Monday, 2 February 2015

What ever happened to 'Brown Muffs' of Bradford?

One of the things that attracts me to vintage clothes is the history behind the people that may have worn the clothes or the shops they bought them from. A friend kindly passed on a 1970's brown skirt and jacket suit for my vintage shop with the label 'Brown Muffs' of Bradford.

 I have never heard of this label before so started to do a bit of research. It turns out this was a very well known prestigious department store, known as the 'Harrods of the North' , started in 1814 and continued trading until House of Fraser took it over in 1978. What I particular love about this store is that it was started up by a woman, Elizabeth Brown who had a good business sense and quickly established the store as one of the best in the area.

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A timely reminder of how Bradford used to be a financially thriving, popular place to shop. Sadly in recent times we have seen the economic decline of the city, a real shame when you reflect on it's influential history. I have been looking for vintage clothes shops in Bradford city and haven't found any, If anyone knows of any I would love to hear from you? It surprises me as with university students and plenty of creativity in the city you would think it would be a viable business opportunity with demand. You don't have to go far out of the city to visit Saltaire and Howarth where there are plenty of good vintage shops. Both which deserve their own blog posts.


It was these thoughts that led me to read more about the progression of the city and came across the exciting plans for the development of the subterranean tunnels in the city. Work has begun on developing these forgotten tunnels into a creative space for young entrepreneurs and artists, to include bars, restaurants, Victorian style shops and market stalls.

The development is reported to be aimed at encouraging 18-30 year olds to start up their small business here, with lower rents and easier contract terms.

These tunnels were thriving music venues in the 1960's with many famous artists playing small gigs, including The Pretty Things (1964), Jimmy Hendrix, The Beatles, Rod Stewart. Shirley Crabtree (Big Daddy) owned 'The Little Fat Black Pussy Cat' club which was unlicensed but well known for northern soul nights and attracting a wide range of class acts in the 1970's.

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 I think this is a really positive step in re-establishing the innovative culture that Bradford clearly once had. You can read more information about this project at and I for one am looking forward to watching how this develops and hope it is a big success.

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This is the kind of place that I would love to set up my first All About Eve Vintage shop, (sadly I don't think I can pass for 30 and under any more!)


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