On July 8th 2015, a raging fire blazed through the premises of footwear retailer Johnsons Shoes in Richmond, Surrey. The fire destroyed a large part of the stock and caused serious damage to the building. The cause of the fire was an electrical fault to the window lighting, which was operated by a time clock.

The family retail business has operated in Richmond for over 20 years, trading under the Bowleys Fine Shoes facia in several major towns. The Richmond store is one of the top three stores in the group of 14 branches, started some 63 years ago by Percy Parkin. Percy’s son Graham Parkin is now Managing Director of Johnsons Shoes.

Talking about the fire Graham’s son, Nick Parkin, a Director of Johnsons Shoes, told Footwear Today Magazine: “We are very grateful to Fiona and several of her colleagues from Barclays Bank, one of our neighbours, who called the Fire Brigade on 8th July 2015. London Fire Brigade must also be praised for their speed and efficiency. Our insurers have been very prompt in responding to us and we are progressing well in establishing the extent of the damage to the building and stock.

“Work to reinstate the building has taken longer than anticipated. As we have had to strip all our fittings back to the base structure of the building and replace numerous joists and beams. All fire damaged timbers and ceilings have been replaced. A complete re wire of most of the building and the installation of new energy saving LED lighting. Both fire and security systems have been updated to current standards.

“We would also like to praise our shopfitters, Top Notch Joinery, for their support and hard work during this time.”

On the morning of Thursday 24th September, Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith cut the ribbon, as Johnsons Shoes re-opened after the fire earlier in July, in recognition of the support from London Fire Bridge, Richmond Police and Richmond Council. Also in attendance was Councillor Pamela Fleming – Cabinet member for Environment, Business and Community for Richmond Council, as well as senior members of the Parkin family, the store buyer, store manager and his staff.

“Pamela has been a great support to us as an Independent business. She managed to obtain a restricted licence to erect scaffolding to enable us to fulfil our works, at a time when no licences were to be given due to the World Cup Rugby. Further praise goes to Lisa Hicks Station Manager for London Fire Brigade H42 Richmond and CU6 Richmond, whom we will be presenting a donation to the Fire Fighters Charity.”