Debenhams Reports Boards Which Protected Looted Shop To Become A National Treasure
Released on: August 25, 2011, 2:39 pm
Debenhams has announced that hundreds of goodwill messages
written on boards covering windows smashed during rioting in Clapham
Junction are set to become a national treasure.
High street store Debenhams has decided that they should be preserved to show how
British people rallied around after the unprecedented street disturbances.
It believes the words on the boards make them a valuable piece of history, reminding
everyone how local people felt, and that the violence and destruction was the
product of a tiny minority.
Said Debenhams Battersea store manager, Neil Roberts: "The generosity of the people
of Clapham and Battersea has transformed plain pieces of wood into a testament for
"Their words of support are proof that, in times of adversity, Londoners still have
the strength of character to stand up and offer a helping hand."
So many messages of support were scrawled on the boards covering Debenhams'
ransacked Clapham Junction store that they quickly became a local landmark.
Visitors came from all over London - and even a few from overseas - to see what had
been written, and to add a message of their own.
Among the messages were: "We have taken Clapham back. The rioters won't stop our
community". Others said: "Clapham, we love you. Get well soon", and "We have
lived and loved here for 14 years. How dare you destroy our amazing community".
So many messages of support were written that they filled every available inch of
the boards, each measuring 9ft by 6ft.
Neil Roberts at Debenhams said: "While looting and destruction grabbed the
headlines, the voices of ordinary people went virtually unheard.
"These boards, tell us, in their own words, how they felt at that time. They have
become priceless pieces of social documentary.
"After the riots, hundreds of local people turned up to sweep away the broken glass
and to help us get our store up and running again. We didn't have to ask. Instead,
they came and did all that they could to rebuild their community again.
"These boards record the very essence of that human spirit."
The boards have now been taken down and are being preserved carefully by Debenhams.
Conversations have been taking place to try and find a home for them in a prominent
location where the general public can come and view them.
Debenhams is the second largest department store chain in the UK with a strong
presence in key product categories including women's clothing, men's clothing,
childrenswear, furniture and
health and beauty. Debenhams operates 167 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Debenhams also has 61 international franchise stores in 24 countries and six Magasin
stores in Denmark. Debenhams’ online stores are available at www.debenhams.com and www.debenhams.ie.
Designers at Debenhams include Preen, Jonathan Saunders, Jonathan Kelsey, Roksanda
Ilincic, Ted Baker, Jeff Banks, Jasper Conran, Erickson Beamon, FrostFrench, Henry
Holland, Betty Jackson, Ben de Lisi, Julien Macdonald, Melissa Odabash, Jane Packer,
Pearce Fionda, Janet Reger, John Rocha, Lisa Stickley, Eric Van Peterson and Matthew
33 Wigmore Street
Back to previous page
Submit your press release