Whiteley’s Folly

I’ve just finished reading the above book by Linda Stratmann. It was something that caught my eye in one of those discount book shops because it was the sort of thing I like to both read and write about myself – a quirky, interesting tale about a quirky, interesting person – with a mysterio{7B925BF2-842C-4A94-956C-3ED10051CEF5}Img100us murder thrown in!

It’s about William Whitely, a Victorian businessman who virtually invented the concept of the department store. He started out as a draper who quickly became successful because he could undercut his rivals; then with his profits he kept adding to the range of things he sold, buying up neighbouring shops until he owned virtually a whole street in London where you could get pretty much anything you needed.

He was a clever, if not entirely trustworthy self-publicist, and to back up his claim that there was nothing he couldn’t provide or obtain for his customers he used to tell some rather unlikely stories. One was that as a prank or bet someone asked him to provide them with a second-hand coffin, which he duly did.

What really prompted this posting was a comment I liked by the local paper regarding the veracity of the coffin story, which it described as “…a silly cock-and-bull tale meant to glorify Mr W. The concocter, (who tells the tale out of his own head, and evidently has enough wood to make another…)

About ramblesofawriter

Writer, thinker, tea drinker.
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