Family clothing specialist celebrates 120th birthday

Bell and Sons
Bell and Sons

A fourth generation family-run menswear specialist is celebrating its 120th birthday.

Bell and Sons, in Alnwick, is toasting the marvellous milestone this year.

The shop, on Bondgate Within, is run by Stephen Bell, whose great-grandfather Robert Edwin Bell started the business in Clayton Street, Newcastle, in 1897.

The long-running clothing company opened its Alnwick store in 1983, continuing the family name and building on the fine tradition which had been established.

Stephen is delighted to reach the 120-year milestone.

Explaining the history, he said: “The business was started in 1897 at 103 Clayton Street by Robert Edwin Bell and a year later, 107 Clayton Street opened. Shirts, ties, underwear and knitwear were stocked in 103, while 107 stocked hats, caps, jackets, raincoats and trousers.

“His sons Leslie and Thomas joined the business in the 1920s and a further shop was opened in Gateshead and the firm prospered.

“I joined the company in 1975, and in 1983 a menswear shop in Alnwick became available. I came in and have been here and run it ever since.

“In 1996, my father retired and closed the remaining shop in Newcastle. I became the sole owner of the Alnwick business, carrying on the family name.

“I have seen changes since 1983; in the shop layout, the styles and prices and the expansion of the hirewear department for weddings and proms.

“There has also been a move back to buying British in recent years and where we can we try to get a lot of British knitwear, belts, cufflinks, caps, ties, coats and our handmade Barker shoes.”

Moving into the 21st century and the store stocks a complete range of menswear clothing and accessories online from brands including Fynch Hatton, Claudio Lugli and Brook Taverner, among others.

The shop delivers its stock across the UK, Europe, North America and other selected international destinations.

For more information, visit www.bellsofalnwick.co.uk

○ To celebrate the 120-year milestone, the shop is running a competition to win a pair of hand-painted £250 Barker brogues. To enter, like the Bell and Sons Menswear Facebook page, share and like the competition post and tag a friend. The deadline is the end of June.