In previous Then & Now comparisons we saw how the old fashioned terraced shop belonging to W.H Watts at number 30 Warwick Road was converted to a modern supermarket by knocking it through into the house at number 32 next door. This Then & Now comparison shows the finished article, complete with a supporting pillar holding up a lintel where the party wall between the two properties once stood.
This appears to have been done as an expansion of the shop as it became managed as a franchise of VG Stores. The VG chain of small supermarket franchises supplied and marketed and own-brand products to independently owned grocers. VG were later purchased by Alldays, who were in turn purchased by the Co-Op.
Robin Leach’s website contains a history of the supermarkets in Kenilworth, including some details on E.H.Watts. Robin tells us that the store opened up as a self service supermarket in response to the arrival of FineFare up the road, and also offered home deliveries: www.victoriankenilworth.co.uk/index.php/kenilworth-supermarkets-and-talisman-square
This development was an ambitious throw of the dice for an established small local trader. It represented an attempt to modernise and increase square footage in the fight against the coming of the supermarkets.
A huge thank you to Su Hadley and Tony Watts for providing, via Facebook, this and other images of the various incarnations of their grandparents’ shop.