The H.Samuel story began in 1862 when Harriet Samuel took over her father-in-law's clock-making business in Liverpool. Harriet moved the business to Manchester's Market Street and ran the mail order side. Her son developed the retail area.
The first H.Samuel retail store opened in Preston in 1890, closely followed by branches in Rochdale and throughout Lancashire. To accommodate the growing business, the company moved to large headquarters in Birmingham in 1912.
After the war, Harriet's grandsons Gilbert and Robert took over as Chairman and Vice Chairman. In 1948, the company was successfully floated on the Stock Exchange.
Gilbert was awarded a CBE for political and public services, became a Queen's Sheriff for the City of London and was elected Master of the Clockmakers Company. Meanwhile, the number of H.Samuel stores rose to over 200 nationwide.
After the brothers' deaths in the late 1970s, Robert's son took over as Chairman. In 1984 he led an acquisition of the James Walker Group, which doubled the company's presence in the UK.