Expanding an empire
In 1935 John Wakefield moved the store into its current location at 11 West Street, which was the site of Boots The Chemist at the time. The store still utilizes some of the original Boots mahogany cabinets for display to this day.
Jim Wakefield took over the jewellers in the 1930’s, whilst John Wakefield started expanding his empire locally to accommodate each of his sons. Fortunate in his flair for business, John opportunistically bought the butcher’s shop at 59a West Street (next door to his sweet shop), making an offer whilst the owner was suitably inebriated. He later turned both units into Wakefields Outfitters, a business which also survives to this day.
This photo from 1935 shows the Café and China Shop at 8 East Street
The Wakefields dominated business in Horsham town for decades. In addition to the sweet shop, outfitters and jewellers, John Wakefield opened a China shop in East Street as well as operating a huge café, running from the current Clarks shoe shop unit, all along the first floor to the current Wakefields Jewellers site. The cafe offered shoppers a chance to relax, eat and indulge in a cup of coffee, freshly roasted on the premises. It also catered for wealthy clients at private residences, including the Queen at Windsor and was among the country’s largest importers of Mumm Champagne.
Whilst John continued to build upon the Wakefield name, Jim Wakefield gained a reputation as being a stickler when it came to maintaining high standards at the jewellers. An advocate of impeccable customer service, John even introduced a pulley system that ran from the front of the shop into the workshop to further speed up repairs turnaround times. Whilst the pulley system may be long gone, the workshop still remains an integral part of the Wakefields business to this day.