Browns of Chester

34-40 Eastgate Row, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 1LF

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Previously one of Chester's landmark stores established in 1780 by Susannah Brown. It had five floors of fashion, beauty and homeware, a Crypt cafe and 3rd floor restaurant. It traded in Chester from 1791 to 2021 and was once regarded as the Harrods of the North.

Some of the glass roof on the second floor has been concealed as it has been covered by the construction of the third floor extension containing the main Café and Kalmora Spa. It can still be seen by carefully looking through the suspended ceiling now covering it.

The oldest part of the store is housed in the Grade I listed Crypt Chambers, designed by T. M. Penson incorporating Georgian, Tudor and Gothic facades. Construction was completed in 1858. The building incorporates part of the Chester Rows. On the front of the tower at Row level is a blank scroll, on the east face is a recessed panel containing the initials W. B. (for William Brown), on the west face the initials are C. B. (for Charles Brown) and on the rear face is a scroll inscribed AD 1858: CRYPT CHAMBERS. The Gothic facade frontage is built over a medieval undercroft dating from the twelfth century. The undercroft currently contained The Tea Press tea room. Another extension to the building was completed in 1965 to link Browns to the nearby Grosvenor shopping centre. A new three-story extension was built in 2002 on the site formerly occupied by the offices of the Chester Chronicle.

It was acquired by Debenhams in 1976. Browns was the only store in the group to retain its own trading name alongside the standard 'Debenhams' branding. Debenhams entered liquidation in early 2021 and all remaining stores closed during May that year.

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* Not currently open to the public.

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Tel: 0844 561 6161

Tel: 0844 561 6161

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