Bratt & Dyke – a retail dynasty

Staffordshire’s Senior Museums Officer, Chris Copp with more recent additions to Staffs Past Track

A Bratt & Dyke event at the Crown Hotel, Stone, 1924.  Bratt & Dyke staff and friends in the ballroom at the Crown Hotel. Oliver Dyke and his wife Caroline are seated centre front.  His sons Lionel and Gordon are also in this photograph. (Mr S. Dyke)
A Bratt & Dyke event at the Crown Hotel, Stone, 1924. Bratt & Dyke staff and friends in the ballroom at the Crown Hotel. Oliver Dyke and his wife Caroline are seated centre front. His sons Lionel and Gordon are also in this photograph. (Mr S. Dyke)

This month we are taking a step outside Stone and Eccleshall to have a look at what was once one of the big names in retail in north Staffordshire; familiar to many Gazette readers I’m sure.

Draper Oliver Dyke opened a shop in Hanley in 1890 with the financial support of Northwich draper and entrepreneur Henry Bratt. The business was successful and a new department store building, originally known as ‘The Central’ was built nearby on the site of the Roebuck Inn on the corner of Stafford Street and Trinity Street, opening in Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee year on 26 June 1897.

The Dyke Family, Hanley, 1895.  Oliver and Caroline Dyke with their children Lionel, Clarice and Gordon. The Dyke family later moved to Stone and lived at Woodlands on Granville Terrace.  (Mr S. Dyke)
The Dyke Family, Hanley, 1895. Oliver and Caroline Dyke with their children Lionel, Clarice and Gordon. The Dyke family later moved to Stone and lived at Woodlands on Granville Terrace. (Mr S. Dyke)

Oliver died in 1926, but his sons Gordon and Lionel took over the business. A new 3rd floor was added in 1937 at a cost of £5090 – by this point the shop spread over 4 floors on multiple levels.

Bratt & Dyke, Ground floor, Hanley, early 1950s.  Fashion accessories on the ground floor. (Mr S. Dyke)
Bratt & Dyke, Ground floor, Hanley, early 1950s. Fashion accessories on the ground floor. (Mr S. Dyke)

The next generation, Stanley and Tony Dyke, took over the management of the company in the 1950s In 1965 Bratt & Dyke bought Brookfields gentlemen’s outfitters shop on the corner of Greengate Street and St. Mary’s Gate in Stafford.

Bratt & Dyke’s Department Store, Hanley, 1897.  Bratt & Dyke’s was typical of the large and fashionable department stores that became popular towards the end of Queen Victoria’s reign. Selling a range of goods these stores took over from the arcade; instead of having to go from shop to shop you could buy goods from haberdashery to shoes all in one place. Here it is pictured on its opening day. The flags and bunting are to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The building still stands although its top floor was altered in the 1930s, and is now occupied by a number of shops and fast food outlets. (Mr S. Dyke)
Bratt & Dyke’s Department Store, Hanley, 1897. Bratt & Dyke’s was typical of the large and fashionable department stores that became popular towards the end of Queen Victoria’s reign. Selling a range of goods these stores took over from the arcade; instead of having to go from shop to shop you could buy goods from haberdashery to shoes all in one place. Here it is pictured on its opening day.
The flags and bunting are to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The building still stands although its top floor was altered in the 1930s, and is now occupied by a number of shops and fast food outlets. (Mr S. Dyke)

The company built a new shop here before closing in the late 1970s. This building was briefly Court’s furnishers is now a branch of MacDonald’s. These photographs have been kindly lent by Stanley Dyke, Stone resident of long standing, who ran the company with Tony until it was sold as a going concern in the late 1980s.

‘Demonstrations in the Basement’, Bratt & Dyke, Hanley, 1930s.   George Robey with Gordon Dyke  demonstrating ‘Granton Edge’ kitchen knives  in the kitchenware department.  Comedian, actor and  singer George Robey  was one of the greats of the music hall and was knighted in 1954, shortly before his death. Most, if not all Gazette readers will be too young to remember him on the stage, but  he also had a film career, including the role  as Falstaff in Laurence Olivier’s famous 1944  version of ‘Henry V’.  (Mr S. Dyke)
‘Demonstrations in the Basement’, Bratt & Dyke, Hanley, 1930s.
George Robey with Gordon Dyke demonstrating ‘Granton Edge’ kitchen knives
in the kitchenware department. Comedian, actor and singer George Robey
was one of the greats of the music hall and was knighted in 1954, shortly before his death. Most, if not all Gazette readers will be too young to remember him on the stage, but he also had a film career, including the role as Falstaff in Laurence Olivier’s famous 1944 version of ‘Henry V’.
(Mr S. Dyke)
 Bratt & Dyke event at the Crown Hotel, Stone, 1971. Hanley and Stafford staff at the Crown Hotel ballroom.  Stanley and Tony Dyke are seated centre front. (Mr. S. Dyke)
Bratt & Dyke event at the Crown Hotel, Stone, 1971. Hanley and Stafford staff at the Crown Hotel ballroom. Stanley and Tony Dyke are seated centre front. (Mr. S. Dyke)

These photographs and many others of Bratt & Dyke’s shops will soon available on the Staffordshire Past Track website (www.staffspasttrack.org.uk). If you have any images to lend, or any extra information, please contact the Past Track team: Staffordshire Past Track, Staffordshire Archives & Heritage, Shugborough, Milford, Stafford ST17 0XB. Tel:01889 881388. email: past.track@staffordshire.gov.uk.

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