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The History of Harvey Nichols

In 1831, Benjamin Harvey opened a small linen shop in a terraced house on the corner of Knightsbridge and Sloane Street. 190 years on, the name Harvey Nichols is synonymous all over the world with luxury, high-end fashion, unique and established labels, must-have accessories and fine dining.

Image source: Harvey Nichols

As soon as its doors opened the business began to grow. Four years later, in 1835, the store took over the property next door, and continued to expand as the decades went on. The second part of the renowned pairing came along in 1841 with the hiring of James Nichols, who was promoted to management in 1845. The alliance between the two families was further cemented in 1848 after Nichols married Anne, Harvey’s niece, a year after the birth of Benjamin Charles, Harvey’s son and heir.

In 1850 Benjamin Harvey passed away and left the business to his wife Anne, who partnered with Nichols to create Harvey Nichols & Co. Their control of the business continued until their deaths in the early 1870s, with young Benjamin Charles Harvey becoming the sole partner.

The business had grown so much that by 1874 the whole block between Seville Street and Sloane Street was the property of the company. Eventually the space was knocked down to make way for the purpose built store that remains there to this day, designed by CW Stevens, the architect behind Claridge’s, Harrods and the Park Lane Hotel.

Image source: Harvey Nichols

In 1975 the store opened Harvey’s, its first restaurant, which became a favourite of Princess Diana. This firmly established the importance of sumptuous food and elegant dining as part of the Harvey Nichols experience. Now all UK stores contain restaurants, cafés or brasseries, and the company also owns and operates the iconic riverside restaurant at the top of OXO Tower on the South Bank.

The Leeds location in the lavish Victoria Quarter was the first store outside London, beginning the national expansion of the brand in 1996. As of 2021 there are seven Harvey Nichols stores in the UK and Ireland, as well as the unique Beauty Bazaar in the Liverpool ONE shopping centre, consisting of three floors of fragrance, beauty and treatments. There are also five stores abroad – one in Riyadh, one in Dubai, two in Hong Kong and one in Kuwait.

Harvey Nichols is more than just a store – it’s a ‘club that doesn’t require a membership’. Every element of the customer experience is curated, from their carefully chosen selection of exclusive, niche and classic labels, to the opportunity to enjoy fine dining in every location.

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