Wednesday, 14 September 2011


I recently paid a visit to the Black Country Living Museum near Dudley. I can heartily recommend this as a fascinating glimpse into a recent but bygone age. Among other things, it seeks to recreate streets just as they were fifty to eighty years ago when the corner shop ruled supreme.

It struck me as I entered an old fashioned grocer's or hardware shop that I was not so much viewing the past as glimpsing the future.

There is nothing quite so sad as seeing the demise of our shops as one by one they succumb to the relentless advance of the supermarket and megastores. Unable to compete with the buying power of these huge establishments, the greengrocer and the butcher sadly close their doors for the last time and likely as not, end up working on the vegetable or meat departments at Tesco or Asda.

It is sad but also completely inevitable. The sweet shop where I spent my pocket money will no doubt be consigned to the museum in future. I can only hope that Joni Mitchell was wrong when she sang 'they took all the trees and put 'em in a tree museum'.

Nostalgia just isn't what it used to be *sigh.

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