Retro Britain: Harry Tuffins supermarket

 

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I love this country, especially when I feel as though I am being sucked into a timewarp, being the retro enthusiast that I am. On my recent travels, I was constantly reminded how the 1970’s – or the 1950’s for that matter – are all around us in certain parts of this splendid isle.

Observe this independent supermarket in Shropshire (pictured above: its welcoming lobby area) called ‘Harry Tuffins’. It stocks everything from bags of peat, rubber boots and tubs of processed meat – and even has an aisle called ‘Fancy Goods’. I’m not joking!

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Pray, where are the chipped potatoes? Oh, look:

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All three freezers-full. Or ‘deep freezes’ as they used to say in days of yore…I like the special effort the staff have made with these laminated signs, to enable folk to find their frozen chips in every shape, size and hue.

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There is a heavy grey atmosphere of pre-Iron Curtain Soviet shopping – functional and frill-free goods storage:

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Tissues, anyone? There is a whole aisle dedicated to them:

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I’m less in love with the retro meat presentation – how terrifying:

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Aha! Pants from the Victorian Era!

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Aside from its functional and sometimes disturbing array of produce, the supermarket name ‘Harry Tuffins’ makes me think of some kind of Robin Hood character prancing around in a forest, drinking mead out of a bell jar – not exactly evocative of a large food and ‘fancy goods’ retailer with a whole aisle dedicated to ‘tissues’. However, my teasing aside, it’s inspiring to learn that Harry Tuffin – an actual real person, not a marketing slogan – actually started up the business with his wife Doris in 1955, and it remains a strong independent mini chain of supermarkets to this day, run by Harry’s daughter, son-in-law and their children. You’ll find the shops in Shropshire and Wales, should you ever need some corned beef, gardening shears or some enormous underwear…

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6 comments

  1. I absolutely must know – what fancy goods are to be found in the fancy goods aisle?!

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  2. Hi Su-Lin, If memory serves me correctly, I believe you may find all manner of things made in tartan, velour and faux crystal. I think I also saw a whole family of teasel hedgehogs re-enacting a Shakespearean scene (yours for £4.99), but by then I may have been hallucinating under the harsh fluorescent strip lights…

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  3. Awesome! I love that kind of thing. There's a store on Norfolk called Roys of Wroxham, and that is very similar. I think he owns everything in Wroxham, or perhaps just owns Wroxham.

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  4. Arf – a store called Roys. I dig this! :o)

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  5. It's a very busy retro supermarket though !! +10 % up at xmas Thanks for the look from the outside though some obvious issues LOL We even had a chuckle — complete refurb starting Match 2011. I know Roys well -yes very similar to us –look out for NISA on the TV in new year –Tuffins were one of 30 members in 1982 now over 700 independant traders are members Paul DelvesMD Grandson of HT

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  6. Welcome to the blog, Paul! Glad to hear things are going well at HT.I tried to get in touch with you via email before Xmas to see if you wanted to be interviewed for a feature I'm writing for Fire & Knives. Will try you again, but alternatively could you please drop me a line at: annerichardson [at] fastmail.fmThanks!

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