Bradford’s association with Marks & Spencer dates back to at least 1906 when a Marks’s Penny Bazaar was opened in the city.

It sold a range of items such as sewing equipment, biscuits and sheet music and, with the exception of a few luxury items, almost everything was on sale for one penny.

In marked contrast to most shops at the time, goods were displayed on tables and an ‘Admission Free’ sign outside encouraged people to browse.

A new shop opened at 38-40 Darley Street on November 29, 1929, and closed in 1935, to be replaced by a second store in Darley Street on March 29, 1935. The same year, the Bradford store was one of only three in the country, alongside Leeds and Marble Arch, to serve food to the public.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The outbreak of war had a significant impact on the store. It was used for the storage of cotton mill equipment to allow the mills to be employed as camps for German prisoners of war and was the first example of damage to company property when, on August 31, 1940, an incendiary bomb dropped on the adjacent property. The store’s night-watchman raised the alarm and assisted in fighting the fire.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Three members of staff were killed in action during the war, Sapper J Brotherton of the Royal Engineers, 2nd Lieutenant SJB Clements of the Royal Artillery and Seargent I Price of the RAF.

After the war, in 1949, Bradford’s cafe bar invited the public to come and inspect its kitchens. This was prompted by a local press report claiming that no cafe or store would dare open its kitchens for public inspection.

Staff at M&S went on to show hundreds of customers around the kitchens daily for two weeks.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The store was extended five times between 1952 and 1965, before a first-floor sales area was added in November 1976, taking the total retail space to 41,000sq ft. The store was further modernised in 1987.

The-then company chairman, Sir Stuart Rose, opened the £40 million ProLogis Park warehouse alongside the M606, which created more than 1,000 jobs.

When The Broadway opened M&S left its Darley Street home and moved further into the city centre as one of the anchor stores.