Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Corner shop


Ownership of the shops on Victoria Road in Saltaire seems to change quite regularly these days.  This business, with a prominent corner position at the cross roads where Caroline Street crosses Victoria Road, must be one of the longest-lived.  It's a general grocery store, off-licence and newsagent owned and run by husband and wife Karan Singh and Parveen Kumari, who took it over in 1987.

The shop, No 12, was originally the village's chemist shop run by a succession of different people from 1871 to the 1970s - though has also been described as a drysalter (selling a variety of chemical products such as glue, varnish, salt, preservatives and pickles) and it appears to have also sold wines and spirits and other goods for much of its history.  In the 1940s and 50s it was owned by the Richardsons, though I don't think they lived here.  Their son, Tony Richardson (1928-1991), became a renowned film maker and director and was married to Vanessa Redgrave in the 60s.  He was the father of Joely and the late Natasha, both actresses in their own right.

The shop in its present form is one of the few in Saltaire that caters mainly for those living and working in the village, and students from the local college, rather than the tourist trade.  Parveen and Karan are well-liked and, living above the shop, have really put roots down in the village.. literally as well as figuratively!  A recent interview that I read in a local magazine said that Parveen enjoys spending time on her allotment beside the canal.  I think it's lovely that, though change in Saltaire been constant since the village was built, there are also so many ways in which not much has changed at all - and a local shopkeeper's life is maybe not so very different, in essence, from that of her Victorian predecessors.

11 comments:

  1. We've brought a beautiful entrance with a beautiful B & W photography.
    Greetings. -

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  2. What a lovely photograph, takes me straight back to my Yorkshire roots. I find it moving that your chosen subject is somewhere that people walk and drive by every day without noticing but you have captured its beauty and permanence.

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  3. It's great to read that the old corner shops still exist in your neck of the woods. Not down here anymore. I miss ducking into these for a packet of fags and a bit of a gossip.

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  4. This is the kind of piece I will definitely be sharing my friends today:-)

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  5. Reminds me of the shops in Chicago when I was growing up...nice to read about the new owners as well.

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  6. Great use of B&W!it magnifies the building and let it out of time.

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  7. I remember that shop being "Grimley's Chemists".

    As Pharmacists they would have had a license for alcohol but primiarily for manufacturing / sale of medicinal preparations. Not an "off-license" in the usual sense of selling drink for consumption away from (ie "off") the premises.

    I seem to recall there being quite a hoo-hah when the shop applied for a licence to sell alcohol. It was the first in the village to have one (The Co-op, Saltaire Wines and Bucknells, the latter being long gone, were/are all outside the actual village boundary)

    I agree about it being great to have a shop that isn't tourist-centred. Saltaire is a "World Heritage Site", but it is also "Home" to many people.

    I didn't know about the connection to the Richardsons / Redgraves ... very interesting =D

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  8. Wonderful post, Jenny, full of colour and interest!

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  9. Neat to hear about the history of the place and interesting to note that in general life hasn't changed much for the modern day shop keeper. Happy Valentine Day! ~Lili

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  10. Another of your well-researched and informative posts about Saltaire.

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  11. Interesting observations. It certainly would be an advantage living above the shop.

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