M985X.185.1.1-2 | Hatbox

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John Henderson & Co.
1875-1900, 19th century
17 x 79 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Hatbox (1)
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Keys to History

In Montreal in the 19th century, one of the most renowned hat and fur shops was the John Henderson Company.

Like other specialized shops during that period, this store sold luxury goods, which complemented the merchandise sold in the department stores. Due to competition, merchants had to rely on their distinctiveness and on the quality of their service to attract and retain customers. They also made great efforts to create tasteful displays in their stores and in the windows where they presented their products.

It was a great advantage, however, for shops that wanted to remain competitive to be located in a strategic area, near their competition. That is why many businesses, including the John Henderson Company, left Notre Dame and St. Jacques Streets at the end of the 19th century to set up shop on St. Catherine Street, which had become THE new commercial artery in Montreal.

  • What

    The hatbox carries the coat of arms and name of the manufacturer who made the hat: John Henderson Company.

  • Where

    In 1875, like most Montreal fur and hat merchants, the shop of the John Henderson Company was located on Notre Dame Street.

  • When

    From 1855 to 1889, the shop of the John Henderson Company occupied spacious premises in the elegant Crystal Block building on Notre Dame Street. According to an article in The Transcript, dated April 23, 1855, it was a brand-new commercial building.

  • Who

    For a long time, the most famous milliner in Montreal, John Henderson opened his first store in 1834.