Villa Holiday Homes with a pool
National Trust
First British Supermarket Opens

BOOK LONDON HOTELS

History on 12th January


National Trust founded

First British Supermarket Opens

Manor Park, London The 12th of January 1948 AD

So who opened the first supermarket in Britain? Not Tesco, who only opened their first one in 1954; nor Sainsbury’s, who were four years ahead of them. Not even dear old M&S , though they were close with their Wood Green Store in 1948. The first full-scale supermarket in Britain was opened by the London Cooperative Society, in Manor Park, on January 12 1948 – a mere 32 years after Clarence Saunders began exploiting the self-service concept in his wonderfully named Piggly Wiggly store in Memphis.
The Romford Co-op had introduced a very limited amount of self-service space in 1942, but given there was a war on retail innovation was not a pressing concern, and there was not much to sell.
While many of us rant about the overweening power of the supermarket giants, anyone with experience of the queues and scant choice in surviving counter-service general stores of the 60s and 70s laments their passing very little.
Housewives queued in the bitter cold outside the Manor Park store on opening day; legend has it they were transfixed by the wide selection, and flummoxed by the concept of taking things off shelves themselves. The great-grandchildren of those women now often don’t even go into the store to do their shopping.

More famous dates here

12027 views since 8th January 2010

Comment

From leon lester on 7th August 2011
I worked for Blackpool & fleetwood Co-op in lytham st annes in 1955 and it opened as the first selfservice/supermarket in the nortwest we had a Russan party to visit.

Brit Quote:
All the flower children were as alike as a congress of accountants and about as interesting. - Sir John Mortimer
More Quotes

On this day:
Richard the Lionheart Captured - 1192, A draw in the General Election - both sides get 272 seats - 1910, Harry Ramsden opens 1st Fish and Chip Shop - 1928, Greatest Underground Fire in History - 1984
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages