Liberty is a historic department store located on Regent Street in the West End shopping district of London.
In 1874, with a £2,000 loan from his future father-in-law, Arthur Lasenby Liberty set up a shop on Regents Street selling ornaments, fabric and artistic household objects from various other countries. Eighteen months later, Mr. Liberty had fully repaid the loan, expanding into more and more space along Regents Street, adding carpets and furniture into his shop.
Becoming one of the most fashionable places to shop in London, Liberty launched an in-house apparel line to challenge the fashions of Paris. With these contemporary in-house designers, the store became associated with the new style of Art Nouveau, referred to in Italy as Stile Liberty, after the store of its origins.
Today’s Liberty is housed in a Tudor revival building. It was in 1924 that this new store was constructed from the timbers of two ships. The department store was planned around three wells that formed the main focus of the building. Each of these wells was surrounded by smaller rooms to create a homey feel. Many of the rooms had fireplaces, which still exist today. The wells created a platform to drape exotic rugs and quilts, with side rooms for the display of smaller items.
Arthur Lasenby Liberty died in 1917, seven years before the completion of today’s majestic Liberty home, but his name will live on forever as one of the most prestigious stores in London. Stop by, if only just to browse the multiple floors of clothing and home goods, and the design of the building itself.