The Stores That Tesco Ate: A Lost Precinct Not So Perfect Ten

A look at ten supermarket chains absorbed by Tesco since 1945

For social historians and retail commentators, the recent history of Tesco is peppered with twists and turns. Contemporary hagiographies focus on the store chain’s tax affairs, or their presence on our High Streets.

Much of the groundwork was set in the 1960s and 1970s thanks to Jack Cohen. After organic growth, the end of the 1950s onwards saw Tesco buying regional chains like Irwins and Hillards. Even so, their integration wasn’t all plain sailing: for example, outstanding debts; unsuitable sites; and planning issues. Its turning point came when Ian MacLaurin joined the Tesco board after being a management trainee. As Managing Director in 1977, he ditched the Green Shield stamps, a gimmick which only ten years before, drew shoppers to their stores.

The rest, they say, is your favourite humanities cliché. It set the store chain onto an upward trajectory. Stores grew in size as well as numbers: standard sized supermarkets; plus Extras, Metros and Expresses. Then global domination, and a loyalty card scheme that took the retail world by storm.

In our Lost Precinct Not So Perfect Ten, we look at the ten store chains that Tesco have acquired since 1945. Continue reading “The Stores That Tesco Ate: A Lost Precinct Not So Perfect Ten”

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Eatymology: A Tea Potted History of the Superstore Café

Feast of the M60 looks at how the superstore café has evolved in the last fifty years

Please forgive me for taking a well trodden part for this introduction. In my formative years, the supermarket café seemed fairly exotic. Supermarkets, when I was young, were small, in town centre locations, and a bit chaotic. The edge of town supermarket with its vast car parking seemed otherworldly. Back then, the Fine Fare hypermarket in Hyde, Ashton’s original ASDA, and the Shopping Giant stores in Droylsden and Denton were notable exceptions. Continue reading “Eatymology: A Tea Potted History of the Superstore Café”

Reality Estates That The Heroes Got: 4. Primrose Bank and Crete Street Tower Blocks

Montrose House and Primrose House: Partington’s short lived twin towers, on opposite sides of Ashton Road

Montrose House, Oldham
Montrose House, Hathershaw: a black and white view of the tower block. Image © 1974 Paul Thorpe.

Throughout the United Kingdom, local authorities were given incentives to build taller tower blocks for slum clearance schemes. As well as heights, there were incentives to adopt experimental building systems. For example: Sectra, Bison, and Jespersen. As well as speeding up the slum clearance schemes, a lot of builders made a packet. Continue reading “Reality Estates That The Heroes Got: 4. Primrose Bank and Crete Street Tower Blocks”

1992: The Last Great Year of 8-Bit Computing

Remembering the commercial twilight era of the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Amstrad CPC

1992 was a strange yet eventful year in British home computing. The Sega Mega Drive rose in popularity, the NES was replaced by the 16-bit SNES in many homes. In Dear Old Blighty, there were two factors which delayed their supremacy (for another year at least). One was the recession. Another was the dominant home computer market. Former C64 users were just as likely to plump for an Amiga, which led to 1993 being some sort of a memorable year for Jay Miner’s wonder machine. The console may have been an extra, filed under ‘nice to have’. Continue reading “1992: The Last Great Year of 8-Bit Computing”

A Look Back to the ’90s: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten ‘So 1990s’ footnotes in popular culture

Farmcraft, Mapperley, Ilkeston, 12 March 1990
The Sometimes Slightly Narked Bus Hopping Nerd is seen slightly obscured from view in this image, identifiable by a two-tone blue coat. These are the classmates from my old school at the (now gone) Farmcraft camp on Mundy Farm, Mapperley, near Ilkeston, Derbyshire. Oh, and this image was snapped by Jeni Mobbs (late of the Ewing School) on the 12 March 1990.

Where has the time gone? This time 26 years ago, the creator of this blog was having his tea in front of Granada Tonight. Being a Wednesday, yours truly would be drawing in front of Coronation Street or The Ron Lucas Show.The year was 1990. I was back at the Ewing School after half term holidays. Within the first few days of 1990 I knew change was on the horizon. Secondary school was only months away. Continue reading “A Look Back to the ’90s: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Ladysmith Shopping Centre Through The Ages

Four ages of Ashton-under-Lyne’s 1960s precinct

The Ladysmith Centre, Ashton-under-Lyne
The Ladysmith Shopping Centre, photographed with a 50 year-old camera on Ilford XP2 35mm film, in February 2013.

Contrary to popular belief, the Ladysmith Shopping Centre wasn’t Ashton’s first pedestrianised precinct. Stamford Arcade (from Old Street to Stamford Street), Clarence Arcade (again on Stamford Street), and Market Avenue (from the Earl of Stamford’s street up to Bow Street) beat Metrolands’ development to it. Continue reading “Ladysmith Shopping Centre Through The Ages”

Jekyll’s Cotton Bale: Hyde Pubs Past and Present

A wander around the streets of Hyde, at public houses past and present

On this blog and many others of a beer related nature, we see many a tale of pubs closing and being asset stripped by Pubcos/Hospitality Based Estate Agents. Ashton-under-Lyne is one place that features in the same paragraphs.

It is worth noting that Hyde has taken a similar hit. Its casualties being some good pubs like The Unity and The George. In spite of this, the town centre has three ‘must-see’ pubs for any real ale enthusiast. Four if you count The Cotton Bale. From Kingston Bridge to Godley Arches, our round-up has a bias towards the town centre. There is some random diversions to others past and present, which are a short bus ride or walk away.

To supplement our previous round-ups of Ashton and Stalybridge pubs, one on Hyde is long overdue. In spite of the title, we may throw in a few clubs.

Continue reading “Jekyll’s Cotton Bale: Hyde Pubs Past and Present”

Go Cheapway to… Hayfield

East of the M60‘s look at the Derbyshire village

The village of Hayfield for many walkers is both a starting point and a footnote in social history. In the latter guise it is associated with the Mass Trespass of Kinder Scout which took place on the 24 April 1932. Continue reading “Go Cheapway to… Hayfield”

In Pictures: The 2015 Whit Walks – Dukinfield and Stalybridge

East of the M60 World Exclusive: images of this year’s Whit Walks in Dukinfield and Stalybridge

Eight churches, four from Dukinfield and four from Stalybridge, upheld the traditional Procession of Witness on a cloudy Whit Sunday. Continue reading “In Pictures: The 2015 Whit Walks – Dukinfield and Stalybridge”

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