Emerson Shephard had originally opened a shop on Swinburn Street in Gateshead but in 1908 moved to the Ellison Street. The store initially sold shoes and boots but quickly grew to become a department store.
By 1924, the business had grown, with ten branches across the North East. The branch in North Shields had been the department store of George Swann who had overstretched himself while building his new store and Shephards took over the business.
In 1934, the Ellison Street store in Gateshead was given a makeover which included three new floors and expansion to 30 departments. The store was undamaged during the Second World War but, in 1946, it was burnt to the ground.
While the store was being rebuilt, Shephards moved to Kent House, the former Snowballs department store. In 1949, the new store was opened and included the famous Panorama Restaurant.
During the 1970s, Shephards ran an advertisement on local TV with the catchy jingle:
- Shephards of Gateshead, the biggest and the best store
- Shephards of Gateshead have what you're looking for
- There's so much to see, and the car park is free
- Come shopping at Shephards for the whole family
The 1970s were financially damaging and by 1980 the Shephards business had closed. The Gateshead store was purchased by Tesco which created Tesco Shopping City, where store space was rented to other retailers. This was not a successful venture, especially after the opening of the Metrocentre in 1986, and subsequently closed. The site is now the Trinity Square shopping and leisure complex.
- Ray Marshall (1 July 2009). "A Look at when shoppers flocked to Shephards". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
- "iSee Gateshead". Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "20th Century - Gateshead". Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- David Morton (29 September 2015). "Shephards of Gateshead, a favourite Tyneside department store, closed 35 years ago". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 28 October 2020.