Wood Green was the pioneer of self-service shopping, according to David Kynaston in his brilliant portrait of post-war Britain, Austerity Britain 1945-1951.
In January 1948, Marks and Spencer introduced at its Wood Green store what the historian of English shopping, Kathryn Morrison called the "first full-fledged version of self-service in the UK"
Kynaston explains that it was only in the food department but in style and layout it was "unmistakably on the American model". It was reported by Store magazine in February that...'so far, at least,...shoppers are well pleased with the innovation, several writing to express their satisfaction to the store manager."
Kynaston comments, however, that early users were "sufficiently cautious that in the first few weeks their number of purchases per visit rarely rose above two or three"
Taken from Austerity Britain 1945-1951 pp 256
Images from Mylearning.org
Interesting. I don't remember an M+S in Wood Green until after Shopping City was built. But I do have a bad Memory!
Looking in a book by Christine Protz we found at Bruce Castle Museum today (not her Tottenham one), it appears the M&S has always been at the same spot, although looked very different to what it is today.
Fascinating! So M and S in Wood Green were the pioneers in self-service. But just look at how many staff they have available there! And all of them women… interesting. Thanks Liz!
I love " extract ... payment "
eek…. painful. Sainsburys extract quite painlessly…