Family owned and run, TR Hayes of London Street is Bath’s largest furniture store, trading since 1915
Today the Aladdin’s cave covers almost 50,000 square feet over seven floors and incorporates over 20 surrounding properties. Hayes employs a dedicated team of over 50 staff and has built up an impressive customer base. A customer car park can be found at the side of store.
The TR Hayes store today is a far cry from the early 1800s when the Hayes family became chair makers in the East End of London. The outbreak of the First World War and the arrival of Zeppelins over London, was to have a decisive effect on the family’s fortunes. Their premises were bombed out and Thomas decided it was time to leave the city with his disabled wife and sons William, Humphrey and Thomas Richard junior. Fortunately one of the flourishing firm’s major customers was Bath Cabinet Makers so it was decided to settle there and TR Hayes established a workshop on the former humpback bridge over the canal in Widcombe. The family began contributing to the war effort by making wooden parts for the air frames of the Bristol Bulldog fighter aeroplane.
After the war, family life returned to normal and the business started to grow. Still enterprising at the age of 70 and with an eye to the future, Thomas Richard Hayes decided that he wanted to expand and, not hampered by today’s planning restrictions, simply built a 20ft long extension to the property in Widcombe which stretched out across the pavement. This is why The Ram pub which now occupies the site is so prominent in Claverton Street today. Thomas worked on into his 80s until his youngest son Thomas Richard junior, took over the reins and moved the business to the former Three Crowns pub at Walcot in London Street in 1920.
Having been bombed out of their Bethnal Green workshop in the First World War, one could have forgiven the Hayes family for thinking they might deserve to escape the worst effects of World War Two. Thomas Richard was in his mid 40s during the Second World War and while he was never called up because of poor sight, he and his trusty van were used as an emergency ladder carrier, and saw service with the Home Guard. His wife sadly died some ten years after the war so his son and later successor Derek Hayes, the third generation member of the family was taken out of school to assist in the business.
Derek Hayes was soon joined by his wife Margaret, and have each spent an impressive 60 plus years developing and expanding the business into the hugely successful furniture emporium that it is today. The expansion and improvements to the business continue apace now assisted by the couple’s sons Richard and Christopher. With their help the business looks set to continue to thrive and prosper for many years to come.
The Hayes Family at The Roman Baths in 2015 celebrating 100 years:
T R Hayes Centenary photos courtesy of Jeni Meade Photography