Dunstable

Photo:Delicatessen at Dunstable 1966

Delicatessen at Dunstable 1966

John Lewis Partnership archives

Photo:Salmon sampling at Dunstable 1966

Salmon sampling at Dunstable 1966

John Lewis Partnership archives

Photo:Salmon sampling at Dunstable 1966

Salmon sampling at Dunstable 1966

John Lewis Partnership archives

Photo:Opening day at Dunstable 1966

Opening day at Dunstable 1966

The Gazette

Photo:Dunstable 1966

Dunstable 1966

John Lewis Partnership archives

closed branch

By Linda Moroney

'Smoked salmon sandwiches "a la Waitrose" at 4s 6d each, is something that customers at the public house next door to the new Waitrose were able to enjoy on opening day on 10th May 1966. Several experienced Partners from other branches joined Dunstable to help new Partners - three checkout operators from Henley and Hounslow included.

The first in a precinct and the seventeenth Partnership supermarket, Waitrose Dunstable was managed by Mr P D Willetts, late of North Watford. By 10.20am on the day of opening, Waitrose central management, down for the opening, were going outside in twos and threes to gaze with visible pleasure at the large fleet of prams parked by the windows.

The new branch had ninety-five Partners, most joining locally but with a few transferring from other branches. Amongst those was Mrs K Burtwell, a former pay clerk at John Barnes up until 1952.

The delicatessen section proved popular, selling out of Rollmops (at sevenpence each) by 11.30am. Also doing well was the fruit and veg section 'Dunstable evidently has a liking for ugli fruit, capsicums, aubergines and avocado pears'.

The branch closed on 15th September 1984. The sixty-odd Partners retained a high-morale and many of them looked forward to positions at Waitrose Harpenden which was due to open at the beginning of October. "We're trading with fully stocked shelves right until the last minute", said deputy manager Mr David Godfrey. Partners enjoyed a closing party in a nearby pub - "I wouldn't miss it for anything" said the branch cook, Mrs Margaret Rollings.

This page was added by Linda Moroney on 05/10/2012.
Comments about this page

So sweet finding this! Best working days of my life at Dunstable Waitrose! And how happy we'd be to revive our flagging town Ironically, the site is now a Poundland, one of the fastest growing shops in the country! Happy days and thank you for this! Jean x

By Jean Bruce
On 30/10/2012

And for those of you on Facebook, you should be able to follow this link below.We've had 105 'likes' for the picture of Dunstable Waitrose and many comments.This site was given as further info...so here's ours back for you! Love Jean x If the link doesn't work then the page is 'Don't let Dunstable Die https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dont-Let-Dunstable-Die/97387689261?ref=ts&fref=ts#!/photo.php?fbid=10151153385809262&set=a.485859064261.267405.97387689261&type=1&theater

By Jean Bruce
On 07/11/2012

Sweet post Jean, and you are right - great times at branch 115. Met some very lovely people there.

By Paul L-S
On 11/12/2012

My late mother-in-law Joan Bryce worked at Dunstable branch I think she retired around 1980 - what a lovely company to work for, when she was very ill a long time after she had retired a welfare officer from the John Lewis Partnership came to see her to offer any help she may need. I know she had thoroughly enjoyed working at Waitrose and very much appreciated the contact after she had retired.

By Linda Bryce
On 31/12/2012

Bring back waitrose.Dunstable needs it !

By c.Ryan
On 17/03/2013

I worked there in early 70's and had great friends in the store. JLP great group to work with - remember hooking up there too with a guy in the warehouse - well no more of that for now but what happened to Dunstable shopping?

By kathleen [sharkey]
On 01/01/2015

Great to see pictures and comments about Dunstable. I started in 1966 just after the branch opened and worked on FRV and eventually became Section Manager. In those days the branch closed on Thursday afternoon which gave us time to prepare for the busy weekend.A lot of the male staff would play football or cricket In the lunch hour in the local church gardens before returning to restock the branch. I was there when the branch closed for the last time and was really sorry to see 115( as it was) close. I made many friends who I still see today. After nearly 40 years as a partner I'm now retired but Dunstable will never be forgotten. 

By Bryan Dovey
On 17/06/2015

I was a junior at the Waitrose in Dunstable from 1967 to 1971.

The work was mainly in the warehouse, where we climbed the racking like monkeys to find the appropriate boxes to send to the shop floor. 

Mr Willets was the manager and Mr Humphries the deputy. We worked Friday evenings and all day Saturday. There were some very special colleagues there amongst the full time staff and I have not kept in touch with anyone! Very sad.

Sad also that the store closed down, was it because of the general degeneration of the once-proud Dunstable, I wonder?

By John Townsend
On 16/11/2015

Its  42 years since i left Waitrose in Dunstable and would love to here from anyone who remembers those days and some of the characters and fun we had. Gosh how much easier those checkouts would have been had we had todays technology -  if anyone recalls me, or any other staff would be interesting to know what happened to them.

By KATHLEEN SHARLEY
On 16/11/2015

Hello John Townsend 

Wonder if you recall all the warehouse staff there was one guy in particular either Dave or Keith Goodman do you know what happened to him or did you work with him; would love to know.

 

By KATHLEEN SHARLEY
On 25/04/2016

I was a weekend worker from the day it opened.  Had my picture taken with Bob Monkhouse which was printed in the Gazette.  I loved it there and progressed quickly to the tills from stacking shelves. Waitrose used to give us free sandwiches for lunch and enforced breaks on Saturdays because we were all so young. A lovely company to work for. Mr Willets was great. Met a friend there, Mary Bruce, we went about together for a few years. Memories!

By Gail Valentine
On 07/02/2017

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