Shopping, seduction and sharing the history of Selfridges

Stepping into the immaculately polished shoes of an Edwardian merchant prince has been an education and a treat since Liberty842 was commissioned to bring @MrSelfridge to life on Twitter by the retail pioneer’s great store to tie in with series 1 of ITV drama Mr Selfridge.

We started work in January 2013, soaking up all the knowledge we could from Lindy Woodhead’s book Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge, around which the ITV series was based, paying particular attention to the personality and the catchphrases of the original Harry Gordon Selfridge.

Luckily for us, The Chief wasn’t exactly in short supply on either count so we quickly established an online character for the now 150-year-old gentleman, replying to questions and comments by addressing people as ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ and always signing off with Harry’s initials: HGS.

But Mr Selfridge wasn’t just here to chat – he was also keen to tell people about the amazing history of his London department store, delving into a priceless image archive of everything from the elegant roof gardens downwards, taking in original newspaper ads and snaps from the family album along the way.

Harry was rewarded with an enthusiastic response from Twitter followers who took extremely well to his flirtatious but gentlemanly ways, and in many cases shared their own memories of visiting Selfridges.

Shopping, seduction and sharing the history of Selfridges

How Liberty842 used Twitter to celebrate the heritage of Selfridges during series 1 of ITV drama Mr Selfridge

Storified by LIBERTY842 Ltd· Fri, Mar 22 2013 11:08:28

Pure razzle dazzle! The original @Selfridges light well, dripping with crystals in 1909. HGS #MrSelfridge http://<a href="" class=""></a>Mr Selfridge
The arrival of ITV’s Sunday night drama Mr Selfridge was a unique opportunity for the department store he founded to tell viewers about its history and inspire them to pay a visit – and it certainly succeeded in that respect.
Went in Selfridges earlier and kept expecting Mr Selfridge to appear. Looked at the shop in a whole different way. The programme is spot onSally Grattage
I think a trip to @Selfridges is in order to truly grasp its historical significance to the world of shopping… #MrSelfridge #anyexcuseLaura Parsons
Went to Selfridges today and was so much more aware of the interior and decor after watching @MrSelfridge .Love it even moreTanisha
Visited @Selfridges for the first time today after being inspired by watching @MrSelfridge! Have to say I was very impressed.Richard Boudier
As the series went on, viewers developed a strong bond with Harry and shared their experiences of visiting modern-day Selfridges – linking the philosophies of the man himself with the store as we now know it.
Lost my bag when working @Selfridges they helped me sort purse etc & gave me £5 to get home @MrSelfridge wud b hav bin impressed!Katy Astrella
@MrSelfridge Was at a beautiful place earlier that’s been serving up luxury for a 104 years. #Selfridges #1909Ayesha ZGJ
Extra lovely customer care from @selfridges today, @mrselfridge your good work lives on #selfridgesAndrea Freeman
Selfridges employees past and present – as well as their relatives – also got in the spirit of the show and told the store founder about their connection to his fine establishment.
@MrSelfridge @sabrinaghayour lolz can I get a follow too Sir worked for your store for 2 yrs circa 2005 & had highest sales in fashion :DMolly Bakes
my mum worked in your great store 50 years ago @MrSelfridge, and one maybe day I hope to see the name of my humble venture in there…The Wet Fish Cafe
My Mum work in Selfridges #mrselfridge 1970’s in the Basement Bathroom and Kitchen DeptDavid Barton
@MrSelfridge after 10 years working in your store and having you in my home every Sunday for the last 10 weeks, I shall surely miss you. Allison Sewell
@MrSelfridge As I was the Personal Assistant to the Director of Selfridges I am honoured to be followed by you :)Manjinder Joshi
Particularly lovely to see were the personal memories that the TV series prompted viewers to share on Twitter – often going back several generations and giving a sense of living history to Selfridges.
@Selfridges My great-grannie came over from Italy in 1904 she wore 4711 until 99 years old. I recognised the packaging on last weeks show :)Francesca Revel
@MrSelfridge my nan has a war time story abt the store she sent a letter 2 u & 2day received a huge box of biscuits from SFgs xLittle Miss J
Heard how Gt Auntie Pearl saw @MrSelfridge every Sat at 5yrs he’d tip his hat, show the way to toy dept & Mothers saw Mr McEllery for nailsTrekstock
Apparently my Nan used to take my Mum to Selfridges and if not happy would often say @mrselfridge would be turning in his grave #reputationRyan Cheyne
@MrSelfridge Useful and not pricey Bought by GreatAunt 1919ish http://<a href="" class=""></a>HatsPeriod
My great gran, the day she visited Selfridges from Leicester in 1910.My grandad told me the story today! @MrSelfridge http://<a href="" class=""></a>Tanisha
As the UK showing of the series came to an end on March 10, it was clear that many viewers had come to see Selfridges in a completely new light, embracing both the building and the man who brought it into being.
Going to selfridges will never be the same again… @MrSelfridgeMegan Zarrabi-Copley