The Slow Death of the English Village Shop

When I were a lad, my family moved into the village where I still live. OK, it may not quite still be a village in the same sense. The notorious large town nearby has continued to expand, and much development of the land in the village has occurred, but still you get some feeling of separation from adjacent communities.

When I were a lad we had Three pubs and three shops. A Post-Office/General Store, A Greengrocers, and a Chemist-come-hardware store where you could buy just about everything else (including a pint of live maggots for fishing bait). Now we are down to two pubs and one shop. The Greengrocer and the Chemist closed a long time ago, but the Post Office struggled along. Then they lost the franchise to sell lottery tickets, that was followed by the removal of the Sub-post office facilities. So it is essentially just a newsagent/confectioners shop dispensing tobacco products to the kids on their way to school. I say newsagent, but that part of the business seems to have collapsed. We have always had a daily paper delivered, but a couple of weeks ago we were informed that they would no longer be able to offer that service. Mild panic set in, as the next nearest Newsagent had closed two years ago. But a business in the Notorious Town took the opportunity to take over the paper deliveries.

The village up the hill has more shops, but even there they have been going through some painful changes. For many years a small local supermarket operated very successfully, and with long opening hours was a boon to workers snatching a ready-meal on their way home from work. Then Tesco decided to open a ‘Local’ store, they were quickly followed by Sainsbury. Very soon the local supermarket had closed, unable to compete. That was followed by the Newsagent and the Off-License.

And finally the Local Butcher, a traditional butcher, serving local meat and cutting it they way the customer required, found that he could no longer continue. He decide to try his hand as a fish-and-chip shop. This was somewhat controversial as part of the community thought a ‘Chippy’ was far too Infra-dig for their liking. But he prevailed and finally got permission for a change-of-use of the premises (but with some restrictions). I am happy to report that the Chippy is doing well. Very well.

With more and more petrol stations adding shopping facilities, the need for people to go to a Village shop is declining, especially if parking has been restricted to keep traffic flowing though, and with the big chains invading the smallest of villages local independents cannot compete. There is still a small local coffee shop, I await with dread the arrival of Starbucks or Costa.

~ by @mmonyte on April 19, 2010.

One Response to “The Slow Death of the English Village Shop”

  1. That makes me sad 😦 I can’t hardly imagine those places without the local gossip etc.

    Remember when Brit and I moved into H? We were greeted by the local shop owner who knew everything about us, our names and everything and exactly which house we were moving into… Ah..I guess all of that sense of community will be flushed too. 😦

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