EIGHTY YEARS AND COUNTING...
We started in 1933 in a small shop on Conran Street in
Harpurhey, Manchester and quickly established ourselves as the
place to visit to have boots expertly made and fitted and to decide
on that important personalised nailing pattern! Over the years,
Ellis Brigham shops were always first to sell the latest
innovations, seeing clothing move from Ventile, to neoprene coated
nylon and then to GORE-TEX fabrics. Footwear soon lost the nails
and grew Vibram soles whilst leather uppers became suede and nylon
and incorporated GORE-TEX liners.
Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports is still going strong and is still
proudly family owned. We've got the world's best brands and amazing
products that will make your time spent in the mountains even more
rewarding. Across the UK we now have 24 fantastic shops with
friendly, knowledgeable staff who are all enthusiastic about the
outdoors and understand implicitly your needs. Ellis Brigham's
shops really do bring the spirit of the mountains to the high
street so check us out, we have mountains of experience!
Frederick Ellis Brigham set up business making walking boots and
cycling shoes in a tiny 'two up, two down' building on the
outskirts of Manchester. A photograph (below) of FEB captures the
spirit of the age: "...the trilby, which was hardly ever off, was
the modern day baseball cap of its time. His pants and jacket are
Harris Tweed, as that was virtually all you could get at the time.
His shirt would be Harris Tweed also. He is wearing Scottish
beaters' shoes with huge toe spring which made striding the fells
easier and walking was a rocking-along motion. There would be a
leather flap over the front lacing for extra weather protection. He
always wore a pencil behind his ear. He's holding a pair of his
hand made sandals. In the shop door window are for sale
Bartholomews folded fabric maps of the nearby Pennines & Lake
District. The shop window has rubber wellingtons for the local
trade, hand made spiked running shoes, hand knitted Harris Tweed
wool socks and a rucksack by R.Burns Ltd - the best rucksack maker
of the day being technically superior to the rival Brown Best
After the war, as mountain walking and
climbing became more and more popular, the shop began to sell ex WD
climbing equipment. This was the era of government surplus items
like ex-army rucksacks, snow shoes for 2/6d per pair and skis for
30/- a pair. Mr. Brigham's boots with their special nailing
patterns became very sought after.
As more and more British climbers began to visit the Alps, the
Brigham family began to visit the alpine valleys to buy the latest
mountaineering equipment, and exotic French climbing hardware and
Italian boots began to appear on the shelves of Ellis Brigham's
Manchester shop. Sadly Frederick Brigham died before the end of the
fifties and the business was taken over by eldest son Bob, soon to
be joined by younger brother Ellis.
A milestone year in Ellis Brigham's history with the opening of
the Manchester city centre shop in Cathedral Street and the
publication of the first F. Ellis Brigham customer catalogue. This
catalogue featured clothing, footwear and equipment for
mountaineering, rock climbing, camping and skiing which was
beginning to gain a following.
Four Ellis Brigham shops across the country with a thriving
outdoor and mountaineering business and a growing interest in
skiing. At this time we were in a unique position, whereby all
technical developments in mountain and snow sports equipment were
to be seen first in Ellis Brigham shops and catalogues: the first
lightweight EB rock shoes, the first modern nylon climbing rope,
the first plastic ski boots and the first fibreglass and metal
Eight Ellis Brigham shops throughout the country. Outdoor and
mountain sports are hugely popular and skiing is positively
booming. Clothing and equipment shows incredible technical
development. Outdoor clothing companies become more sophisticated
with brands such as Berghaus and The North Face establishing a
strong market presence and fabrics such as GORETEX and polarfleece
setting new industry standards. Key year is 1986 when the first of
Ellis Brigham's White Book winter sports consumer catalogues was
published, setting a standard previously unseen in the outdoor
retail marketplace.The first snowboards to be sold in the UK
appeared in Ellis Brigham shops and catalogues at this time.
Eleven Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports shops throughout the
country. Outdoor and wintersports clothing hugely popular both as
functional outdoor garments and as cutting edge youth fashion.
Snowboarding begins to gain momentum and Ellis Brigham establish
The Snowboard Asylum shop in shop areas. The first Snowboard Asylum
catalogue appears and again sets the industry standard. The Ellis
Brigham spring/summer outdoor catalogue is relaunched as The Green
Book. And then came the internet… in 1996www.ellis-brigham.com was
launched, initially with just basic contact and shop information,
it quickly lead to a full e-commerce website.
Fully secure online shop implemented, 13 stores nationwide with
our shop opening at the new Xscape indoor snow complex in Milton
The old YHA shop in Covent Garden, that had made the area such
an important outdoor enthusiasts' destination for so many years,
closed giving us the opportunity to pick up the baton and reinvent
the way in which outdoor sports was retailed. We made the move from
our smaller store on Southampton St. and opened what is still
regarded as one of the leading outdoor and snowsports stores in
Europe. This massive space houses the most comprehensive range of
specialist products and some of the most knowledgeable staff in the
industry, it is also home to our very own indoor Ice climbing wall!
This move brought another opportunity and our old store became
Europe's first stand-alone The North Face Store. The two stores
combined make Southampton St., Covent Garden a real outdoor
enthusiasts Mecca. Interestingly in 1967 Bob Brigham was at the
official opening of the first TNF store in Berkeley, San Francisco,
USA, and this London store opening cemented a very long standing
(and ongoing) relationship with The North Face.
Spring 2003/Winter 2004
We open shops at Castleford Xscape near Leeds with its huge real
snow indoor slope. We have since consolidated into one massive
store covering snowsports, mountaineering, trekking and travel.
Our second store opens in Milton Keynes Xscape. Concentrating on
hiking, climbing & adventure travel - the shop also houses a
huge climbing wall.
Xscape Braehead Glasgow opens and we have two stores there: one
massive shop dedicated to all things snowsports and a second
catering for all your mountaineering, trekking and travel
Westfield London invite us to open two units in their
prestigious Shepherd's Bush development. Again we partner with The
North Face to open a standalone store. Opposite we open a massive
two floor Ellis Brigham store.
We open the world's first Mountain Equipment Store in Manchester
City Centre on the site of the city's oldest outdoor store (211
Two new stores open at the prestigious One New Change
development at St. Paul's, Central London, bringing a focussed
Ellis Brigham offer to the heart of The City. Again the second shop
is a The North Face Store.
Following our successful opening at Westfield London, they
invite us to open two joined stores in Westfield Stratford: an
Ellis Brigham shop adjoining The North Face Store. Located on "The
Street" these stores put both brands in front of the massive
International audience visiting the Olympic Games in 2012.
Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports is 80 years old! We are still
proudly family owned and the company is still passionately driven
by Bob and Ellis Brigham; now ably assisted by sons Robert and
Mark; the next generation.