Robson & Cooper, in Lendal, York, to close after 170 years

City shop to close after 170 years

Long-serving staff Linda McEwan, with Doug Norton and Pat Bowness at Robson & Cooper which is closing down

An old newspaper cutting showing staff outide the Lendal store

First published in News
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A BUSINESS which was founded in York more than 170 years ago, showcased its wares at the Great Exhibition and counted Queen Victoria’s son among its customers, is closing.

Long-standing leather specialist Robson & Cooper, in Lendal, will be closing its doors for the final time on August 9.

Founded in 1840, the business, which started life as a saddlery and harness maker, before evolving to include luggage repairs and retail and later sports equipment and trophies, is ceasing to trade following the death of co-owner and manager George Myerscough in May this year.

Jacqueline Young, the granddaughter of the original co-owner Thomas Robson, and the last member of the Robson family to be involved in the business, said: “George’s assets to the business were his connection with youth clubs and sport, mainly cricket and football, making him a well known and respected businessman.

“It is with great sadness that Robson & Cooper is to cease trading. It is a renowned business which has been in York for the entirety of people’s lives. Many a solicitor has purchase their first briefcase from us, and many a doctor has come to the shop for their first doctor’s bag.”

In its early days the business was operated by York Saddler Matthew Cooper, whose display at the Great Exhibition of 1851 was described as “the best in the building”, attracting the attention of the King of the Belgians and the Indian hierarchy, and winning Mr Cooper several awards. By 1890 Mr Cooper was working out of premises in Railway Street, followed by a move in 1911 after former apprentice Thomas Robson and Mr Cooper amalgamated the business and relocated to 14 Lendal, where Robson & Cooper still trades today.

Records show that in the First World War the cavalry regiments ordered their equipment from Robson & Cooper, with other customers including Queen Victoria’s son Prince Arthur, the late Duke of Gloucester, and other members of the royal family and well known names of the era, such as the Rothschild family.

Following Mr Robson’s death in 1920, at the age of 57, his widow managed the business with support from saddler and long standing employee Ernest Pinder, who became her right-hand man in the business. The business then passed to Mr Robson’s daughters. His youngest, Marion Greaves, bequeathed her share to Mr Myerscough, who had joined the firm in 1947, while his second daughter Doris Young, passed her share on to her daughter Jacqueline Young.

Mrs Young said: “Heartfelt gratitude is extended to the faithful customers who have entered these doors, whom with the staff, past and present, their friendship, trust and loyalty, have made it a pleasure to serve the citizens of this noble city of York.”

Mrs Young paid tribute to long serving members of staff Douglas Norton, who after retiring having joined the business aged 15, still returned to carry out repairs, Pat Bowness and Linda McEwan, who served 47 and 37 years with Robson & Cooper respectively.

Plans are being put in place for Miss Bowness to continue the trophy engraving side of the business following the closure of Robson & Cooper.

 

Building with links to York’s high society

FOLLOWING the closure of Robson & Cooper, its premises in Lendal will be put up for sale.

The building, known as Fitzwilliam House, was built on the site that formed part of the Priory of the Augustine Friars, an important conventional house in York.

After the suppression of the Augustinians a mansion was built early in the 17th century and became the town residence of Sir Richard Osbaldeston, and later the residence of Sir Thomas Widdrington, the Recorder of York in the time of King Charles I, and the Speaker of the House of Commons during 1664.

A later occupier of the house was Sir Thomas Rokeby, a judge known as Lawyer Rokeby who married and settled in York soon after the Restoration of Charles II. He lived in Lendal until about 1688.

The old mansion was taken down by Alderman Henry Baynes, who was Lord Mayor in 1717 and 1732. He built two houses on the site, and occupied the one nearest the chapel until his death in 1735.

The house now occupied by Robson & Cooper was for several years the residence of Sir William Wentworth, Baronet of Bretton in the West Riding.

His wife Lady Wentworth, who was the daughter of Sir William Blackett, a Northumberland baronet, died in the house in 1742, and was buried in St Martin’s Church, Coney Street.

Comments (13)

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4:51pm Sat 2 Aug 14

stu3466 says...

im glad
im glad stu3466
  • Score: -101

5:10pm Sat 2 Aug 14

BigJon says...

A big premises on Lendal becomes free......How long before someone puts in an application for another restaurant or bar?
A big premises on Lendal becomes free......How long before someone puts in an application for another restaurant or bar? BigJon
  • Score: 36

5:24pm Sat 2 Aug 14

iYorky says...

Sad to see such a nice independent store closing in York. The truth is, this will become a food establishment or chain store, because the rents are so high. Whilst some may see this as purely negative, I'm pretty such whatever takes it's place will employ more staff and more people will directly benefit.
Sad to see such a nice independent store closing in York. The truth is, this will become a food establishment or chain store, because the rents are so high. Whilst some may see this as purely negative, I'm pretty such whatever takes it's place will employ more staff and more people will directly benefit. iYorky
  • Score: 29

5:59pm Sat 2 Aug 14

nowthen says...

stu3466 wrote:
im glad
You must be a pal of James Alexander , he likes dissing independant businesses. I'll be sad to see it go , another tax dodging global chain paying minimum wages will get the thumbs up from the council.
[quote][p][bold]stu3466[/bold] wrote: im glad[/p][/quote]You must be a pal of James Alexander , he likes dissing independant businesses. I'll be sad to see it go , another tax dodging global chain paying minimum wages will get the thumbs up from the council. nowthen
  • Score: 55

6:02pm Sat 2 Aug 14

Jonlogical says...

stu3466 wrote:
im glad
Why are you glad Stu?
[quote][p][bold]stu3466[/bold] wrote: im glad[/p][/quote]Why are you glad Stu? Jonlogical
  • Score: 24

6:09pm Sat 2 Aug 14

Jack Ham says...

