Brompton Road is undoubtably most notable for Harrods, the largest department store in Europe. The shop’s history is like a kind of capitalist fairytale: born as a humble draper’s and grocer’s in 1849, today it is a monumental icon of retail owned by the sate of Qatar. Its meteoric rise began in the 1850s, as the original owner’s son began to expand it from a one-room shop with two employees to a much larger premises with over a hundred staff. In 1883, however, disaster struck when a fire destroyed it. Nevertheless, Harrods not only filled all his Christmas orders, he turned a record profit and soon rebuilt. By 1898, Harrods installed the UK’s first escalator. Waiters held trays of brandy at the top, to sooth patrons ruffled by the ride. 



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