249-241 - Tesco Supermarket

Tesco transformed shopping on Church Road. In 1966 there were still shops in Church Road that had started trading in the Victorian age. Tesco was unashamedly new, modern and brash. The new supermarket which emerged on Church Road in 1966/67, was symbolic of a new shopping approach. Architecturally it was very much of its time; plain, functional, hardly beautiful. It was a reflection of 1960s new thinking and was a stark contrast to the Victorian/Edwardian buildings it had replaced and which surrounded it. Tesco's new Redfield store was the Mini Car, the mini skirt and Top of the Pops. The style was one of Day-Glo posters and Green Shield Stamp advertising. Significantly the age of 'one-stop shopping' had arrived on 'The Road'. It was a new world.

In the 1960s, Tesco's style was deliberately very different from the approach of the traditional grocery chains, businesses that had started in Victorian times. For example, Tesco store openings were designed to be high profile, exciting and flamboyant - bands, balloons and celebrities were the order of the day. This new Tesco produced razzamatazz and was witnessed by Dave Cheesley who was there for the opening of Tesco, Church Road.

Dave Cheesley: "The 22nd August 1967 was one of the biggest days in the history of Redfield. On that Saturday the brand new Tesco Supermarket was opened in Church Road. For months, locals had watched the building being constructed and waited in anticipation for its opening. This was to be the first supermarket in the area, bringing self-service, cheaper prices and best of all Green Shield Stamps.

To open the store, Tesco had invited Coco the Clown, who was probably the best-known Circus Clown in the world and was also known for his road safety appeals. I was 14 at the time and loved the circus, so I could not wait to see him. A small procession had been organised which went along Chalks Road. As far as I remember Coco was in an old fashioned car. He was signing autographs and waving to the children and all the while making his ginger wig lift up and down. By the time the procession reached the new store hundreds were assembled outside. The police had stopped the traffic on Church Road. Coco performed the opening ceremony; the ribbon was cut and the people swarmed into the store. The supermarket age had arrived at last."

Significantly the new store boasted a Home 'n' Wear department. This sold Tesco's range of own label, non-food products which were branded as 'Delamare'. The Home 'n' Wear section was separate from the main store with its own tills and doors. It was very popular because of its value for money items, an example being easy care clothing. For 1970s youngsters it was always worth going in the 'Home 'n' Wear' because it always seemed to stock an interesting, if random selection of toys. Surprisingly, Hornby train sets (e.g the famous Blue Pullman), Dinky cars and skateboards all made an appearance in the 1970s. These items were considerably cheaper than in specialist shops and of course they came with an ample supply of Green Shield Stamps.

A representation of how the store looked in the late 1960s. Note the Home 'n' Wear section.

By 1986 the Home 'n' Wear department had been phased out and the space was incorporated into the main supermarket. Beer, wine and spirits were relocated to this area. Ten years previous there had been a significant change of direction for Tesco. In 1977 Tesco jettisoned Green Shield Stamps, introduced new red & white signage and launched Operation Checkout, an aggressive price cutting strategy.

In 2002 Tesco Redfield was transformed into a new look Tesco Metro. The store was completely refurbished with new fixtures and fittings, lighting, signage, checkouts and store exits. The new checkouts and exit utilised the site of the old 'Home 'n' Wear' department.

Serving Redfield since 1967.

Green Shield Stamps

Tesco was founded by Jack Cohen in 1919 and the Church Road supermarket opened in 1967. Green Shield stamps were introduced in 1963, the stamps could be exchanged for a range of goods contained in the Green Shield stamp catalogue.

Old Picture
Early 20th Century Church Road. The George and Dragon is on the right of the photograph.
Then, as now, a very busy scene. Note the tram in the distance.

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