Story: Department stores and shopping malls

Mary Taylor’s Wellington store

Mary Taylor’s Wellington store

‘I have set up shop!’ Mary Taylor wrote to her friend, the novelist Charlotte Brontë, from Wellington in April 1850. The shop, on the corner of Dixon and Cuba Streets, was typical of the draperies, often started by women, that expanded into department stores. By 1853 it was listed in the Wellington and southern province almanac as one of the city’s ‘principal stores’. It later became James Smith’s, a major Wellington department store until the early 1990s. Taylor reported to Brontë that she was delighted with her business. ‘The best of it is that your labour has some return.’ (Quoted in Joan Stevens, ed., Mary Taylor: friend of Charlotte Brontë. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1972, pp. 92–93.)

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How to cite this page:

Helen Laurenson, 'Department stores and shopping malls - The rise of department stores', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 May 2022)

Story by Helen Laurenson, published 11 Mar 2010