Bobby & Co opened in Bournemouth Square in May 1915 and was extended over the years.
It became Debenhams in 1972, in a ceremony presided over by disc jockey Terry Wogan.
Now the store has make a welcome return to the town centre after a major transformation.
A special preview took place on Wednesday which the Daily Echo was invited to attend. The store opens to members of the public today.
The store first eight elements of the store have opened with more retailers are set to arrive later this year and in the summer of 2022.
Drool, the first food hall devoted entirely to dogs, and the South Coast Makers Shop, amongst many more new additions.
Here, we take a look around the new store.
Bobby’s Beauty Hall
Bobby’s Beauty Hall is full of global brands as well as a dedicated section for local, sustainable and conscious beauty.
The UK’s largest artist-run contemporary gallery space situated on the second floor with two major exhibitions – The Art of Protest and Big Medicine.
Including works by international artists, among them Turner prize winner Jeremy Deller and new site-specific pieces by Nicky Carvel, Jim Lambie, and Gary Card.
Speaking to the Echo last month, founder of GIANT and artist Stuart Semple told the Daily Echo: “I have had it in my head for 20 years. I grew up in Bournemouth and I didn’t have this.”
“When I was eight, my mum took me to London and I saw a (Vincent) van Gogh painting and it changed my life.
“I really believe there is something like postcode lottery where if I had lived in London my mum would have taken me to the Tate or the V&A because it is free and people who are born in Bournemouth haven’t had access to that.”
Drool is the first food hall devoted entirely to dogs. Featuring a cake shop, a “Lick ‘n’ Mix station”, a doggy tuck shop, a dog ball recycling centre, fish and chip flavoured treats and even liver cakes.
With the abundance of new dog owners over the pandemic, this is the must visit destination for your four-legged friend.
Drgnfly is a unique Pan-Asian and Sushi restaurant with a site in Ashley Cross, Poole.
With a blend of old and new, their talented ‘itame’ blend colour, art and creativity with texture and exquisite fresh flavours will create unique dishes for diners. The new DRGNFLY is situated within the heart of the Beauty Hall.
South Coast Makers Shop
South Coast Makers shop showcases a varied collection of one-of-a-kind art, design and craft work handmade by makers from the south coast.
The ever-changing collection includes ceramics, woodwork, homewares, stationery, greeting cards and candles alongside locally produced food and drink such as artisan gin, handmade fudge and honey.
Paul Kinvig, chief operating officer of Bournemouth Town Centre BID, said: “Towns and cities across the country will be looking at the Bobby’s building as what you can do with imagination and commitment in relation to these old department store buildings after many of them closed down.”
You can let us know about your memories of the Bobby’s store in the comments below.