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The History of J Sainsbury in Romford & Hornchurch

We all know Sainsburys Superstores, but they were one of the little guys once. I remember, vaguely, the Sainsbury store in South Street, Romford. I remember many other stores in South Street, better, e.g Lyons Tea rooms. My mother caught me in Romford one lunchtime, when i should have been enjoying the lunch at Mawney Road junior school, she walked me straight into Lyons to get a bowl of soup. This is what mums are like, god bless. Just the shame was enough, and I never missed school meals ever again, well not until senior school at least.

J Sainsbury, 30 South Street, Romford, circa 1905

J Sainsbury, 30 South Street, Romford, circa 1905

Kindly provided by the Sainsbury Archive, Museum in Docklands

Anyway, back to Sainsbury, their archivist at their museum, which is  relocating to their Sainsbury study centre at the museum, in Docklands, tells me:

"Our records show that the Sainsbury's branch which opened at 30 South Street in 1902 moved to 46 South Street in 1925; it was enlarged in 1927 and remained at this address until April 1971, when it was replaced by a new supermarket at 37-9 The Liberty, Romford Shopping centre."

Sainsbury have since relocated to the Brewery, Romford. The parking is a nightmare, if you park in their multi-storey car park, as it can take half an hour to escape, but apart from this the store is still better than the average Tesco.

There is a better served Sainsbury, in Hornchurch. This store was built sometime after the move of the Queens Theatre from Station Road, to an area between North Street and Billet Lane, in the late 1970's. The present Queens Theatre is an impressive, modern building facing Langtons & Fairkytes. I really cannot remember what was in the area that the store is now located upon, but the car park is on top of a listed building, the 1908 Fire Station, that strangely caught alight, and burnt down. It was being used by the Hornchurch Drum & Trumpets Corp to store their instruments, and these also went 'up in smoke'.

The car park, alongside Sainsbury, Hornchurch, is (I believe), owned by the London Borough of Havering, and part of the agreement in building here was that the residents could park here for free, for a two hour period. I believe that this is about to be rescinded, and that the important area of green between the Queens Theatre and Sainsbury is also to be built upon, eventually. This is the sign of the times, and the power that large conglomerations now have over local councillors.

The area of green belt, common land is an important area for many events, including three passion plays run by local churches, inviting thousands of people to watch, summer safari events for the local churches again, when the local children enjoy a summer club of events and holiday clubs 'on the green'. Plus. people like to walk their dog.

There are also many community events that happen here, that are 'open' to the public, i.e. can be seen by the passing traffic, and are within easy walking distance of the local town.

I notice that a couple of the old & historical public houses, known as early as the 1600's are about to be changed into pizza restaurants! Come on Local Councillors, sort this out.


And Last updated on: Sunday, 22-Nov-2020 14:15:22 GMT