Berkhamsted (117): Opening

Waitrose Berkhamsted opened in 1969.

“Berkhamsted gets a Waitrose supermarket

The Waitrose branch in Berkhamsted re-opened as a supermarket on Tuesday. Until a year ago the branch consisted of four small shops offering counter service, credit and delivery. During the re-building, only the wine department continued trading.
The new supermarket with over 7,000sq feet of selling space contains all the normal Waitrose departments, including delicatessen. It has 83 Partners, including eight who worked in the old shop. The rear entrance leads on to a public carpark.

Mr Payne who was Manager there before the rebuilding, returns to his old job. He began his apprenticeship to the grocery trade at the shop in 1929 (and had lived above it for 5 years before that.) He left Berkhamsted in 1933 but returned to it in 1946 after his war service.
He spent most of the opening morning greeting the customers he had served for years. They all appeared to welcome the transformation of the old shop into a Partnership standard supermarket and no one seemed to have any word of regret or nostalgia for the small, old premises they had known before.
Not only the customers appreciated the change. Mrs Fenn who has worked in the shop since 1934 and is now selling in the wine department, was delighted with the new shop. Although the old shop was picturesque, it was also very inconvenient to work in.

The new supermarket has a long history.
Mr Payne once dug up a vinegar jar dated 1837 on the premises, so it seems there was a grocer’s shop on the site at least that far back. In the late 1800’s the shop was called Caton’s. At the turn of the century, it became Lindeman, then Charles Chilton and then Blunt and Lindsay. Kingham’s bought it in 1924 and they in turn were bought by the Partnership in 1960.

Berkhamsted has a population of 15,000 and is 28 miles from London.

Edited excerpt from The Gazette, 4th October 1969.

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