111 The Bon Marche Centre,
241-251 Ferndale Road, Brixton, London, SW9 8BJ
41b Lady Lane Industrial Estate, Hadleigh, Suffolk, IP7 6BQ
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Model Projects studio is based in the Iconic Brixton building the Bon Marche Center.
Opening in 1877, Brixton’s Bon Marché can claim to be the first purpose built department store in the UK, and also the first steel frame building in the country. Built between 1876-1877 and named (and modelled) on the original Bon Marché in Paris, the store was opened on 1st April 1877 at a cost of £70,000, and built to the designs of Lambeth architects, Messrs H. Parsons & Rawlings.
Staff accommodation was provided in a specially constructed large block opposite (Topland House) at 240-250 Ferndale Road, which contained over 100 apartments, complete with male and female dining rooms. Intriguingly, Topland House had a direct internal connection to the main Bon Marché building via two tunnels under Ferndale Road, one for men, the other for women.
The business was absorbed by Selfridges in 1926, before being bought up by the John Lewis Partnership in 1940, with the building continuing to trade under the name of Bon Marché up until mid-1975. Bon Marché Brixton ceased trading on the weekend of the 7th June 1975, with a staff leaving party on the 2nd June marking the end.
Over the years the building was split up into retail concession units, attracting High Street names like Top Shop, Top Man, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Barratt Shoes. This time the initiative proved hugely successful, and helped kickstart the regeneration of Brixton Town Centre. Ten years later, The Bon Marché Business Centre was opened, with major refurbishment work taking place on all floors.