Bentley's is a ladies' outfitters selling dresses, hats, shoes and anything else a lady might need.  It used to be the drapers shop in Erdington. The business has been owned by the Bentley family for two generations although the present premises were built after 1840 (stretcher brickwork) replacing the original Georgian row of shops, hence its neo-Georgian design. 

Ellen's parents had run Bentley's, all their married life, having inherited  it from Ellen's grandparents. With the booming prosperity and massive population growth in late Victorian Birmingham they made enough money to move out of the shop premises and into a large detached house (Summerlee House) and along came Ellen (!).  

1878   Ellen is born

1879   Sept.  First Blackpool illuminations
            Oct.    First female students allowed to study for a degree at Oxford
                       Electric Street lighting introduced in London.

1880   Aug.   GMT adopted as standard throughout Great Britain.

1883   Aug.   Age of consent rises from 13 to 16 therefore outlawing child prostitution.
            Sept.  Blackpool tramway opens.  First electric trams.
                       First modern pedestal flush toilet demonstrated in Beaufort works, Chelsea

1887  June  Queen Victoria's Jubilee (50 years)

1888            County councils established and women are allowed to vote in local elections.

1889            Birmingham is granted the status of city despite not (at that time) having a cathedral                      
                     which was previously a requirement for the honour.

1898           Overhead cables installed for the Blackpool trams.

1891  April  London to Paris telephone system opened to the public.
                     Abolition of primary school fees.

1893           School leaving age raised to 11

1894  May  Blackpool Tower opens
           May  Manchester Ship Canal opens

1896           Ellen becomes engaged to Albert
           Feb.  Lumière Brothers project the first film in Britain at The Empire Theatre of Varieties,   
                     Leicester Square.
           Nov.  Speed limit for cars was raised from 4 mph to 14 mph.  It was celebrated by the    
                     Emancipation Run of Cars from London to Brighton which became the London to  
                     Brighton Vintage Car Run.
                     First car factory opens in Coventry

1897 June Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee

1897  May  Ellen's mother dies age 62

1898 Oct.  The Second Boer War begins.
          Dec. The Glasgow School of Art opens (Ellen likes the work of Charles Rennie   
                   School leaving age raised to 12.

1899  Jan   Albert, Ellen's fiancée is killed at the Battle of Spion Kop 

1900  Jan   The Gramophone Company copyrights its HMV illustration
           Apr   Ellen and Molly go to Paris for the Exposition, renting an apartment for 8 months
           Nov   Ellen and Molly return to Erdington

1901  Jan.  Queen Victoria dies
           Aug.  First Cinema opens in Islington
           Oct.   First submarine launched at Barrow
           Oct.  Aero Club of the UK is established
           Dec. First transatlantic signal is received by Marconi
                     Minimum working age raised to 12.
                     Electric trams introduced in London, Glasgow and Portsmouth

1902  Feb. Ellen's father dies aged 72.  Ellen inherits the shop.
           Aug.  Edward VII crowned.






1908  Apr.  Ellen refurbishes the shop changing it from a drapers to a ladies outfitters and    
                    moves in above the shop.  She helps John Dallow open a drapers across the road.

1909 December 27th  The Electric Cinema opened in Birmingham, 47-49  Station Street

1910           Erdington library was built


Wednesday 11th October 1911 - the date for the projects setting 

          Nov. Erdington became part of Birmingham 9/11/11

The population of Erdington doubled from 16,368 in 1901 to 32,331 in 1911

1912 April 15th  Titanic sank