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David Greig (supermarket)

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Collection: Defunct Retail Companies of the United Kingdom, Supermarkets of the United Kingdom
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David Greig (supermarket)

David Greig was the supermarket (initially grocery shop) chain founded by the Greig family of Hornsey, north London. With its headquarters at Atlantic Road, Brixton (and later at Waterloo Road, London) and grocery shops across southern England, it was a rival to the Sainsbury's chain, John and Mary Sainsbury having opened their first grocery shop in Holborn one year earlier. A deep personal rivalry developed between the two families, because of acrimonious feelings about the Greigs' alleged betrayal of a verbal agreement regarding the purchasing of sites for development.

The first David Greig shop was opened at 54-58 Atlantic Road, Brixton in 1870, initially "anchoring" the nascent Brixton Market, which started in Atlantic Road in the 1870s and was so successful that it spread to Brixton Road before being relocated to Brixton Station Road plus several purpose built covered arcades and finally also Electric Avenue, to reduce congestion and allow further growth.[1]

By the late 1960s, there were more than 220 Greig shops across the south of the country, all trading under the David Greig brand. However, the company was sold to Fitch lovell (Key Markets) in 1972 after crippling death duties were incurred when several of the men in the family died in quick succession, with inheritance tax obligatory on their entirely private holdings. Key Markets was later bought by Gateway, which was then rebranded as Somerfield and was in turn bought by the Co-operative Group, see List of supermarket chains in the United Kingdom. Each of these changes included considerable restructuring, so many ex-Greig stores may now be in different ownership.

David Greig was a notable philanthropist, leaving trusts for the benefit of Hornsey and the community. These have contributed to the Greig City Academy in Hornsey.

The first David Greig shop, at 54-58 Atlantic Road, Brixton, is no longer a supermarket, but the frontage, containing a "DG" cypher, remains relatively original, and although the full name has been removed from the facade it is still visible in the mosaic floor outside the recessed shop entrance.[1][2]

The old David Greig building in Canterbury (now Superdrug) won an award for its post-war architecture. There is an inscription on the wall, in memory of DAVID GREIG, founder and DAVID ROSS GREIG. When Superdrug refurbished the store in the 1990s and the marble replaced, a stonemason was employed to re-create the inscription. It can still be seen today.

There is another facility in Alcester (Warwickshire) in memory of his wife Hannah Susan. The current sports, arts and community facilities are called The Greig and are managed by the Hannah Susan Greig Memorial Company Limited.

The family tableaux is located in Magpie Hall Lane cemetery, Bromley Kent.

References

  1. ^ a b "Brixton Conservation Area: Conservation Area Statement". London Borough of Lambeth. Mar 2012. Retrieved 30 Aug 2013. 
  2. ^ "David Greig mosaic". Urban 75. Aug 2003. Retrieved 30 Aug 2013. 

External links

  • Photo of mosaic floor outside recessed entrance to first shop, in Atlantic Road Brixton, as seen in Aug 2003
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