Surbiton (232): Opening

Paying homage to the site’s cinematic history, previously an Odeon cinema, then later a DIY store, before being demolished,Waitrose Surbiton was officially opened on October 19th 1999.

Upon opening, Surbiton had its very own noodle bar, Coffee Shop and a two-storey car park for up to 200 cars. Currently the store has a fish, cheese, delicatessen, sushi, rotisserie, patisserie, olive, hot food, meat, bakery and self serve bakery counters.

The architecture of the store has two “faces”, as reported in The Partnership’s in-house magazine, The Gazette. The main entrance on Claremont Road echoes the 1930s, blending in with the neighbouring shops and nearby railway station. Whereas the other side has a more modern touch with a steel ‘fin’ which runs up from the canopy above the entrance. Waitrose Architect, Martin Hitchcock, wanted an “apologetically and uncompromisingly up-to-date building,” so therefore incorporated the curved metal canopy and sloping glass walls into his design. He also used uplighters to reflect on to the underside of the canopy, which makes the branch particularly eye-catching at night.

A ‘first’ for Waitrose is the 15-metre-diameter mechanical turntable in the branch’s loading bay. Therefore, with space being tight, when the 40ft Waitrose trailers enter the bay, the table simply rotates until the back of the trailer is in the right position for unloading straight into the warehouse.

Address: 15a Claremont Road, Surbiton, Greater London, KT6 4QR

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