Longer term residents of Shepperton will fondly recall Kaye Bros. – the last of the old style shops which once occupied the High Street. By this I mean shops where you were served with goods instead of selecting from the shelves yourself and taking them to the cashier. Mr Kaye was a well-known character in the High Street, wearing his brown shop coat to serve the grocery items he sold from behind a dark wood counter.

The goods were arranged on shelves and in cabinets around three sides of the shop, with home-made signs advertising special promotions.

Kaye Bros. was established in the 1920s, originally as a corn merchants. To start with they would have sold corn and seeds for agricultural use, but later this diversified into poultry and pet foods. Before the advent of garden centres such shops often sold fertilizers, composts etc. as well as plant seeds. Dog biscuits seem to have been a particular speciality of Kaye’s as several old photos show these displayed prominently in the windows. Later still the shop sold grocery, dry and canned goods. There were certainly no chilled cabinets or freezers! Mr Kaye carried on serving in the shop until very shortly before he passed away, after which the business closed.

The photo above shows the shop 80 years ago, when it was elaborately decorated for the Coronation of King George VI on 12th May 1937. Adverts in the window include Spillers dog foods as a ‘Coronation treat for your dog’, as well as more mundane products such as poultry corn, and coal.

After closing, the building was taken over by Quality Fruits greengrocers, who continue the tradition of friendly service to the people of the village which was carried on for so many years by Kaye’s.

‘Old Photos of Sunbury’ by Nick Pollard is the subject of the first Sunbury and Shepperton Local History Society talk of the new season, at Sunbury Methodist Church, Staines Road East, on Tuesday 19th September starting at 8pm. All welcome, £2 admission for non-members of SSLHS.