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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
23rd April 1959 1st heliport in Britain opens in London
23rd April 1925 1st London performance of operetta Fasquita staged
23rd April 1881 Gilbert and Sullivan's opera Patience produced in London
23rd April 1775 Artist J.M.W. Turner was born in Covent Garden, London.
23rd April 1705 Richard Steele's Tender Husband, premieres in London
23rd April 1702 The Coronation of Anne I in Westminster Abbey.
23rd April 1685 The Coronation of James II (and VII of Scotland) in Westminster Abbey.
23rd April 1661 English king Charles II crowned in London
23rd April 1661 The Coronation of Charles II in Westminster Abbey.
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.