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Thursday 15 November 2018

Birthday party treat in store as Arnotts hits 175

Model Alannah Beirne checks out Arnotts’ 1843 Tea Rooms. Photo: Arthur Carron Photography
Model Alannah Beirne checks out Arnotts’ 1843 Tea Rooms. Photo: Arthur Carron Photography
The department store’s Santa chair. Photo: Arthur Carron

Surviving the Great Famine, the Easter Rising and every recession thrown our way, Arnotts is about to celebrate its 175th birthday.

Established in 1843 by two young shopkeepers, John Cannock and Andrew White, the Dublin store is still going strong.

To celebrate its milestone anniversary tomorrow, Arnotts is holding a series of activities throughout the month.

These include a Victorian-inspired Afternoon Tea experience in the 1843 Tea Rooms, limited-edition commemorative products from a pop-up 1843 store and an exhibition in the Arnotts 175 Museum.

Ryan Tubridy will broadcast his RTE morning show live from the Henry Street entrance from 9am to 10am, followed by live performan- ces, magic shows and a pop-up wine bar.

"We're delighted to celebrate this historic moment in time," said Arnotts managing director Donald McDonald.

"We hope that our exhibition will awaken memories for our customers, be it visits to Santa Claus at Arnotts or cheering the Dublin team in the Arnotts jersey."

With famine raging across the country, the early years were tough for Cannock and White.

In 1845 two bankers, Andrew Reid and his son Patrick, lent the company £6,000, allowing the next-door building to be added.

Shelled

Three years later White had died, but another entrepreneur came along - John Arnott. He invested £6,000 in the store and its success was assured.

The future of Arnotts was in doubt in 1894 when a fire broke out, destroying the entire store.

However, the following year, plans were drawn up to rebuild.

The building also had a lucky escape during the Rising, being located just far enough down Henry Street not to be shelled or seriously damaged by fire.

Legend has it that Padraig Pearse stopped in Arnotts to settle his bill before walking to the GPO.

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