croydon, pre 1896
Croydon, pre 1896.
In 1882 John James Sainsbury bought a shop at 11 London Road, Croydon and converted it into a showpiece branch. His son John Benjamin later recalled the great care his father gave to the decoration of the shop. John James selected the tiles for the walls and counters and mosaics for the floor. These were predominantly in the rich browns and greens which were fashionable at the time. The counter tops consisted of Italian marble.

This is how the Croydon shop would have looked on its opening day. At the far end of the shop a mahogany screen was erected, where customers paid for their purchases. The windows were decorated with stained glass spandrels. Upon the rich marbled granite shopfront were carved the words 'Daily Arrivals of Pure Butter'. Above this, in even larger gilded letters was the name 'J.Sainsbury'.

London Road, Croydon, 1894.

1892 Croydon Street Directory.

Many rivals thought John James had been too lavish in fitting out a new shop. John Benjamin later recalled that:

failure was predicted for such extravagance by others but the critics missed the point my father had in mind, and that was to produce a shop to ensure perfect cleanliness and freedom from the menace of all food shops in those days - mice and rats. For all time my father must stand as the founder of the modern provision trade.

An 1894 advertisement described the goods on offer.

The store had great success, and John James opened further branches in Croydon, as this 1892 Croydon Street Directory shows.


Back to Islington. Copyright J Sainsbury plc, 1999. On to Balham.