Friday, 25 January 2013

Story of a shopkeeper: Sepia Saturday 161




This is a picture of my father Arthur, although I never knew him when he looked like that!  By the time we were born he was older and more mature and not one to want his photo taken!  He was, however, still a shopkeeper and for the first two years of my life we lived in the flat above the shop where he worked.





I can't remember whether it was the flat above what is now the estate agents (the yellow fronted buidling) or the launderette. At the time it was a grocers shop and I'm sure I remember my father calling it 'Perks', although I can find no record of such a store. He also mentioned it being called 'Liptons' (as in the tea) and Liptons was part of a chain of stores that formed Allied Suppliers. 

My father started as a grocer's boy when he was 14 or 13 years old and by the time he was 18 was one of the youngest shop managers in London. He worked in stores all over North and Central London, before settling down to this store, in Canons Corner, near  Stanmore. In the early 1960s it was still an old fashioned grocers shop, with a service counter, a manager and a host of shop assistants. My father always muddled up the names of the girls that worked for him! When he married my mother he used to sometimes call her by the names of his employees as well, which did not go down too well!  However times were changing, the supermarkets were coming,and the small grocers shops were no longer profitable. The Canons Corner store was closed and he was  moved to various stores around North and West London, usually for a year or two, as a temporary measure. Finally in 1972 Allied Supplies was taken over by Caversham foods, and about that time my father was made redundant, after more than 40 years of service. He finished off his working life as a security guard in the British Library.

Caversham foods was eventually sold to Safeways and in recent years the Morrison's group. My father had a pension from them, which he left to my mother after he died. It was a tiny amount as a widow's pension, but he always laughed about it before his death, as my mother was much younger than him and they ended up having to pay it out for 26 years!

17 comments:

Wendy said...

Handsome man, your father. Large stores can offer more variety and better prices, so now wonder the small independents were gobbled up. I'm glad he could transition into a job with the big stores enabling him to provide for your mom all those years.

Peter said...

I agree with Wendy but still I find it a pity that all these shops had to disappear. Fortunately in our village we still have a few. And we buy there whenever we can. But whether they will survive remains to be seen.

Lovely's Blot said...

I think my father accepted it..he never really got on with the supermarket format although he did manage one for a while before his redundancy. He was very resilient and just gone with getting another job. He took to the to role of security guard very well!

Bob Scotney said...

Of all the village shops that I knew only one still survives, the rest have been swallowed up and closed.

Those old shop keepers like your father knew more about their customers than supermarkets ever will.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

He is handsome, and looks like a nice guy. My Dad was in the grocery business (mananging) for about a decade before working as a truck/driver salesman until he retired. My grandparents owned a small grocery store when I was little, and I loved that place.

Thanks so much for sharing this post with us, I really liked it.

Kathy M.

tony said...

Yes,A Handsome Chap & A Kindly Face.Bob is right, Such A Shame So Many Small Shops have been swallowed up by The Chains.

barbara and nancy said...

So far, of all the SS posts I've read, your's is the first to have first hand knowledge of a real shop - especially the part about living upstairs. What an experience that must have been.
Glad your father was so resilient. That could have been depressing for him, but he seemed to go with the flow.
Nancy

Brett Payne said...

After having been a shop manager for so many years, a position of some responsibility, it must have been quite a change for him.

Little Nell said...

What a pity your father was a bit camera shy as it means we won't see so much of him on here. He sounds a great character and I like the idea of him having the last laugh with the pension.

Hazel Ceej said...

The pension, lol! You father was a handsome man. I think any job that has something to do with books is interesting, so I very much noticed your father's later job in the British Library.

Postcardy said...

We still have some convenience stores here. The bad thing about supermarkets is that there are so few of them, and they are usually quite far apart.

imagespast said...

He looks very smart and proud in his security guard's uniform. Sounds like he was a very hard-working and flexible chap :-) Jo

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

This was most enjoyable to read because you have knowledge of some of the history of how small groceries gradually evolved...or maybe devolved?

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

That pension story is funny. I admire your father's work ethic carrying on after being made redundant. He sounds like a fine man.

Alan Burnett said...

What a fascinating post built around two fascinating old photographs. And I must admit, being a Security Guard at the British Library does sound like my kind of job.

anyjazz said...

A lovely story! You are fortunate to have photographs to accompany your history. Good post!

Karen S. said...

Ah but your father was a handsome man! Thank you for such an interesting story, and do treasure the photos that you have! I know I wish my family had taken more!