This post on the Guardian website this morning got me thinking. It’s one of those semi humourous fact-packed exposes of the foibles of contemporary urban Britain – in this case the recession-proof phoenix-like rise and rise of the phenomenon that is known as Poundland. It is commonly acknowledged that the chain has been a “winner” of the downturn, expanding at a rapid rate. Except in Ealing that is.
My local ward councillor Phil Taylor (Con), who previously predicted Tony Lit would win the Southall by-election, blogged in praise of poundshops at the tail end of last year. This type of store is an increasingly prevalent feature of the Ealing landscape. When one opened in the middle of Ealing Broadway I think some bemoaned the “going downmarket” of a town once known (mainly by the Victorian housebuilders who were developing it) as “Queen of the Suburbs”. The Councillor was pointing out the merits of the poundshop and I must say I have always thought that it’s better to have a bargain basement shop than an empty/boarded up one.
Well the shock horror news is that in West Ealing, as this forum so aptly puts it, “even Poundland is closing”. The same stretch of shops where it is has had other casualties lately: Woolworths still lies empty and Richer Sounds pushed off to posh Chiswick for richer pickings no doubt. In the wave before McDonalds went. Hard to imgine now that it once had Marks and Spencers, WHSmiths, Our Price and Mothercare. The death of Poundland though is surely a sign of recession Britain on my very doorstep. It dwarfes the other now unimaginable fact that when I was growing up Ealing Broadway had a huge piano and sheet music shop, “Squires”.
I’m sure the comment I just posted to Phil Taylor’s site will be roundly rebuffed but the decimation of shopping choice leaving a ghost-town of empty premises in the Queen of the Suburbs under a Conservative council is really sad.