14-16 Market Hill, Barnsley
Who you need to know
Owner Rita Britton (left)
Brands include Dries Van Noten, Haider Ackermann, Issey Miyake, Lanvin, Rick Owens, Yves Saint Laurent
“Pollyanna is a gem. It’s exactly what you would not expect to find in Barnsley,” says one cheeky admirer of the designer fashion institution. Established in 1967, the store is arranged over four storeys and has become an essential part of both its hometown and of the wider fashion world, under the guidance of energetic owner Rita Britton.
When Manchester Art Gallery created a portrait of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst using photos of inspiring women, Britton’s picture was used, so admired is she in the area. When Barnsley offered the freedom of the borough for the first time, it was to two people - cricket umpire Dickie Bird was one, Britton the other. Fashion journalist and author Colin McDowell dedicated a dissertation to her. “I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it,” says Britton.
Part of the secret of her success is down to her eye for emerging brands. Pollyanna was one of the first stores in the UK to stock brands such as Comme des Garçons and Issey Miyake.