Locks Heath

Co-op exterior in 2013 | Chris Meachem
Co-op exterior in 2013
Chris Meachem
Waitrose exterior 2015 | Terry Hammond
Waitrose exterior 2015
Terry Hammond
Co-op checkout line 2013 | Chris Meachem
Co-op checkout line 2013
Chris Meachem
Waitrose checkout line 2015 | Terry Hammond
Waitrose checkout line 2015
Terry Hammond
Co-op rear wall 2013 | Chris Meachem
Co-op rear wall 2013
Chris Meachem
Waitrose rear wall 2015 | Terry Hammond
Waitrose rear wall 2015
Terry Hammond
Locks Heath
Waitrose bakery aisle 2015, previously a Peacocks clothing concession
Waitrose bakery aisle 2015, previously a Peacocks clothing concession
Waitrose wines dept. 2015, previously a Peacocks clothing concession | Terry Hammond
Waitrose wines dept. 2015, previously a Peacocks clothing concession
Terry Hammond

The area was well known for it’s strawberry growing industry going back to the Enclosure Acts of 1866 which allowed common land to be split up into plots for that purpose.

Railway sidings at the nearby Swanwick station were packed with wagons waiting to ship the strawberries far and wide.

There are many references to the strawberry fields eg house names and the local pub has recently been renamed ‘Strawberry Fields’ as well as a new housing development nearby.

The Locks Heath Shopping Centre was originally opened in 1983.

During 2013 there were a number of public exhibitions regarding the future development of the Locks Heath Shopping Centre (now called ‘the Locks Heath Shopping Village’).

Amongst the wide ranging proposals was one that would demolish the existing Co-op building to make way for a larger parking area with a new competitor’s supermarket built behind the Co-op site.

During one of the exhibitions, staff from the competitor were on hand to answer questions.

It therefore came as a surprise when it was announced that Waitrose would be taking over the Co-op in early 2014.

Waitrose arrival has prompted the landlords to re-open a closed section of car park to cope with the additional traffic. This area was originally destined to be a fast food outlet which seems to have lapsed.

I’ve a very loose connection with the Co-op going back 50 years to when I started work as a ‘Saturday boy’ with a company called Fine Fare in a converted cinema in Hayes, Kent.

To cut a long story short Fine Fare was eventually absorbed into the Dee Corporation which also swallowed up Pricerite, MacFisheries and Liptons, to name but a few.

The Dee Corporation later became Somerfield which in turn was purchased by the Co-op.

Having begun full time work for Waitrose in 1965 needing a bus, train and tube to get to Gloucester Road, it’s ironic that I’ve now got a Waitrose totem sign directly opposite our bedroom window !

The attached photos are a small selection of before and after which demonstrates how the interior of the building has changed.

 

 

Comments about this page

  • How funny that you should mention Fine Fare in Hayes. It was opened by Diana Dors wearing a pink fur coat as she got out of a pink Rolls Royce.
    My grandparents lived in Hurtdene Avenue and we had walked to Shipleys the chemist as the ribbon was being cut.
    Today a neighbour and I were talking about the Andrew Marr tv programme in which Diana Dors is mentioned.
    Today we have received a notification of possible changes to the Locks Heath Centre, through looking at their web site for info, we wondered how long Waitrose had been here. 7 years in 2021.
    That is how I found your site
    What a small world.

    By Evelyn Cook (10/12/2020)

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