|Opening a trade show in 1960. |
Photo courtesy HERTS ADVERTISER
Twenty years after the first homes went up on the former Marshalswick Farm, the shops finally arrived. The three linked blocks facing the car park and a wing of five shops on each side. A few years later five more units were added on each side. The car park seemed vast at the time and there was always plenty of space. Yes, really! And many drivers and cyclists used the service road directly in front of the shops as well.
Pride of place at the front was a double-sized unit which went to Marshalswick Car Sales, with a grocery on each side of it – Pearks and Bishop's. However, within 3 years the showroom had moved to the petrol station site and Bishop's (now Budgen's) snapped up the showroom to triple the size of its grocery; or shall we call it a supermarket?
One of the first shops to open was Edward Carter, where Marshalswick Furniture is today. Mr Carter ran a diy store, leasing two units, as well as having a shop in Beech Road, both later being taken over by Timberland. In order to promote business in a growing residential estate he organised trade shows at St Mary's corner, both in the hall and in marquees. Somehow he managed to find Harry Oakes who agreed to open the show in 1960. Harry won't mean much to people now, but in 1960 he played the patriarchal role in a young radio series. It was called "The Archers". The same series runs even more successfully today.
|Bishop's Stores, now Budgen's|
|The centre block at the front in 1959. Some shops are not yet|
open and you could play football on the car park!
Photo courtesy CHRIS CARR.
|The same view on a recent Friday morning at 9am.|