Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Bishop's Stores, Kensal Green

The information available online about Bishop's Stores is very patchy so what follows has certainly many shortcomings. The origins of this family wholesale and retail grocer seem to go back to the first decades of the twentieth century if not slightly earlier. The first Bishop's Stores' shops opened in the Ruislip / Windsor area and over the following decades they increased their presence in West London and the Home Counties. The 1960s seem to have been a decade a rapid expansion. In addition to its local shops, the company operated four distribution depots in Willesden, Stevenage, Ruislip and Didcot. By 1975 Bishop's Stores had 75 food stores and in 1978 they opened several shops offering freshly baked products under the name Bishop's Bakehouse. However by 1979 their number of stores had gone down to 66. In the rather unsettled economic climate of the late 1970s Bishop's Stores seems to have run into difficulties and the company, which was still apparently in family hands, fell prey to its competitors. By 1985 Bishop's Group plc, the parent company of Bishop's Stores, had become part of the Booker McConnell plc group (*). Following this acquisition it is possible the new owner either rebranded or closed down the shops owned by Bishop's Stores.

This sign on this branch was certainly painted in the 1920s.

Kensal Rise
Bishop's Stores
46 Chamberlayne
Kensal Rise
N.W. 10
Willesden 183

Below are pictures of the parts between the second and first floor windows.

(*): the name was shortened to Booker plc in 1986. In 2000 Booker plc was bought by the Iceland Group and merged into the Big Food Group. However in 2005 the group was taken private by the Icelandic company Baugur, which then split them into different companies before returning Booker to the stock market in 2007 through a reverse takeover of the convenience store wholesaler Blueheath Holdings. Baugur sold its remaining assets into Booker Group plc a few months before going bankrupt in 2009.

Location: Harrow Road / Pictures taken on: 17/08/2009

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