The Emporium was built here a century and more ago by Joseph Rushbrooke on the site of an inn called the Cross Keys. Joseph's father came to Ampthill in 1837 and established a drapery business at 7 Church Street, but later moved to the opposite side of Market Square (now an antiques shop and a florists). In addition to drapery the firm (known as Peck's from 1916) sold household goods and furniture first from a shop at 4 Bedford Street, then from a corrugated iron building in the Oxlip, where the Oxlet car park is now, and ultimately from the impressive purpose built store now known as the Emporium. It is an amusing thought that some of the new furniture bought here in the early 1900's by young couples setting up home is now being sold from the same premises as antiques for purchase by contemporary buyers looking for the same style, quality and value.
The photograph of our Bedford Street premises gives but a small idea of the extensive warehouse of four floors devoted to Furniture, Carpets, and Gents Outfitting, etc. The latter department, including Hats, Hosiery, Bespoke and Ready-to-wear Tailoring to fit both the figure and the purse of the wearer, will be found on the left on entering.
Near by is the boot and shoe room, well stocked with all kinds of footwear for man, woman, and child, at prices which defy competition.
A considerable portion of the ground floor is devoted to the Furnishing Departments, which with the China and Glass in the basements below, form one of the most extensive for many miles around.
Pianofortes, Cycles, Carpets, Pictures, Linoleums, Mail carts, and domestic machinery are prominent features here.
On the first floor will be found a large assortment of Fancy Velvet Moquette and leather covered Drawing and Dining Room Suites and every requisite for the comfortable and tasteful decoration of any home.
The photographic views give but a limited idea of these, and also of the Bedroom suites, Bedsteads, Bedding, and Toilet Ware displayed in this room.
The Kitchen Furniture and Ironmongery departments on the top floor are stocked with every variety of Culinary Requisites, Broom, Brushes, and the thousand-and-one articles required for domestic use all classified in order, thus saving customers time and unnecessary trouble.
In the Workshop, Furniture Repairing, Re-polishing and Upholstering, together with Remaking and Purifying of Bedding is undertaken and turned out with the utmost care and despatch, for which estimates are given free if required.
A visit to our establishment will be esteemed, as we feel confident that an inspection of the goods on view in our showrooms cannot fail to impress our customers even if they do not desire to purchase at the present moment.
It is no unusual experience for ladies to go shopping in neighbouring towns and the West End of London, and on their return here see something that they like better than the article they have bought, and as cheap or cheaper.