Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Worcester Park & The Chamber of Secrets

It's time to get on my Worcester Park soap box, so please bear with me on this one.

I got hold of a local 'Guide Book & Directory' published by the 'Worcester Park & District Chamber Of Trade' back in November 1957.

I shall share with you some its many gems in due course, but it started me thinking about the future of Worcester Park's shops and what is being done to promote local traders in the face of ever-growing competition from the big shopping centres, the all-conquering supermarkets and so forth.

The Worcester Park & District Chamber of Trade was, I assumed, a defunct organisation - until I spotted in the window of Nationwide on Central Road a window sticker for the very same organisation. So what is it up to these days? Well, very little on the surface of things - a cursory web search reveals a mention of it in a Sutton Council list of local organisations in March 2007, but nothing else.

Then there is the Worcester Park Traders' Association. I only know that they exist because of the Christmas fair that appears in Central Road for one evening a year (passing by a good many Worcester Park residents thanks to scant local publicity for it). Aside from that, nothing - and again a web search for their activities proves fruitless (except for the Chairman appearing in a Surrey Comet news article about the Low Emissions Zone - an article inspired by a posting on this blog).

It would, therefore, appear, that there are two organisations in existence to act as a voice for Worcester Park traders.

So why are these voices never heard?

Blogging about Worcester Park has certainly opened my eyes to the variety of local independent shops that give Central Road its character and appeal, and without in any way being on an 'only shop locally' mission, I do now make a conscious effort to support the local traders every now and then, instead of enslaving myself to the corporate giants.

Besides, when there is a perfectly decent local butcher and greengrocer within yards of the entrance to Waitrose, a one minute walk to support your local independent traders isn't asking a huge amount.

Without wishing to blow my blogging trumpet too loudly, I know of a number of local establishments who have had people visit them and spend their hard-earned cash directly as a result of reading what myself or my commenters have written about them on this very blog.

If The Worcester Park Blog (with a reach of a few thousand people every month) can play a small role in drumming up support for local businesses, then imagine what a concerted and coordinated publicity effort from our silent friends at The Worcester Park Chamber Of Trade and The Worcester Park Traders' Association could do.

I have no doubt that they both do very valid work behind the scenes to represent the interests of local traders. Yet equally I have no doubt that if they were to stand up and shout loudly and proudly about the quality and variety of local businesses in Worcester Park and do something to promote the idea of shopping locally then this would give a much-needed boost to many of our local traders. It is, after all, these traders that are the lifeblood of Worcester Park.

I will continue to do what I can, in my own small way, to fly the flag for local traders in Worcester Park.

If only others would join me.

(P.S. I was going to e-mail both these organisations to give them their 'right to reply' to this blog piece in advance, but I couldn't find any contact details or web presence for them. Which really does prove my point.)

22 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

The Brinkster said...

I've passed comment numerous times that Sutton Council is only really interested in Sutton High Street and aren't going to help Worcester Park so if anything good's going to happen then it's down to the Worcester Park traders and community to do it.

Interestingly the local Tory candidate did just post a bunch of pictures on her Flickr account here which show that she's shown some interest so if one of the local Tories or traders who met her would comment then I'd be interested to hear what was said.

In the meantime perhaps you could print out your blog entry and stick it through the door of the "One Stop Party Shop" as he appears to be Chairman, from one of the photos.

Ian Morris said...

So were you the one who beat me to the guide book on ebay a few months back?

Anonymous said...

We do make a point of shopping at the local butchers for our meat but it would be a much more pleasant experience if they learned to smile and say please and thank you instead of glaring at you as if you are aliens!

Anonymous said...

I always find them polite but never friendly, you certainly wouldn't stay for a chat. A lot of their meat is pre-packaged, and none of it looks great.

Anonymous said...

I have been shopping in my local butchers for the past 20 years and I have always found them to be polite and very friendly, I'm sure it is a family run business. The service I have received from them has been outstanding, and they have always been very helpful & would guide me towards what cuts of meat I would require for certain recipes. I hope they are here for many more years.

Janette said...

I too have been shopping at the butchers for 20 years too. Steve may look miserable but he is very friendly once you get to know him -conversation is two way you know!

Anonymous said...

Note to the local butchers (as this has happened to me on 3 occasions with them now)

£2.50 + £3.50 + £2.75

Does not equal £15.40!!

Comments between staff when I leave was "its was worth a try".

Great place, but ask for a receipe, they've tried it on a few times.

Worcester Park said...

They tried to charge me £40 for eight legs of venison. I told them that was two deer.

Anonymous said...

A werewolf was arrested in the butchers yesterday - he was choplifting

Anonymous said...

I bet the short woman that works in there £50 she couldn't pass me the sirloin and t-bone off the top shelf, but she just refused and said the steaks were too high

socialrealismrules said...

I usually get a sheep's head on a Monday with the eyes left in, to see me through the week.

Anonymous said...

That butcher's shop drives me mad. Everytime I go in there's a crowd doing the hookey kookey, you butcher left leg in, you butcher left leg out.

Worcester Park said...

I bought a pig's ear from the butcher a couple of years back to give to my grandmother who was going deaf. Her hearing is now a lot clearer, with just the odd bit of crackling.

gemma said...

I went into the butchers and asked if he kept dripping. He said yes it's really embarrassing!!

Ian Morris said...

I went into the butchers the other day and managed to get behind the counter. I sat down on a bacon slicer and the butcher told me to get off straight away or he'll get a little behind with his orders.

j_lo said...

I asked the butcher "how much are your chickens"?
He said "a pound a pound".
Like Cap.A. I was worried about their origin so I asked, "did you raise them yourself?
"I did" he said, "this morning they were 90p a pound.

Worcester Park said...

I complained to the butcher yesterday about the quality of his beef, but it just went in one ear and out the udder.

Anonymous said...

I bumped into someone on the high street the other day, they said how good the butchers was and that it provides mostly quality meat, however stay away from the chicken, turkey and goose, its all fowl

j_lo said...

This whole butcher joke thing is an offal load of old tripe.

Stephan said...

I went into the butchers and said "got any carrots?". They told me they are a butchers and they only sell meat. I again said "got any carrots?" and they told me in a slightly less patient tone that they only sell meat. I asked them a third time "got any carrots" and butcher was very rude and said I ask him again he'd nail my ears to the wall. I said "got any nails?" He said no, so I said "got any carrots?"

Bigboy said...

Knock knock
Who's there?
Butcher who?
Butcher arms around me and hold me tight.

Anonymous said...

...and now for a serious turn..., or for non-cockney immigrant scum...

Well obviously the butcher sells some packaged stuff, but they are a proper butcher, that packages some of their own stuff. I tend to buy a bit more than normal, and went into there a few weeks back asked for some more steaks, like they have on the trays in the window. 3 minutes later, I got them. And with a smile, too. Stop running down the local small businesses, please - they give you attention. Even us immigrant scum say so.

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