Daniel Neal: early years

The frontage of Daniel Neal Portman Square

High quality children’s-wear

Daniel Neal and Sons held a nationwide reputation for the supplying of high quality children’s-wear.  The seven branches across the UK had departments for boys’ and girls’ clothing, footwear, baby wear, maternity wear, prams and nursery furniture.

Originally started as an adult shoe shop in 1837 by Mr Neal in Edgware Road, it was Mr Neal’s son, Daniel who grew the business across London.  Daniel Neal died in 1893 and the business was taken on by his three sons.

Developing the business

In 1911 a further shop was leased in Kensington High Street. Adult shoes were dropped, with the focus children’s footwear and clothing. Three smaller branches were sold, and all efforts were focused in the centre of London to create a children’s department store. A new site was purchased at Portman Square and the business continued to grow, with Daniel Neal Cheltenham opening in 1937 following an agreement to supply uniform for Cheltenham Ladies College. Further branches were opened in Bournemouth (1947), Exeter (1953) and Bristol (1955) and Birmingham (19600. All branches forged connections with local schools for the supply of their uniform.

In February 1963 the Partnership announced its intention to purchase the whole of Daniel Neal and Sons Limited for a sum of just under £120,000.

Comments about this page

  • I went with my mother once a year to Daniel Neal’s for shoes and loved the x ray machine. The shoes were very expensive. I also remember going to a nearby store that had pony rides but can’t remember exactly where that was. It was all a great adventure as we went in the train to London

    By Carol Humphries (09/01/2024)
  • In 1956 my first pair of nursing shoes were purchased by post from Daniel Neals recommended by the then Westminster Hospital.Very comfortable and lasted 4years.

    By Mrs Ann Abbott (21/08/2023)
  • Remember my mother taking me to Daniel Neil’s in London about August of 1959 or 60 to be outfitted for my uniform for St. Joseph’s Priory in Dorking. Coming from Jamaica all of the woolen clothes were rather daunting but so grateful for the advise to get two cardigans and not one!

    By Penny Sturrock Harding (17/06/2023)
  • Has anyone got a pre-war girls’ boarding school uniform list from Daniel Neals?
    I would love to know what’s on it

    By tina Bicat (30/12/2022)
  • When I was eleven, I longed for a suit instead of dresses or skirts and jumpers. My mother told me that if I could save up the fare from Bath to London we would go to a famous shop called Daniel Neale’s and get one. I began to save in a tin labelled “London Expedition” and when I was twelve off we went. I got not only a green tweed suit but hat and gloves as well and my very first pair of nylons ( this was 1959). I felt so grown up!

    By Ann Widdecombe (14/08/2022)
  • What a wonderful look in to times past

    By Caroline Halloran (12/02/2022)
  • When I was expecting my first baby in 1963 I went to Daniel Neal for advice as to which pram to buy. As I had an uphill walk from the shops, the advice given was superb
    They also made a horse-hair mattress for the baby’s beautiful bassinet that we had bought in Madeira while on a cruise.
    A great store !!

    By Estelle Morgenstern (30/07/2021)
  • Such wonderful memories of this department store i went to York House private School Stony Stratford Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire from the age of 4 years 1942 My mother twice a year took me to this store to buy the uniform then lunch As one can imagine in those days a treat to enjoy later years in 1959 my mother and myself made a special trip buying my pram “A Mar-met coach built pram in Bottle Green inside and outside , i remember well to match the pram a beautiful bottle green cover sheep wool one side . other items of clothing for baby , This pram was delivered by train then by road to our house The pram was used for all 3 children with love Rosalie Osborne 04-06-2021 i can still conjure up this magical department store

    By Rosalie Osborne (04/06/2021)
  • I was born in 1951. I guess my earliest memory is about 5yrs old arriving in a taxi, blue leather upholstery, outside Daniel Neal Baker Street. I think the shoe department was downstairs. I so well remember the X-ray machines. Looking through that eye shaped box at out green lit up feet! Couldn’t drag me away from it. Otherwise, clothes came from Harrods and some fancy shop in Bond Street that clothed Prince Charles and Anne.

