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The Milan Bar

The history of Grant’s Department Store lives on in this building.

This pub occupies the ground floor of a development on the site of Grant’s Department Store. The Grant Brothers were drapers, specialising in dressmaking and millinery. A milliner makes or sells hats, although the name originally meant a seller of goods from Milan.

A framed print and text about the original Grant Bros premises.

The text reads: The decorative lettering above this Lloyds No.1 Bar records that this was once ‘London House’, occupied by Grant Brothers, ‘General and Fancy Drapers’. The Word “Millinery”, is also recorded above this bar. The term derives from “Milanery”, meaning luxury goods from Milan, but later came to mean “women’s hats”.
Richard and William Grant began trading in a small shop, next to the Greyhound, on the east side of High Street in 1877. The brothers soon extended into the Greyhound, once Croydon’s leading inn and recorded as early as 1493.
Numbers 14, 16 and 18 on the west side of High Street were completed for Grant Brothers by 1896. By 1918 Grants had taken over the premises next door. This Lloyds No.1 Bar occupies the area where these buildings join. The company continued to expand, having in its heyday seven trading floors, and over 1,000 employees.

A framed print and text about John Ruskin.

The text reads: The eminent Victorian art critic and social reformer John Ruskin had family links with this area. As a young boy, he often visited his aunt who lived in Market Street. A few doors away was The Old King’s Head pub, where Ruskin’s grandmother was landlady.
The Old King’s Head was built in the 18th century in a place of The Three Goats. The Three Goats referred to the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers (shoemakers), who used goatskin leather from Cordova to make boots.
The pub, which stood at the southern end of old Market Place triangle, was one of many in the area. Others on a map of 1889 include The Robinson Crusoe, and a patriotic group: The Britannia, The Victory, The Royal Oak, and The Prince Of Wales.

A framed print and text about Market Place.

The text reads: The development housing this Lloyds No.1 Bar covers Croydon’s centuries-old Market Place, a triangle formed by High Street and Crown Hill. The town’s market charter was obtained from King Edward I in 1273, by the Archbishop pf Canterbury, who was Lord of the Manor.
In the 1720s, writer Daniel Defoe described Croydon as “a great corn market for London”. At this time the Market House, Croydon’s first Town Hall, stood in High Street. Stalls in the Centre of the Market Place became permanent buildings, known as Middle Row, a name later used for the whole of the market.
The area was redeveloped in the 1890’s. Most of the old buildings were demolished, and Middle Street was realigned. A Saturday Market survived in Surrey Street, known in the 16th century as Butcher Row.

A framed print of Market Place.

A canvas artwork entitled ‘Mixed Media 2002’, by Rachel Macfayden.

A canvas painting of the local area.

An external photograph of the building’s design features, from its original use – Grant’s Department Store.

Text across the building shows what the department store used to stock, including lace, gloves, silk and dresses.

An external photograph of the building’s name – Grants.

The name is still used today, after its days of being Grant’s Department Store.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk