Jenners has maintained its position on Edinburgh’s Princes Street since 1838 when it was founded by Charles Jenner FRSE (1810-1893), a linen draper by trade and Charles Kennington and known as “Kennington & Jenner”. The store was run for many years by the Douglas-Miller family, who were descendants of James Kennedy, who took charge of Jenners in 1881.
The original buildings that formed the department store were destroyed by fire in 1892 and in 1893 the Scottish architect William Hamilton Beattie was appointed to design the new store which subsequently opened in 1895. This new building is designated as a category A listed building and it is noted by the statutory listing that, at Charles Jenner’s insistence, the building’s caryatids were intended ‘to show symbolically that women are the support of the house’. The new store included many technical innovations such as electric lighting and hydraulic lifts.
Known as the “Harrods of the North”, it has held a Royal Warrant since 1911 and was visited by Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of its 150th anniversary in 1988.
In 2004 it changed its vision statement from its goal to “be the most exciting department store outside London” to “Confidently Independent”. The store made national news in 2007 when it publicised that it would stop selling pate de foie gras, following a boycott by the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton.
Jenners previously had stores at Edinburgh Airport and Glasgow International Airport that closed following a decision announced in April 2007. Jenners said that security measures introduced in UK airports following the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot had led to a significant downturn in trade at the shops.