- 1865 - 2014
The iconic Kingsmill department store was founded as a dry goods store in London, Ontario in 1865 by Thomas Frazer Kingsmill (1840-1915). He and his wife, Anne immigrated from County Tipperary, Ireland in 1858. Kingsmill's department store was successfully run by Thomas Frazer Kingsmill's direct descendants until it closed in 2014. The history of the family is inextricably linked with that of the store.
The store at 130 Dundas street, London, Ontario operated from 1876-2014. It survived two fires (1911 and 1932) and expanded over the years to include at times: a carpet warehouse, a Chatham location and a kitchen store (2001 -2014). The Kingsmill family also operated a real estate business in London and surrounding areas in Southwestern Ontario in the early 20th century. The first family farm, Bellevue was sold to Western University for their new campus in 1916. The family later owned and operated a dairy at Bellevue Park Farm off of Sarnia Road. The store continued to operate successfully in the same location at until its closing.
The Kingsmill family has contributed significantly to the social, political and religious life of the city of London. Family members were well-known in many different local circles, acting as chairs, presidents and committee members for a number of commercial, academic, religious, political and charitable organizations. Thomas Ford Kingsmill served as Mayor of London from 1936-1938 George Frederick Kingsmill was a board member at Huron College, and as the bell-ringer and clock maintenance worker at St. Paul's Cathedral for most of his life. Thomas Frazer Kingsmill, Thomas Frazer Kingsmill Jr, Thomas Ford Kingsmill, George Frederick Kingsmill and T. Fred Kingsmill were all actively involved in London's Masonic community. Thomas Frederick Kingsmill was a major member of London's Downtown Business Association, as well as the Ad and Sales Club. Henry Ardagh Kingsmill and George Frederick Kingsmill.were active in the military, serving in WWI.
When the store closed, it had grown to 73,000 square feet on five floors and had operated successfully for 148 years. Tim Kingsmill, the last store president, closed Kingsmill's Department Store on August 10, 2014.