Harrogate's most iconic fashion emporium secures plaque in its memory

A heritage plaque to mark the glory days of Harrogate's most famous luxury fashion store - Louis Copé - has been unveiled today by its founder's great grandson.

By Graham Chalmers
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 12:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 12:08 pm

The big occasion followed successful efforts by local property expert Alex Goldstein, with the support of Harrogate's distinguished historian Malcolm Neesam, to secure a brown plaque as part of a long-running heritage scheme launched by Harrogate Civic Society.

Alex Goldstein was on hand to watch at the brown plaque was erected at the site of the Louis Cope store which stood on the corner of Parliament Street at number 56.

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Plaque unveiled in Harrogate - Jeremy Beaumont, the owner of present-day gentleman’s clothing store Rhodes Wood, with property consultant Alex Goldstein, the great grandson of the Louis Copé shop's founder.

In the years after the First World War, this legendary shop became a focal point in Harrogate for haute couture for high society ladies and latterly those nationally and occasionally internationally.

Alex said: "I am so pleased to have been able to mark the history and story of my great grandfather, whose fashion house spanned decades and formed important memories for so many people in and around Harrogate.

"It has been lovely hearing people’s memories and visiting the Pump Rooms to actually see some of the garments that were made in his sewing rooms which are stored there.”

History of Louis Copé shop in Harrogate

The original store was established by his great grandfather Louis Copé, originally born in Poland, but who moved to Harrogate after WW1 to improve his health, attracted by the purer air to help his asthma.

The women’s fashion emporium opened its doors in 1922, a year before Bettys did, and sold haute couture to local gentry and high society.

It was also famous for having one pane of curved glass across the front façade and operated under Royal Patronage.

The designers and workrooms were upstairs, where all the clothes were made on site and the original staircase still exists in the former Wesley Barrell showroom.

Fashion shows were a regular occurrence, with clients including Queen Mary, her daughter Princess Mary and Agatha Christie, with the store itself actually featuring in the film ‘Agatha’ starring Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave.

The shop today in Harrogate

The main part of the shop is currently a gentleman’s clothing store Rhodes Wood, and owner Jeremy Beaumont has been very supportive of preserving the history of the building.

Mr Beaumont said: “When we took over the store in 1997, there were still many of the original features and cabinets in the shop, in such good quality and condition, that we still have them in the store to this day, literally 100 years later.

"The quality of the store fittings must have been superb, and to a very high standard. It is our pleasure to recognise the past history of the building, and we are delighted to host the plaque outside for everyone to see”.

If you or any of your family members have memories from Louis Copé, or even items of clothing and hats etc, please contact Alex directly – [email protected]