History & Heritage

The Jarrold business was started in Woodbridge, Suffolk in 1770 by John Jarrold.  The company moved to Norwich in 1823 under the leadership of John Jarrold ll and has developed to be, probably, the largest and longest standing privately owned business in the city.

The involvement of the founding family continues with three members of the seventh generation of the Jarrold family working within the company. From its roots as a grocer and draper, for many years its core businesses were printing, retailing and publishing, with a growing interest in the development of its property assets from the 1990s onwards. Since 2005 the business has concentrated on its retail activities and the development of its property assets whilst growing its business services activities through its training and facilities management operations.

As the company has been based in the same premises for many years, it has accumulated a large archive relating to its history. In 2010, with support from Norwich HEART, the Norfolk Record Office and the John Jarrold Trust, an archivist was recruited to catalogue the archives, most of which are now held at the Norfolk Record Office. The catalogue information can be accessed via www.nrocat.norfolk.gov.uk and material can be accessed at the Norfolk Record Office.

In 2019 the company published Jarrold: 250 Years a History, the first history of the company to be published in nearly 100 years. Copies are available to purchase in the department store and branches or online here

From the archive materials a Heritage Wall relating the history of the company was produced. This is situated outside The Pantry restaurant on the top floor of the department store in Norwich. To find out more about our history visit our retail website.

The gallery of photographs above shows a selection of the illustrative materials held within the archive.

The John Jarrold Printing Museum has now been transferred to the care of Norwich Printing Museum. The bulk of the collection is now in storage.  Norwich Printing Museum has set up a small museum at Blickling  is seeking a new site to open again as a working printing museum.