slightly forgetful, on Saturdays I’m republishing posts, many going back over a decade. Some will still be very relevant while others have become dated over time. Just think of this post as your weekend paper supplement.
Happy Birthday Gordon (19.06.09)
On Monday 15 March 1909 Selfridges Department Store celebrated its centenary. Here is the story of its founder taken from CabbieBlog’s Hidden London.
Gordon Selfridge the American department store magnet was an interesting fellow who provides a salutary moral lesson for us all. He devoted his productive years to building Selfridges into Europe’s finest shopping emporium. During that time he led a life of stern rectitude, early bedtimes and tireless work. But in 1918 his wife died and the sudden release from marital bounds rather went to his head. He took up with a pair of Hungarian-American cuties known in music-hall circles as the Dolly Sisters, and he fell into rakish ways. With a Dolly on each arm, he dined out every night, invested foolish sums on racehorses, cars, the casinos and even bought a castle in Dorset. In ten years he had spent $8 million, lost control of his department store, his racehorses, Rolls Royces and his castle. He ended up living in a small flat in Putney and travelling everywhere by bus. He died penniless and forgotten in 1947, with a smile on his face thinking of the time he had shagged the twin sisters.