It's always sad to see independents with a long history close.

Sadly for this one there are too few wealthy aristocrats left with the means to buy their no doubt fine but incredibly expensive goods.

I've walked past many times and wondered how many people could afford to pay their prices. Obviously not enough.

It will be sad if the building dies become another pack-em in bar selling as much cheap booze as possible. Sadly I don't think CYC has much control over what it will become and they certainly can't afford to buy the building themselves.
It's always sad to see independents with a long history close. Sadly for this one there are too few wealthy aristocrats left with the means to buy their no doubt fine but incredibly expensive goods. I've walked past many times and wondered how many people could afford to pay their prices. Obviously not enough. It will be sad if the building dies become another pack-em in bar selling as much cheap booze as possible. Sadly I don't think CYC has much control over what it will become and they certainly can't afford to buy the building themselves. Jack Ham
  • Score: 30

7:55pm Sat 2 Aug 14

I'msohappy.com says...

stu3466 wrote:
im glad
You miserable s***. I take it your life will be more enhanced by this shop closing!
[quote][p][bold]stu3466[/bold] wrote: im glad[/p][/quote]You miserable s***. I take it your life will be more enhanced by this shop closing! I'msohappy.com
  • Score: 24

8:22pm Sat 2 Aug 14

Miles Davis says...

stu3466 wrote:
im glad
Haha! Richard Cranium uses the brain cell again!! Have a rest Stu3466. That must have tired you out. Bless. Don't have a go at the poor man dear readers, he obviously suffers from 'Brain cell deficiency syndrome'!
[quote][p][bold]stu3466[/bold] wrote: im glad[/p][/quote]Haha! Richard Cranium uses the brain cell again!! Have a rest Stu3466. That must have tired you out. Bless. Don't have a go at the poor man dear readers, he obviously suffers from 'Brain cell deficiency syndrome'! Miles Davis
  • Score: 22

10:06am Sun 3 Aug 14

CaroleBaines says...

Jack Ham wrote:
It's always sad to see independents with a long history close.

Sadly for this one there are too few wealthy aristocrats left with the means to buy their no doubt fine but incredibly expensive goods.

I've walked past many times and wondered how many people could afford to pay their prices. Obviously not enough.

It will be sad if the building dies become another pack-em in bar selling as much cheap booze as possible. Sadly I don't think CYC has much control over what it will become and they certainly can't afford to buy the building themselves.
Sensible post that. Well done!
[quote][p][bold]Jack Ham[/bold] wrote: It's always sad to see independents with a long history close. Sadly for this one there are too few wealthy aristocrats left with the means to buy their no doubt fine but incredibly expensive goods. I've walked past many times and wondered how many people could afford to pay their prices. Obviously not enough. It will be sad if the building dies become another pack-em in bar selling as much cheap booze as possible. Sadly I don't think CYC has much control over what it will become and they certainly can't afford to buy the building themselves.[/p][/quote]Sensible post that. Well done! CaroleBaines
  • Score: 14

10:41am Sun 3 Aug 14

Happytoliveinyork says...

#jobsandgrowth
#jobsandgrowth Happytoliveinyork
  • Score: -6

10:14pm Sun 3 Aug 14

Pinza-C55 says...

It's rather sad to see it go because you got a sense when you walked past that it had been there forever and that if you went back in time to the 1960s it would look exactly the same as it does now.
But the sad fact is that it means they didn't move with the times like Waterstones who moved , downsized slightly and incorporated a cafe into their business thus ensuring that the core business survives.
It's rather sad to see it go because you got a sense when you walked past that it had been there forever and that if you went back in time to the 1960s it would look exactly the same as it does now. But the sad fact is that it means they didn't move with the times like Waterstones who moved , downsized slightly and incorporated a cafe into their business thus ensuring that the core business survives. Pinza-C55
  • Score: 7

11:39am Mon 4 Aug 14

MilkandTwo says...

Well done on keeping a business going that long! it's enough work to run a business day to day - so keeping going over this length time and several generations is a real achievement.
Well done on keeping a business going that long! it's enough work to run a business day to day - so keeping going over this length time and several generations is a real achievement. MilkandTwo
  • Score: 8

12:15pm Mon 4 Aug 14

raysalaugh says...

It has come as a shock to me, reading your article, as I didn't know that George Myerscough had died. George was a man who gave so much to local life and sport around the York area. He gave so much of his time to the local youth clubs and played sport in the local leagues helping to develop the youth of today. He was a man who everyone loved to be around, a cheeky happy man, loved by many who knew him. I find it tragic that a business he loved so dearly has gone this way. It is with deep regret that I read comments from the likes of "stu3466", who has probably never done anything in his life for anybody but himself, and to have the attitude to people when a business closes whereby they lose their jobs shows what a sad man he must really be.
It has come as a shock to me, reading your article, as I didn't know that George Myerscough had died. George was a man who gave so much to local life and sport around the York area. He gave so much of his time to the local youth clubs and played sport in the local leagues helping to develop the youth of today. He was a man who everyone loved to be around, a cheeky happy man, loved by many who knew him. I find it tragic that a business he loved so dearly has gone this way. It is with deep regret that I read comments from the likes of "stu3466", who has probably never done anything in his life for anybody but himself, and to have the attitude to people when a business closes whereby they lose their jobs shows what a sad man he must really be. raysalaugh
  • Score: 22

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