Liam Collins: Clerys survived the Rising and Great Depression of 1940, but it failed to move with time
Denis Guiney snatched it from the jaws of death but his ethos of giving shoppers a bargain died when he did, writes Liam Collins
Although it was incorporated in 1898 as 'Clery & Company Ltd - General drapers, house furnishers and booksellers', the modern history of the iconic O'Connell Street department store can be traced to the dying months of 1940, when the lights were going out all over Europe.
The wealthy managing director and main shareholder of what was even then a venerable old Dublin department store, Sir Christopher William Nixon of Roebuck House, Milltown, the son of a prominent Dublin doctor, was in serious financial trouble. In 1938, with war looming and wages rising, he had borrowed the princely sum of £200,000 from the Equity Law Assurance Company of London, and now could no longer make repayments on the loan.
In October 1940, the company went into voluntary liquidation with Eustace Shott of Craig Gardiner & Co appointed as Receiver.