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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
18th November 1905 George Bernard Shaws Major Barbara, premieres in London
18th November 1852 State funeral of duke of Wellington (London)
18th November 1836 Born today: William Schwenck Gilbert, London, composer (Gilbert and Sullivan)
Once the Largest Furniture Shop in the World was based here.
Location: 149 Tottenham Court Road
Description: Now a retail and apartment complex on the east side of Tottenham Court Road, close to the junction with Euston Road, is where Maples Furniture Store used to be. Today it's a supermarket and computer store.
Sir John Blundell Maple (1845-1903) was a self-made, and perhaps the most successful of all Victorian retail entrepreneurs. He achieved great wealth, became a politician, a horserace breeder and a member of the Prince of Wales's set. His emporium here in London's Tottenham Court Road furnished everyone who was anyone in Victorian society and was better known as The Largest Furniture Shop in the World.
Maples manufactured their own luxury furniture in a complex eventually so vast that by the 1880s it occupied an area where once stood 200 houses. They were timber importers, and exporters of furniture and fittings to all parts of the world. They used steam power and electricity, had a fleet of horse-drawn vans, depository and showrooms, and employed a vast workforce.
Maples furnished palaces all over the world, including Tsar Nicholas's Winter Palace, the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna, all the great hotels, and town and country homes.
Prestigious British embassies were all furnished by Maples.
In 1997 the store was declared bankrupt and was taken over by the retailer Allders.
Madness lead singer Suggs grew up in a nice flat above Maple's on the corner with Grafton Way.