This film is part of Free

Traditional Shop

The Cheltenham grocers where time stood still.

News 1977 3 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Media Archive for Central England


Val Lewis visits A. Whittern & Sons, a traditional grocers' shop on Suffolk Parade in Cheltenham. The rise of self-service shopping and the unstoppable march of the supermarket had put many traditional high street shops out of business, so the personal service and wood panelled calm on offer here was a newsworthy novelty. There's slight confusion when both Mr Whitterns try to serve Val but once the senior grocer is sent off to his bacon slicer things run much more smoothly.

In the years since this news item a few shops that hark back to the pre-supermarket way of doing things have returned to the high street, although they tend to be in more affluent parts of the country. A modern 'artisan' shop would probably have more to offer Val Lewis than two jars of instant coffee. Whittern's shop in Cheltenham lasted until 1991 but a portrait of Mr Whittern senior that had been painted on a door at the shop in the 1960s has survived. You can find it at the Wilson Art Gallery and Museum in Cheltenham.