Cribb & Foote

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Cribb & Foote was a department store in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia, that existed from 1849 until 1985. It was renamed Reid's department store in 1977.

Cribb & Foote
Founded1849; 175 years ago (1849)
FounderBenjamin Cribb
John Clarke Foote
Defunct1985; 39 years ago (1985)

Early history[edit]

Ipswich businessman, Benjamin Cribb opened a drapery store in 1849 and entered into partnership with John Clarke Foote in 1854.[1] Trading as Cribb and Foote they established a department store in Ipswich.[2] The original brick building was designed by architect F.D.G. Stanley. It featured light wells for natural lighting and ventilation. It was central to the early community, supporting cotton farming and other local industries.[3] The original building suffered damage from a fire in 1865[4] and they established extended premises on the corner of Bell and Brisbane streets. Subsequent renovations in 1912, added a three-storey wing in Bell Street, as well as adding a lift, and its own electricity supply.[5][3] It sold everything from buttons to cars.[6] They also ran an agricultural machinery store in Nicholas Street. Cribb and Foote opened a pharmacy and smaller branches in and around the Ipswich region. They also offered a mail order service, for the whole of Queensland.[7]

Shoe department in Cribb and Foote's Ipswich store, April 1949 (Photo from State Library of Queensland)

Sale to Walter Reid and Company and destruction by fire[edit]

Cribb and Foote was acquired by Walter Reid and Co. in 1972 and the store was renamed Reid's department store. The store was destroyed by fire on August 17, 1985.[8] The intensity of the fire melted the clock face of the Ipswich Clock Tower. Investigations into the fire established arson but the four people charged and convicted of lighting the fire were acquitted on appeal. No one was subsequently tried.[9] The loss of Reid's led to a downturn in trade within the city.[5]

The Kern corporation took over the development of the site in 1986 to establish Ipswich City Square. Reid's operated out of the Town Hall for some time after the destruction of the store before closing permanently.[5]


The Memorial gates at the hockey grounds in Chermside Road, East Ipswich were a centenary gift to Ipswich from the Cribb and Foote firm.[10]

Descendants of the Foote family now own Foote's Pharmacies, a well known pharmacy chain in Ipswich.[11]


  1. ^ "Ipswich firm Cribb & Foote well known to "old colonists"". Queensland Times. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Cribb & Foote premises, Ipswich | Queensland Places". Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b Fox, Matthew (1923). "History of Queensland : its people and industries : an historical and commercial review descriptive and biographical facts, figures and illustrations : an epitome of progress". Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Fire at Ipswich". Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 - 1934). 11 December 1914. p. 30. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "How retail has changed" (PDF). Ipswich City Council: planning and development update. 15: 11–14. September 2013.
  6. ^ "CRIBB AND FOOTE 90 YEARS OLD– BUT MODERN STORE". Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947). 15 May 1939. p. 21. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Cribb and Foote Sale. STORY OF FIRM'S GROWTH". Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 - 1954). 24 June 1937. p. 8. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  8. ^ Reids Department Store fire documentary, retrieved 13 March 2020
  9. ^ "Can you remember the fire at Reids?". Queensland Times. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  10. ^ "East Ipswich | Queensland Places". Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  11. ^ Lems, David. "Foote family's fine marquee tradition". Queensland Times. Retrieved 15 April 2020.