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Thomas Bentley

1730-1830


He lived in Paradise Street and was a partner in the Liverpool Import/Export company Bentley and Boardman when he met the Josiah Wedgwood, the great pottery manufacture. A cultured, educated man, Bentley is often merely credited in modern encyclopaedias with influencing Wedgwood's taste but, important as that was and remains, many consider his influence was in reality far greater. Wedgwood and Bentley opened what was probably one of the first modern shops in London, to sell Wedgwood's wares. They virtually invented the modern concept of marketing (anticipating and satisfying customer needs) and of mail-order. In other words these two men were instrumental in developing the modern world of retail commerce and manufacture long before the Americans who are usually credited with it. There is something pleasing about the fact that Liverpool's retail regeneration is centred on the very street where Bentley was based!