Housewares retailer Lawsons shares its story in a commemorative book

South-west independent housewares retailer Lawsons has launched a book celebrating its heritage.

The family business, which operates four stores in Ivybridge, Plymouth, Totnes and Tavistock, started trading in 1904.

Lawsons managing director Liz Lawson said: “We started this project to celebrate 110 years of trading, though it has taken us a little under two years to get to the launch of the book.”

She added: “Lawsons is unusual in that, to date, the company has involved four generations of our family. It has also been situated in at least four different locations across Plymouth city centre, and four other locations across south Devon.

“Lawsons has re-invented itself time and again to meet the challenges posed by changes in the way we live. The Lawsons story reflects the wider world in the last century, making it such a compelling tale of local history that it simply had to be written down.”

Local historian Chris Robinson sat down with the Lawson family and long-serving staff to chart Lawsons’ development. The result is ‘Lawsons: The Story of a Family Business Since 1904’.

The book was launched last Friday (October 21) at book retailer Waterstones on New George Street in Plymouth – just yards from the original Lawsons store that was rebuilt following bombing in World War II.

Addressing an audience of invited guests (including family and friends, current and former staff, and local business owners who have worked alongside Lawsons over the years), Chris gave insights into his research and his conversations with many of the book’s contributors. John and Liz Lawson (third- and fourth-generation managing directors respectively) added further recollections.

Chris’ tome reveals the highs and lows throughout the years, and the book includes photographs and Lawsons’ adverts from as far back as the turn of the last century.

From the very beginnings, through wartime devastation and rebuilding, and to growing the business beyond and within Plymouth, no detail is missed in this retrospective account.


The book is available from Lawsons stores or Lawsons website (, priced £7.99.


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