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The Collection of the late Bernard Lyons, C.B.E., D.L.
Bernard Lyons was one of six children born in Leeds to Samuel, a businessman who established a successful gentlemen's clothing manufactory with several retail outlets named 'Alexandre'. Bernard joined the family company alongside his brother, and together they oversaw the expansion of the business during the early postwar period into a large conglomerate of companies called United Drapery Stores - at its height, the leading British retailer with over 1300 retail outlets and incorporating Allders of Croydon, Timpson, and Whiteley's department stores, amongst others.
An industrialist and philanthropist, Bernard was primarily responsible for the factories and manufacturing side of the business and by 1976 Allders was the third largest department store in the country, surpassed only by Harrods and Selfridges. The UDS group continued to evolve and branched out into the duty-free-shop retail arena, opening a store at Heathrow Airport and soon after expanding into an international network of some 800 retail outlets.
Bernard was appointed C.B.E. in 1968 for his services to industry by Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who was a close friend. Lyons retired as Chairman of UDS in 1983 but continued to play an active role in the family private investment company, the Colmore Trust. He was a benefactor to Leeds University and set up the Lyons Scholarship fund.
Bernard Lyons, C.B.E., D.L., died on April 14th 2008 aged 96.