Surbiton - closed branch

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Enthusiasm, ability and hard work must succeed

By Linda Moroney

Waitrose Surbiton, 156-8 Ewell Road, SW. 1919-1958.

Wallace Wyndham Waite purchased Waitrose Surbiton in 1919 with £1,000 in cash. Mr A S Froude, the shop's manager from 1934 to 1957 remembers that sales were "very slow" when he took over - to the extent that (they) would not recover. It was Mr Waite who encouraged him to show determination: "...WWW told me that 'enthusiasm, ability and hard work must succeed in the end' - he was right as, after three years, we went ahead". The Surbiton shop was a typical branch, offering quality service. Waitrose's trade at that time was mainly based on orders collected daily from customers, and the shops became known as "midnight grocers" because deliveries were often not completed until 11pm.

Mr Froude's memories include those of Christmas when iron rails were fixed above the doorway displaying up to 100 turkeys and the wage bill for 11 staff, including Mr Froude, being £18 10s. Then in the second world war the shop's basement became the local air-raid shelter during daytime raids.

During renovations, the new owners, Liberty Bell restaurant, revealed mahogany wall panelling and a large 80-year old mirror etched with the words "Waitrose Ltd select the choicest provisions the world produces".

The new Waitrose, on the site of Claremont Road was opened in 1999, on the site of the old Surbiton Odeon cinema.

This page was added by Linda Moroney on 06/08/2012.