The Old Bon Marche Store

The Old Bon Marche Store.
The Bon Marche Store, Abertillery was constructed in about 1885-86 and was originally a two-story building opposite the Medical Hall on the junction of Somerset Street and King Street, Abertillery.

The name Bon Marche is French for “Good Market”. I believe the name was originally taken by its then owners Messrs T. Davies and J. H. Powell. Though, as seen below it may have been called by another name until 1890. (More research is needed).

Messrs T. Davies and J. H. Powell.
From 1886 it was owned by Messrs T. Davies and J. H. Powell.

Messrs J. H. Powell and Griffiths Owen Jones.
In 1894 Mr T. Davies left the business and Mr Griffith Owen Jones entered into the partnership and it became Messrs Mr J. H. Powell & Mr Griffiths Owen Jones. 

Mr J. H. Powell.
Mr J. H. Powell of Aberdare was a former High Sheriff of that county.

Mr Griffiths Owen Jones.
Mr Griffiths Owen Jones was born in Newcastle Emlyn, Cardiganshire in 1864. 
Mr Jones was a keen sportsman and one of the pioneers of the Abertillery Rugby Football Club, Mr Jones was the donor of the “Bon Marche’ Cup” which was given for rugby competition. He was president of the Abertillery Rugby Club from 1908. He also donated a cup for the annual Abertillery Schools Swimming Gala. 

Messrs Powell and Jones later launched out in other localities with branches of their Bon Marche stores in Blackwood, Aberdare and Ebbw Vale, all owned by Mr Jones himself.

On August 7th 1894 the Bon Marche nearly burned down from a chimney fire.

In January 1899 to keep pace with the increasing trade Messrs Powell and Jones extended their showrooms and made extensive alterations (as seen on the image above). In the same year Messrs Powell and Jones applied to the council for permission to rent the wall at the railway station for the use of advertising the Bon Marche, it was granted at £5 per year for seven years contract.

The New Bon Marche Proposal.
In October 1901 Messrs Powell and Jones decided to add a much larger grander building north of their present premises, a building similar in style and size to the new Pontlottyn Store that was constructed three years earlier. They presented the plans to the architect Mr G. C. Hillard to the council and were approved on October 23rd 1901.

The New Bon Marche Store.
In October 1901 the building of the new Bon Marche Store on Somerset Street began.
Following is a Link to – The New Bon Marche.



Notes of Interest – The Bon Marche was not part of the Bon Marche Department Stores chain as we know it today. That company was founded in 1890 by Mr Edward Nordhoff, in Seattle, Washington U.S.A. The store at Abertillery was named the Abertillery Bon Marche, the stores in the other towns owned by Mr G. O. Jones were also known as the Abertillery Bon Marche. It is however a point of contention as to when the Abertillery store took the name of Bon Marche? Did Messrs Powell and Davies originally call their store the Bon Marche in 1885-86 or did they later name it after the Seattle store in 1890?  

The name of Bon Marche is French for “Good Market” the name was taken by Messrs Powell and Davies in the latter 19th century. 

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