Thursday, 6 May 2010

Walking down the High Street

Talking on shopping

At their April meeting, Old Buckenham WI were treated to an illustrated talk by John Lee entitled ‘Changes on the High Street’. John is a self-confessed ‘nosy parker’ who can be seen taking photos of shop fronts and street furniture. Most people are aware of the closure of once vital shops in the local communities and John’s talk highlighted those very changes.
Once all High Streets could boast a butcher, a baker, a greengrocer and other small stores, often they were family concerns. Many of these stores have now closed their doors and the premises remain empty or taken on short-term leases. So many market town centres seem to comprise of charity shops, estate agents, banks and the odd coffee shop. These once thriving centres of our communities have seen the closure of Post Offices, Woolworths and other once familiar stores
Our cities are not immune to continuing change and any visit to the centre of Norwich will confirm this. The trend towards shopping malls and out of town shopping centres has accelerated the demise of the city specialist shops.
More changes will come, of course, as many people do their shopping and banking online. This might well become a nation that no longer ‘goes shopping’. But maybe, people will miss the gossip and the meeting friends at the shops. Maybe they will miss the advice of the butcher who really knows his cuts of meat. Maybe in future there will be space in the High Street for the specialist and the public will appreciate and support them.
So if you see John with his camera taking those shots of local streets, understand that he is preparing his next talk and not casing the local bank for his next blag.
This meeting is also the one where Old Buckenham WI have their Denman Bursary draw, every year giving £150 towards a course at the WI’s own residential college in Oxfordshire. Courses are varied and range from singing, embroidery, digital photography, reflexology and many more subjects. Accommodation is first class as is the catering. The College is not exclusive to the WI as it is intended to encourage and foster all women’s education.
The next meeting is ‘Resolutions’ on Thursday 27 May and the competition is for “something red”.

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