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”

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #23: Queensway

Everyone’s a winner (though ultimately some won more than others)

So, we go to our penultimate door within The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar. We hope you have enjoyed the journey so far and that it has got you talking to your younger relatives about forgotten foodmarkets or defunct discounters.

The Ad of Christmas Past

Each Christmas Day and Boxing Day, there seemed to have been an arms race between furniture and carpet discounters on ITV. Along with Queensway, there would be MFI’s ad; one for Allied Carpets; sometimes Wades would chip in. Depending on where you lived, ELS or any of the smaller regional chains. It was either them or the holiday adverts.

Continue reading “The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #23: Queensway”

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #10: Hillards

Never Mind the Hillards…

The Ad of Christmas Past

A cheap and cheerful one with a shot of one of their superstores. This advertisement (which starts after a set of Yorkshire Television continuity) may have only went out in the Yorkshire Television region. Continue reading “The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #10: Hillards”

Lost from the Supermarket: A Trolley Load of Anachronisms

Several things which 21st century children will never see or hear in their local superstores

Take a trip to a 21st century superstore, anywhere in the United Kingdom. Today’s stores are sprawling; some of which architecturally nondescript. Commonly, a great number have petrol stations and generous amounts of free parking.

Continue reading “Lost from the Supermarket: A Trolley Load of Anachronisms”

The Lost Pubs and Shops of Stalybridge Town Centre

Loved and Lost on Melbourne Street, Market Street and Grosvenor Street

Melbourne Street, Stalybridge in 2007.
Melbourne Street, Stalybridge in 2007.

Many Moons ago (well, last May to be precise), East of the M60 did an A-Z of defunct retailers in the form of an article entitled The Lost Precinct. This was followed up by a Nikolas Pevsner style guide detailing lost shops in Ashton-under-Lyne. Continue reading “The Lost Pubs and Shops of Stalybridge Town Centre”

Onward to Clarendon Square: 1980s and 1990s Shopping in Hyde

A look back towards the Cheshire town’s transitionary period

Hyde, Market Street
Hyde, Market Street. Photographed by Serigrapher, 2007 (Creative Commons Attribution License)

The 1980s and 1990s were a transitionary, though sometimes non too pleasant period for Hyde. At the beginning of the 1980s, it was along with the rest of Tameside affected by the high unemployment of Thatcher’s term in office. By the end of the nineties, it more or less ended the same way as it was in 1980: this time by the loss of its manufacturing industry. Senior Service moved to Northern Ireland from Hyde mill; Vymura’s plant was subdivided into industrial units; Davies and Metcalfe, after moving to Dukinfield Road from Romiley closed. It was this grim fag end of that decade which would see a change to Hyde’s centre, and one which is still apparent today with the loss of high value retailers in favour of discount stores. Continue reading “Onward to Clarendon Square: 1980s and 1990s Shopping in Hyde”

The Lost Shops of Ashton-under-Lyne

Following on from last month’s Lost Precinct feature

Ashton Market (from Bow Street)
Ashton Market from Bow Street: though several shops have come and gone, Ashton’s market hall and open market remains the town’s centrepiece. This Iceland on the right used to TESCO’s Home and Wear store.

Owing to recent responses from our A to Z of Defunct Retailers, it was suggested that a localised version of The Lost Precinct post should be written.

Your wish is my command.

For the purpose of this follow-up post – and future posts within this thread, I will focus on a particular town on a street-by-street basis, with emphasis on main shopping streets. Given the greater local interest (and the fact I’ve spent goodness knows how many man hours there), I shall start off with Ashton-under-Lyne. Continue reading “The Lost Shops of Ashton-under-Lyne”

20 June 1986: A Superstore is Born…

…on the ashes of a former cotton mill on Foundry Street

On the 20th June 1986, Dukinfield witnessed a sea change in its shopping habits, with the opening of a new Morrisons store on the site of Queen Mill. Prior to then, the norm for Duki residents meant a bus or taxi to Hyde, Stalybridge or Ashton-under-Lyne. All three centres had the popular Kwik Save stores on Reynard Street, Melbourne Street and Bow Street. Tameside’s only ASDA was on the 400/409/410 routes on Langham Street, off Oldham Road. The borough’s biggest store was Hyde’s Fine Fare, even after subdivision with Do-it-All taking one half of the hypermarket. Continue reading “20 June 1986: A Superstore is Born…”

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