We continue with the history of the iconic Wycombe department store Murrays, which we began a two weeks ago.

A couple of years after the Murrays store expanded into the adjacent premises, which had been the Methodist church in White Hart Street, Reginald Rivett relinguished some of his responsibilities in the business.

In 1953 his son James was appointed as Managing Director, with Reginald continuing as Chairman.

In 1955 the family, in conjunction with Frank Adams, who is best known for his involvement with Wycombe Wanderers football club, purchased the old National School building. This was in White Hart Street, adjacent and to the west of the former Methodist Church.

A joint venture was entered into with Frank Adams Sports and the Trustees Savings Bank to develop the site.

The school building was demolished, and a further extension to Murrays built, adding another 28,000 sq ft of selling space.

Having seen this major development successfully completed, Reginald decided to retire to Brisley Hall, East Dereham in his native Norfolk, but remained as Chairman of Murrays.

At that time Murrays was the major department store in Buckinghamshire, with a staff of nearly 300. The 'wave canopy' above the front entrance to the store and the clock which moved up-and-down with the lifts, became Wycombe icons.

The Frank Adams sports shop was also purchased at this time, increasing the total selling space to 49,000 sq ft. Unfortunately Reginald did not enjoy his retirement for long; he died at Brisley Hall on September 6 1963, and his wife Marion took over the Chairmanship of Murrays.

In his obituary the Bucks Free Press remembered him as 'genial in character, he was a man of great drive and foresight, and an early pioneer of modern stores'. At the time Murrays was very much a family business, with James as Managing Director, Marion as Chairman, Murray a Director, and Christine and Digby working in the business.


We have been informed by Jessica, the youngest daughter of James and Marion, that James celebrated his 99th birthday on Thursday August 21st. We offer our congratulations to James.