Kentish Town

stall outside 159 queen's crescent, kentish town.
Fruit stall outside 159 Queen's Crescent, Kentish Town. 47Kb.

 In 1873 the Sainsbury family moved to live above their Kentish Town shop. 159 Queen's Crescent was a much more pleasant area for a family to grow up rather than the tenements of Drury Lane. It began as a dairy shop, selling butter, milk, eggs and cheese. Customers could even buy milk when the shop was closed from a slot machine known as a 'mechanical cow' in the doorway.

The shop did well and John James opened another branch in 1875 at 151 Queen's Crescent. This new shop specialised in bacon and ham. Trade continued to grow and in 1884, a third branch was added at number 98.

Mrs Sophie Jones, whose mother, Hetty Scott, kept a fruit and vegetable stall on Queen's Crescent market remembers what it was like:

It was a dairy shop, selling eggs, butter, margarine which was Crelos (a Sainsbury's brand name) was a shilling (5p) a pound; if you bought 1lb (454g) you were given a gold metal revolving pencil, the cheaper marg was 6d (2 ½p) a lb. Butter was patted up and weighed, never bought more than ¼lb (125g), could buy 2 ozs. Sainsbury's butter was always the best.

On the forecourt was the egg stall. The eggs were delivered in wooden crates about 7ft long and 3ft wide (2.13 x 0.94 m), 6 (15cm) inches deep. I remember Dutch and Chinese eggs delivered by a van and a pair of shire horses. There were several deliveries.

I would make my mother a jug of tea, take it over to Sainsbury's and ask them to put a farthing's-worth of milk in it. Being stall holders, my brothers would go to the baker's, get two rolls, take them to a grocer's shop, they would butter them free, take them over to Sainsbury's, they would fill them up with ham off the bone, and all for 6d.


Back to Drury Lane. Copyright J Sainsbury plc, 2000. On to Stepney