A delicious slice of Wanstead history is revealed in the Leyton-based site Across the Divide: Wanstead folk in the 60s didn’t want to be seen in a Co-op.
Margaret Wilks, writing about shops on Leytonstone High Road, said:
â€œBearmans used to have a fantastic Father Christmas. But you had to be middle class to shop in there. They had a lovely tea place downstairs with all the cake stands, and they brought out your tray with your little cups and saucers. The co-op took it over in the late 60’s. It was kept quiet for six months, my mother in law worked there. They kept it quiet because they had so many account holders there, as soon as that came out everybody cancelled. People from Wanstead and Woodford did not deal with the Co-op! It was called Pioneer, for a short while, so that it didn’t sound like Co-op. It closed within six months. People just didn’t go in there.â€
Ironic now that any lingering snob value would, out of Wanstead’s two supermarkets, work in the Co-op’s favour. (Well-spotted, Grouchotendency)