Sunday, March 22, 2020
ITEM OF BRIGG RETAIL HISTORY NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW STILL EXISTS
A small piece of Brigg retail history survives today. But as Michael Caine might say: "Not a lot of people know that."
If you look closely above the entry door leading to the Paul Fox estate agency in the Market Place, there's a metal sign saying Melias. For this was once the grocery shop operated by one of the 20th century's best-known UK chains.
Exactly when the Brigg store closed we've been trying to remember.
It was certainly still going in the early 1970s, offering a highly-regarded home delivery service.
Housewives (and perhaps a few husbands) used to write down their requirements in a notebook, or on a sheet of paper, and dropped orders off at the shop on Thursday mornings.
Then, in the afternoon, a van would call and the groceries, in cardboard boxes, would be carried into local kitchens.
If any items requested happened to be out of stock, a member of staff would use his/her 'loaf' and send a substitute which the customer could accept or decline.
The order form would be returned with the price of each item written alongside in pen with the total payable totted up at the bottom.
So think again, younger Brigg Blog followers, if you thought Tesco, Asda and other chains invented something new in recent years!
Melias eventually formed part of Fine Fare group - another well-known company. Indeed, it's said to have been the first supermarket in Britain to offer a range of organic food.
We think Brigg's Melias lasted long enough to become a Fine Fare outlet, but confirmation of that would be appreciated.
Scunthorpe had a Melias; we recently came across a picture of the shop taken just prior to the town centre being refurbished in the late 1960s/early 1970s, which swept away many old retail buildings to make way for what became the pedestianised Precinct.
While Brigg Blog was taking the picture seen above, a well-known Brigg resident came over to ask us why were showing such interest in the top of a doorway. This was a fair point, and we explained the reason to his satisfaction. Anyone else out who was and about in the Market Place that afternoon also has the answer courtesy of this post.