    By Clive Kandel (30/05/2021)
  • Wish l still had the catalogues my mother had. Daniel Neals was very much part of my life as my mother would not buy my clothes from anywhere else!

    By Jill McCormack (05/08/2020)
  • My memory of Daniel Neal’s started in 1960 when I was sent to boarding school. We lived near Kensington Church Street and I was fitted for my upcoming boarding experience in Ken[sington]High Street! I remember a dozen handkerchiefs was on that uniform list. As luck would have it my boarding school wasn’t too far from Bournemouth so additional trips may have been taken there on those precious few opportunities when my parents would visit during those 12/13 week terms. Usually only once a term as driving over 100 miles in those days was arduous and time consuming. My parent later moved to near Cheltenham and Daniel Neal’s was once again there and visits were required. This time I recall vividly a shoe fitting, not unlike the one in Kensington, that required standing in a machine with a new pair of shoes on and gawping into a viewer that showed my foot and the shoe. “His feet will grow this term so he’ll need the next size up” , the assistant said. So what was I looking at all those years ago? An x -ray ? If so, I saw far too many x-rays every visit to Daniel Neal’s that it can’t have been good for me or anyone near me: the shop assistant or my late mother. Does anyone know what they were using when it came to shoe fitting – for children back in the early 1960’s?!!!

    By Andrew Brennan (28/05/2020)
  • My sister and I attended St Anne’s College, Sanderstead, Surrey where our school uniform had to be purchased. I am trying to find any pictures of that uniform with no success so far.

    By wendy k gwynn (21/05/2020)
  • I worked in Daniel Neil’s laying flooring from Tyrrell a green southampton iknow the date 2nd dec 52 years ago. Iknow that date because I missed my sons birth . I was a floor layer at the time

    By R j h Morris (07/05/2020)
  • My Mum had her first job during the early 1940s at the Daniel Neal store in Cheltenham as an assistant in the children’s footwear department. I believe she was in her late teens when she started & she often recounted how happy she was during her time there. Her experience there instilled a life long insistence on wearing good quality well-fitting shoes – especially for myself and my brothers as children.

    By Jeannie Price (04/03/2020)
  • My school’s uniform came from Daniel Neal. I was kitted out at the London Store and thereafter their fitter, the amazing Mrs Boyce would visit the school in Sussex 2x yearly, her arm of bangles a’jangling, and measure us all up for the next required uniform.

    By Sally Curtis (23/02/2020)
  • My dear Mum was a children’s Nanny in London in the 1930’s and always bought their clothes in Daniel Neals. Consequently my brother and myself were also kitted out from this illustrious shop. I too remember the dappled rocking horse in the shoe department and the X-ray machine where you could see your toes in a green light in your new shoes to show you had plenty of room. I have very fond memories of Daniel Neal. We lived in Aylesbury and came up twice a year for our summer and winter shoes and clothes. It was a defining time in my childhood. This was in the 40’s and 50’s. and it started a love affair with London. After visiting Daniel Neal we would go to Selfridges and have lunch in their Jungle Restaurant. I always remember Selfridges had Uncle Holly instead of Father Christmas. I am now 76 and my brother 71 and we often reminisce about those happy days.A

    By Christine Pittman-Corner (01/11/2017)
  • It is to be hoped that the quality of the merchandise improved after the John Lewis Partnership take over in 1963.

    By Gavin Henderson (16/02/2017)
  • I was a pupil at Quintin Grammar school in the late 1950’s. My parents had to buy my school uniform from Daniel Neal.The blazers were expensive,shoddily made and wore out very quickly (lots of us had elbow pads).I remember some bright spark discovered the button sewing wasn’t properly finished,and it became all the rage to go around pulling threads and making people’s buttons fall off!

    By John victor simpson (07/02/2017)
  • We always had shoes from Daniel Neal’s. I still have my first pair, tiny, red leather bar shoes with leather soles. They used to x-ray your feet to ensure a proper fit. Talking to my brother we both have remarkably sound feet for our age with no bunions corns or deformities. My baby sister’s Moses basket came from there too.

    By Kate Wells (17/08/2016)
  • My mother bought my shoes in the Oxford Street store during the 1940s. Loved the huge dolls house and wooden rocking horse.

    By karlenlawrence (25/03/2016)

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