Tuesday, 14 February 2012
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.