Kinghams Christmas Fare

Kinghams catalogue 1938

By Judy Faraday

Photo:Kinghams brochure

Kinghams brochure

JLP Archive Collection

In 1938 the Kinghams chain of grocery shops stretched from Amersham to Pinner with its head office and warehouse in Watford.  The 13 branches stocked a wide variety of grocery goods which could be bought direct from the shop or ordered by telephone and delivered by bicycle or van.

As Christmas approached Kinghams produced a Christmas catalogue filled with choice foods for the festive table.  Little did they know that this was to be the last time for many years that such a wide range of produce would be available for special Christmas meals.

Exotic foods
The twelve page brochure listed exotic foods such as Chyloong cargo ginger, glace pineapple cubes, Jordan almonds and muscatels.  Dates from Tunis, Chinese figs and stuffed Spanish olives could be ordered along with more traditional fare such as Peek Frean's Twiglets at 1/4d per tin or Crawford's Cheese Straws which were 2d per pack.

There was a great assortment of cooked meats including  Crosse & Blackwell's Chicken Breasts in Aspic; Poulton & Noel's Picnic Tongues; pressed pork; brawn and liver sausage.

The cheese selection included portions of Kraft Velveeta, Chilvona, Chedlets and Sunny Clime.  Whole Stilton cheeses were available for 1/11d per lb with Edam a snip at only 9d per lb.

Drinks included Idris cherry wine, ginger beer, and Whiteways Cydrax which could be followed by specially blended Empire teas sold in attractive tins which cost between 1/8d and 5/4d per tin.

Iced Christmas cakes from Huntley & Palmers cost between 3/6d and 5/6d whilst the selection from MacFarlane Langs included the Tunis Cake; Banquet; Alpine and even Punch and Judy!

Help the party go with a bang
To decorate the table Kinghams offered a range of boxed crackers containing hats, caps, bonnets, musical toys, parlour fireworks etc., at prices from 6d to 21/-.  There were also joke bombs and carnival snowballs to help the party go with a bang.

All these things must have helped to make Christmas 1938 very memorable for many Kinghams customers.  It was to be many years before rationing ended and they could once again enjoy such a full festive table.

Kinghams was acquired by the John Lewis Partnership in 1960

This page was added by Judy Faraday on 07/08/2007.
Comments about this page

One of the thirteen shops was in Berkhamsted High Street. The site later became the location of the original Berkhamsted Waitrose shop.

By Michael Horniman
On 02/10/2007

It is perhaps worth mentioning that the main Kinghams warehouse was situated near to the rear of Trewins and after the Partnership aquired them, it became the service building of the branch.  It also housed offices such as staff training.  It was always referred to as "Kinghams".

By David Sheehan
On 26/10/2007

It would be nice to see more pictures of Kinghams.  It was old fashioned back in the 70's with an old cobbled yard which I think was known as Red Lion Yard and was our official postal address.  I was told that one early General Manager used to stable his horse there during the day.

There was a crane used to lift carpets to the workroom on the second floor which would give todays occupational health kittens.
Speaking of kittens- somewhat incongruously a cottage in the yard survived being knocked down when the multi storey shot up next to Kinghams only inches from its wall. This housed the "cat man" who lived in a predictable state with his many cats. He came in to the shop once a month to pay his account and his presence was still notable for some time afterwards!

By Richard Symonds- Trewins 1975-84
On 19/04/2008

There are plenty more photographs of Kinghams on the site Richard. Just click on the Kinghams link at the beginning of the article.

By Jo Spence
On 19/04/2008