Wednesday Picture: A personal history of a grocery chain in Kentish Town

Des Whynam can trace his Kentish Town ancestry back to 1844. Here’s his personal account of working at a now forgotten chain of grocery stores based in NW5

Head Office & Warehouse, 1 Spring Place, Kentish Town, 1955
Head Office & warehouse, 1 Spring Place, Kentish Town, 1955

Tucked away in a quiet quarter of west Kentish Town there stands an inoffensive white building of no particular merit or importance.

And yet current occupiers Autograph Sound are as relevant to our modern age as the earlier Walton, Hassell & Port Ltd, a provisions merchants or grocery stores.

From 1860 it was the company’s head office and warehouse, and the once successful retail chain eventually numbered six shops in the local area (on Kentish Town Road, Malden Road, Mansfield and Queen’s Crescent), with a total of seventy across the capital, operating right up to the late 1960s.

And it was on a sunny Saturday morning in 1955, aged 14, that I started my first stint there.

Autograph Studios, February 2013
Autograph Studios, February 2013. Photo: Stephen Emms

  • Show Comments

  • Andrew Hoyle

    Fascinating. My parents had two grocery shops in Kentish Town – Hoyles.

    They moved away in about 1960.

    • Kentishtowner

      Where were the two shops located?

  • Mike Walton

    Hello Des,

    Great to find someone who not only worked for W.H & P but is also interested in the firm’s history. Did we ever meet? I joined the Company around 1974.

    Kind regards,

    Mike Walton

    • Howe

      My Father managed the store in East Lane North Wembley for a number of years, and we lived above the Shop until 1967 when I left home to get married. My Father also ran Wembley,then Ickenham then finally just before he retired Brookmans Park

    • Mike Ktori

      Hi Mike, I also worked at WH&P. Branch 5, Court Parade Wembley, under Peter Duckworth and Roger Woods. I then went on to manage branch 19, Field End Road Eastcote, until it closed in 1981. I look back at those days with fond Memories; Happy Days!

  • Anthony Abrey

    from Anthony Abrey: I worked in both Golders Green W H & P manager Mr Webb and Falloden Way manager Mr Bull for about four years in total then left to join the
    Civil Service. I enjoyed every moment. Doe anyone have a photo of either of these

  • Lee Saunders

    Great read. My grandad & great uncle (Reg & Eric Saunders) had a dry cleaning shop on Kentish Town high road from 1957 until 1985. My great uncle who’s 84, still tells me great stories about the area, they new everyone, as we all lived in Willis Rd near the baths. It’s now an army surplus shop.

  • Jean Reynolds

    The chap in the picture is Lenny goldsmith .