Object Of The Week : S is for Shopping

Monday 21 September 2020

Whilst the Museum is closed and our collections unable to be seen by visitors, we have created a weekly virtual museum with an Object of the Week feature from our collections.

Object of the Week : S is for Shopping

Carrier bags are contentious these days, outlawed for their plastic content but they also have an evocative quality, reminding us of shops past and present.  The Museum holds a collection of various bags from shops long gone in Borehamwood, together with other shop related items, including weighing scales, receipts and shop-front lettering as well as a large archive of photographs.

The story of shops and shopping in Borehamwood may be said to start with ‘Robinson’s Folly’; a row of shops on the east side of Theobald Street in 1871. In fact, Theobald Street was where almost all the earliest shops and houses were situated and was the original village centre which is why Borehamwood folk say “ going down the village” to this day.

In 1939, Borehamwood was a small town developing around its main thoroughfare, Shenley Road.  Until the mid-1920s, most shops and houses had been built at the west end of the road; the east end was mostly isolated.  By the mid ‘20s the film studios arrived and housing sprung up. New shopping parades followed in the late 1940s and were mainly completed by the end of the 1960s.  Shenley Road looks much today as it did then.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s were some of the first multiple stores to introduce self-service.  Tesco came to Borehamwood circa 1954 and was first positioned opposite Whitehouse Avenue, where Borehamwood Café is today.  By the late 1950s it then occupied the site where Lots of Rice now stands and then the current site of the Reel Cinema in the 1980s.  It finally moved to its present position on former Elstree Studio land in the 1990s.

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