Historic Yorkshire firm ceases trading after more than two centuries

Ben Aaron and Son's store, closing down after over two-hundred years. Pictured are Philip Benjamin Aaron, David Benjamin Aaron, Paul Benjamin Aaron and Joseph Benjamin Aaron
Ben Aaron and Son's store, closing down after over two-hundred years. Pictured are Philip Benjamin Aaron, David Benjamin Aaron, Paul Benjamin Aaron and Joseph Benjamin Aaron
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WHEN B. Aaron & Son began trading in Halfax, Napoleon Bonaparte was about to annex Holland, Beethoven was compoing his famous Für Elise and our own King George III was officially declared insane.

Since then the shoe shop has traded every day in the heart of the town with eight generations of the Aaron family having stood at the helm.

Ben Aaron and Son's store, closing down after over two-hundred years

Ben Aaron and Son's store, closing down after over two-hundred years

However this week, the Northgate-based store closed its doors for the final time, bringing to an end 206 years of trading.

Predictably it was a sad day for Paul Benajmin Aaron - the last in the long line of Aarons who have stood at the forefront of the firm - as he arrived for work for the final time.

Its history began in 1810, when after fleeing from his native Hanover and the Franco-Prussian Napoleonic Wars, Benjamin Aaron opened his boot and shoemaker’s business at its first of many locations in Halifax - 24 Gaol Lane.

In the late 1800s the official census recorded the business as employing a 26-strong workforce, comprising 22 men, two women and two boys.

Ben Aaron and Son's store, closing down after over two-hundred years

Ben Aaron and Son's store, closing down after over two-hundred years

In the 19th and 20th centuries, it was renowned for manufacturing industrial clogs.

They were made in large numbers and supplied to the likes of Rowntree Mackintosh, Crossley Carpet and many engineering companies.

But having withstood two world wars and countless recessions Mr Aaron said the business was no longer viable.

Faced with strong competition from the internet and supermarkets in recent years he has witnessed a significant cut into his sales, forcing him to make the difficult decision to close.

Ben Aaron and Son's store, closing down after over two-hundred years

Ben Aaron and Son's store, closing down after over two-hundred years

“I’m not happy that I’m the man nailing the coffin together,” the 40-year-old said.

“But you have to be realistic about things and it’s just not viable anymore.

“The big chain stores and the internet are a massive, massive deal nowadays.

“It has been nice to serve the world and we do have customers from all over the world from Australia to America.

“It’s the end of an era - there’s been lots of characters over the years and people we have built relationships with.

“They’re not just customers, they are friends.”

Quality in its boots, workwear and repairs is something B Aaron has always prided itself on

Paul added: “I had a bloke come in and he had a pair of boots on that he’d had for 30 years. You buy cheap stuff and they don’t last.”

Mr Aaron is now preparing for a new career as a gardner. However before he closed the shop’s doors for the final time he delivered a heartfelt message to all of those he and his family had served over the years.

“Thanks to all past and present customers for their loyal support through hard times of late.

“The past owners, David and Philip Aaron, would like to thank customers for their regular visits during the better times, to the shop on Northgate.

“This is a sad and disappointing time for all involved.”