Kingsway Stores at Former Manchester House owned by Zaccheus Archibald Williams.
While walking during my dry run test with Lola on Saturday I came across something intriguing as God may have wanted and in all my four years of documenting old structures and particularly this building that I found out it’s facade could be Egyptian Revival, I stumbled upon this inscription which literally means “Kingsway Stores”, one of Nigeria’s best department stores over the years. Established in 1948 by the United African Company, formerly the Royal Niger Company and also was tagged the first store to introduce the “Father Christmas” inside the stores for children during the Christmas period. It’s still standing and currently mostly used by Red Tag, Mr, Biggs on its facade point and a few other offices and smaller stores.
The capture of Lagos presented an opportunity for some foreign merchants to invest in retail and merchandise outlets for their produce imports. However, the traditional open market system and fairs like that of those in Mexico, proved to be a major competitor for the shops. A type of the modern shop that later emerged thereafter, is the department store, characterized as a large shop with sales upwards of 100,000 pounds. It was incoporated with an equity capital of about 4,000,000 pounds. The store brought in a mixture of general consumer goods and fabrics and goods mostly common to western consumers. There were already local markets like you have Balogun, Idumota and the rest but the establishment of UTC, Leventis and Chellarams brought an unhealthy competition because they middle class and rich white elite patronised these high end stores and which also provided goods and services that the local markets could not provide, especially the services.
Ps: I’m not quite sure when this was constructed but most likely between 1920 and 1948, the latter the date when the store was established, and it was occupied by Mr. Zaccheus Williams for a long time before possibly handing over to the stores.
#ByHisgraceforHisglory #colonialfootprints #coloniallagos #ElizabethanIILagos #colonialhistory #lagosdepartmentstores