Shopping Seduction and Mr Selfridge - BBC Radio Audiobook - cheops
Lindsay Duncan reads from Lindy Woodhead's biography of Harry Gordon Selfridge, founder of the famous department store.
The men who created the first department stores - what Zola called 'great cathedrals of shopping' - made vast fortunes, but no one grasped the concept of consumption as a sensual female entertainment better than the maverick American retailer Harry Gordon Selfridge. In 1909, London's first dedicated department store built from scratch opened in a glorious burst of publicity, spearheaded by the largest advertising campaign ever mounted in the British press. In his eponymous store, Selfridge created nothing less than 'the theatre of retail'. His personal life was just as flamboyant, one of mistresses and mansions, racehorses and yachts. In this book, Lindy Woodhead tells the extraordinary story of a revolution in shopping and the rise and fall of a retail prince.
Five episodes of approximately 15 minutes each.
Harry was a philanderer, gambler, dandy and showman, but he was also the father of modern retailing.
Harry has made his reputation in America, but he is still an employee. Determined to set up a department store under his own name, he makes the move to London, where his grandiose schemes soon make an impression.
In the heady months before the First World War, the store finally takes off, with Harry boasting that he owns the third biggest attraction in town after Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. Even when war finally comes, it's business as usual for Selfridge.
The war is finally over. With nobody to restrain him after the deaths of his wife and mother, Selfridge's hedonistic cravings rage unchecked. Unfortunately for Harry, the most glamorous pastime of the period is gambling.
With the threat of World War II on the horizon, profits at Selfridge's are down. The board advises belt-tightening and moderation, but Harry is unaccustomed to restraint. His excesses prove to be his downfall.
First broadcast 22-26/10/2007 on BBC Radio 4.
Type : mpeg 1 layer III
Bitrate : 128
Mode : joint stereo
Frequency : 48000 Hz
Encoder : Lame 3.96
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