Wild about Harry Selfridge

On January 15, 2015

“I love her and that’s the beginning of everything.” F. Scott Fitzgerald


When the new series of MR SELFRIDGE launches on ITV in January, 2015, I, for one, will be glued to my television. For me, there is something utterly fascinating about Harry Selfridge. In an era bound by convention, he stood out from the crowd. Harry had his own mile-a-minute way of doing things. Bold, innovative, and bursting with ideas, he dreamed of changing the face of shopping – and succeeded.

It is not what he achieved in business, however – remarkable though that was – that most interests me. It is his personal life, in particular his relationship with Rose Buckingham, whom he married in 1890.



Right from the beginning, as the television series began to unfold, Harry’s love for Rose was at the very heart of things. The poignancy of their story was what drew me in – and many other viewers, I suspect. Theirs was an imperfect, troubled union and yet one that endured. It seemed inconceivable it would break apart, no matter what.

Given his background, it was always going to take an extraordinary woman to win the heart of Harry Selfridge. Lois, his mother, had raised him on her own after Harry’s father went to fight in the Civil War, and never returned. Strong and resourceful, Lois was for many years the most important woman in Harry’s life. The only woman. How could anyone else ever measure up?  Somehow, Rose Buckingham did. In Rose, Harry found all that he wanted and, despite their ups and downs over the years, she remained in his heart. Always.

Their story inspired me to delve into the past, before the couple came to London, and imagine how they might have met in Chicago in the nineteenth century when Harry was working at the prestigious Marshall Field store. Little seems to be recorded about the couple in terms of what brought them together and how they subsequently fell in love, so I let my imagination run riot and am about to publish a fictionalised account of what, for me, is a great and compelling love story. It may have its roots in a bygone age but feels no less relevant today, since the business of love is unchanging. What mattered to Harry and Rose – attraction, the longing for love; a desire to commit to one another and forge a life together … those are the things that still make many of us tick.

WHEN HARRY MET ROSE: MR SELFRIDGE AND THE SEARCH FOR LOVE, is to be published in a few weeks. In time for Valentine’s Day. I can’t help thinking Harry would have approved.

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