Jenner, who worked at the Waterloo Place drapers of W&R Spence, was sacked with his friend Charles Kennington for taking a day off to go to Musselburgh races.
The pair started the business, and at first money was so scarce Jenner had to sleep on an undercounter mat.
The current landmark building was built in 1895 after a fire destroyed the original building three years earlier, sustaining losses – at today’s prices – of well over £10 million.
However, Jenner had insured his business with 23 separate companies and was trading again within weeks.
Kennington died in 1893 and worker James Kennedy became a partner in the business. His descendants were the Douglas Miller family, who owned the business until the sale to House of Fraser in 2005.