fascia panel at 48 Chapel St.
Fascia panel at 48 Chapel Street.
In 1882 John James Sainsbury opened his first Islington branch at 48 Chapel Street. The fascia board proudly proclaimed:

J. Sainsbury's Shilling Butter is the Best Value in the World. Quality Perfect, Prices Lower.

The shop was extremely popular. John Benjamin Sainsbury, who worked there for a while, later recalled how one Friday it achieved record sales of £400 for the day's trade:

48 chapel street, islington, c1900.
48 Chapel Street, Islington, c1900. 41Kb.

It was an achievement of exceptional merit for all those engaged, of which I was one. The occasion stands out clearly in my mind.

We did a great deal of business from the open windows and the stalls, cheese on the left window, bacon on the right, eggs on the left stall and Ostend rabbits and pickled pork on the right.

The success of 48 Chapel Street encouraged John James to expand his business there. In 1887 he opened the first Sainsbury's shop to specialise in poultry and game. This was an unusual step, as these were expensive luxuries not usually available in working class areas.

1895 kelly's post office directory
1895 Kelly's Post Office Directory entry for Chapel Street.
John James opened another provisions shop at 76 Chapel Street, Islington, in 1889. The range of goods was similar to that stocked at 48 Chapel Street. Finally, in 1893 he took over a little dairy at 44½ Chapel Street where he sold milk and butter. This shop had previously belonged to a competitor, George Jackson, and so did not need expensive new fittings.

It was common practice in Sainsbury's early days to have a number of shops in the same street, particularly in markets like Chapel Street where the stalls outside each shop added to its trade.


Back to Stepney. Copyright J Sainsbury plc, 2000. On to Croydon.