Joseph (Lewis) Della Porta was from a family of shopkeepers. His father, also called Joseph, was an immigrant from Northern Italy. He settled in Shrewsbury in about 1848 and established a small shop on Princess Street. The business prospered and expanded into adjoining shops including Lloyds Mansion, the Tudor building which stood on the corner of the Square. The store sold a wide range of goods such as hardware, furniture, bedding, china and boots and shoes. By the time of Joseph senior’s death in 1904, it was an established and thriving department store, especially noted for its Christmas displays.