Whiteleys  

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Whiteleys was London's first department store, located in the Bayswater area of London, England. The store's main entrance was located on Queensway. It is now a shopping centre.

The original Whiteleys department store was created by William Whiteley, who started a drapery shop at 31 Westbourne Grove in 1863. By 1867 it had expanded to a row of shops containing 17 separate departments. By 1890 over 6,000 staff were employed in the business, most of them living in company-owned male and female dormitories, having to obey 176 rules and working 7am to 11pm, six days a week. Whiteley also bought massive farmlands and erected food-processing factories to provide produce for the store and for staff catering.

The first store, described as 'an immense symposium of the arts and industries of the nation and of the world', was devastated in an enormous fire in 1897, one of the largest fires in London's history.

The current building was designed by John Belcher and J. Joass, and was opened by the Lord Mayor of London in 1911. It was the height of luxury at the time, including both a theatre and a golf-course on the roof. It appears in a number of early 20th-century novels. In the 1970s, the upper floors of the building were used by International Computers Limited (ICL) for offices and training facilities.

The department store closed down in 1981 and the building purchased by a firm called the Whiteleys Partnership, later acquired by the Standard Life Assurance Company.

In 1989, after extensive remodelling of the interior, Whiteleys was re-opened as a shopping centre. The current Whiteleys contains a large number of shops and places to eat including Marks & Spencer, Books etc, Starbucks and a sushi bar. Leisure facilities include an Odeon cinema and bowling alley.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Whiteleys" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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