How long has Knight and Lee been open in Portsmouth for?

THE oldest department store in Portsmouth is set to close, following a shock announcement.

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 3:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 6:59 pm
Knight & Lees on the corner of Elm Grove and Grove Road South 1949.

John Lewis and Partners confirmed the Knight and Lee store on Palmerston Road, Southsea, will be closing this weekend. 

The store has been closed for the day and staff were informed of the news in an announcement in January

With 127 jobs set to be lost as a result of the closure. 

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Knight & Lee has been a fixture of Southsea for over a century and the company is known for its employee ownership scheme. 

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John Lewis announces that Knight & Lee in Southsea will close

Here is how long it has been open for:  

When did it open? 

It started as a lace business, which operated in Queen Street, run by William Winks but by 1865 Frederick Winks had taken over the business and he moved it to Palmerston Road in 1874. 

He expanded the business and increased it's offering to become a department store. 

The company was then bought by brothers-in-law Jesse Knight and Edward Herbert Soden Lee in 1887. 

They greatly expanded the business to include a novel boyswear department which was followed by a menswear department. 

Knight & Lee was a popular place to work at the start of the 20th century and there was a waiting list of people hoping to get a job with the company.

In the years following they expanded shop by shop until eventually a considerable distance of Palmerston Road fell under the Knight & Lee umbrella.

In 1908, they bought a fishmonger’s shop on the corner of Stanley Lane and Palmerston Road.

Mr Knight died in 1922 and Mr Lee passed away two years later in 1924. 

John Lewis Partnership purchased the store in the 1930s as part of its provincial expansion plan and it is one of only two stores to retain its original name. 

And the deal proved to be a success with turnover increasing to £100,000 in 1937 – which would be the equivalent of £4,762,650.60 in 2019.