The Corner Shop is a convenience store and off-licence situated on the corner of Coronation and Viaduct Streets, Weatherfield. Now the property of Dev Alahan, the shop dates back to the building of Coronation Street in 1902 and carries a street address of No.15. Over the years, it has traded under many different names, including its current moniker, D&S Alahan's Corner Shop, adopted in 2004.
When it was first opened under the ownership of Cedric Thwaite, the shop was small, and customers were served over the counter. Shopkeepers also lived on the premises in the living quarters to the rear of the store. These rooms were knocked through in 1985 when the incumbent owner Alf Roberts converted the shop into a mini-market, with the remainder of the ground floor going over to storage space. Smaller scale refurbishments followed a fire started by Maya Sharma in 2004 and in 2010 when the infrastructure of the shop was destroyed by a derailed tram.
Other owners to have made changes to the shop include Florrie Lindley, who opened a sub-post office in 1964 - which was then closed by her successor Lionel Petty, and Renee Bradshaw, who won a court battle to open an off-licence in the shop in 1976, overcoming stiff opposition from Annie Walker of the Rovers Return.
Above the shop lies 15a Coronation Street, originally the shop's spare bedroom later converted to a bedsit before being expanded to a one-bedroom flat in 1985. The property is usually either rented out or used for storage, at the shopkeeper's discretion.
Other people to have held the reins at the shop over the years include Tommy Foyle, Elsie Lappin, David and Irma Barlow, Maggie Clegg, Maureen Holdsworth, Fred Elliott, and Brendan Scott, who died from a heart attack in his own shop in 1993. It is currently managed by Dev with Evelyn Plummer and Cathy Matthews as assistants.
The Corner Shop was built in 1902, numbered 15 Coronation Street. Larger than the adjoining houses, the property was envisioned as a shop from the very beginning and contained a large front room, a store room, living quarters in the rear, and three bedrooms upstairs.
Before Coronation Street was finished, Newton, Ridley and Oakes brewery launched a bid to purchase the shop and convert it into a beer house, to complement the Rover's Return at the opposite end of the Street. However, the committee in charge of the Glad Tidings Mission Hall got wind of their plans and persuaded the developers not to accept the bid on the grounds that it would lead to an overabundance of alcohol in the Street.
History by owner
1902-1915: Cedric Thwaite
Lay preacher Cedric Thwaite bought the shop for £35 - including £5 loaned to him by the Mission committee - and opened up for the first time in December 1902, four months after his immediate neighbours had moved into the new houses.
Cedric found being a shopkeeper a lonely experience, as women did not want to gossip with a preacher and many were put off by the fact that this man of God was a drinker. His fondness for the demon drink eventually led to him being struck off the preaching list.
In 1910, Cedric married Lottie Hofner, a German national who did not speak English. While Lottie struggled to learn the language, the couple spoke to each other in French. Lottie was never accepted by her neighbours and in 1914, after Britain went to war with Germany, a mob descended on the shop and the Thwaites were violently assaulted. 1915 saw Lottie interred on the Isle of Man for rest of the war and Cedric depart the Street to live with his brother in Newcastle.
1915-1945: Tommy Foyle
Leeds-born Tommy Foyle bought the shop and ran it during the war years, unable to sign up due to an old leg injury. The shop did its best business in years when Tommy hung a Union Jack in the window and painted "British and Proud" on the window.
With Tommy came his twenty-year-old sister Amelia as a lodger and shop assistant. Amelia proved her worth when she protected Tommy from the women whose husbands were away at the front. She died from influenza in 1919.
Tommy was finally married a few years later, to Lillian Makepiece, the siren of the Street. Lil nearly bankrupted Tommy as she gave her family unlimited credit at the shop, on the orders of her domineering mother Ivy - and Tommy wasn't good at saying 'no' to his wife. It wasn't until her sudden death from bronchitis in 1927 that he was able to re-assert control of the shop by acquiring a mongrel called Growler to scare Ivy away.
Tommy married his second wife Elsie Castleway in 1930. As a former variety singer, Elsie brought custom to the shop, as well as being a loving wife who provided Tommy with two daughters, Hilda and Shelagh.
The shop acted as a lifeline to the residents of Coronation Street during the years of depression and war. The Foyles sold selected products at low prices to their neighbours, and later, when rationing was in force, Elsie kept a supply of black market goods in the store room for her regular customers. Elsie was caught by the police and fined over the scheme. By this time, Tommy was bed-ridden due to a stroke and Elsie was running the shop with Hilda's help. On VE Day, as the residents celebrated the end of the war Tommy dropped dead from a heart attack.
1945-1960: Elsie Lappin
Elsie inherited the shop in 1945 and continued to run it as Tommy had. Two years later, she was charmed by salesman Les Lappin and by the end of 1947 they were married. As the girls grew up and went out to work, Les joined Elsie behind the counter. However, after just five years Les had a heart attack while serving Ida Barlow, and Elsie was again a widow. When Hilda and Shelagh left Weatherfield to work at a girls' boarding school in Surrey in 1957, Elsie was left on her own. In 1960, she decided to pack it in and retire to a bungalow at Knott End.
1960-1965: Florrie Lindley
Former barmaid Florrie Lindley took over the shop on 9th December 1960 and rebranded the emporium as "Lindley's Provisions". On her first day, she was caught by the police selling firelighters after 7.00pm, and her name appeared in the papers, much to Florrie's shame.
Florrie had no family around her and ran the shop on her own. Her neigbours saw her as a soft touch and took liberties with credit; in 1961, she hired Albert Tatlock as a debt collector to make her customers pay their bills and started opening on Sundays to boost trade.
In 1964, Florrie opened a sub-post office in the shop and revamped the interior, transferring the counter to the Viaduct Street side and moving the door into Coronation Street. Now effectively running two shops, Florrie decided at the last minute to hire an assistant, and was landed with the only person available - Dennis Tanner. The results were predictably disastrous, with Dennis showing up late, dropping the stock, and forgetting where everything was. It was a blessing when he left for the Viaduct Sporting Club and Florrie took on a more reliable assistant, Irma Ogden.
Florrie was very lonely living at the shop by herself and in 1964 she suffered a breakdown, wrecking the shop and smashing the window with a tin. She had always presented herself as a widow and it was a surprise to the neigbours in 1965 when her estranged husband Norman Lindley returned from overseas, seeking a reunion with his wife. Florrie agreed and sold the shop to Lionel Petty as the Lindleys emigrated to Canada, where Norman had a job waiting for him.
1965-1966: Lionel Petty
An ex-sergeant major in the army, Lionel Petty was put onto the shop by his teenage daughter Sandra, who was carrying a torch for Dennis Tanner. Lionel ran the shop in a militaristic fashion, alienating existing customers. When he was brusque with Ena Sharples, the residents boycotted him until his manner improved.
Irma was kept on, joined behind the counter by Lionel, occasionally Sandra, and also, for a short time, Dennis. Eventually, Sandra grew tired of living under her father's watchful eye and moved into a flat at Leestand Road. With business slack, Lionel closed down the post office and a month later he accepted an offer from Irma and her new husband David Barlow to buy him out. Lionel then left to go into business with his brother in Wales.
1966-1968: David and Irma Barlow
The Barlows took the shop on in January 1966, weeks after a knee injury ended David's football career with Weatherfield Athletic. David made the best of a bad situation, committed to making the shop a success whilst it was theirs. This meant being firm with Irma's mother Hilda Ogden, who was allowed to run up a huge bill thanks to Irma not writing down her orders in the tick book. When David told Hilda there would be no more freebies, Irma quit the shop in anger and drafted in Hilda as David's assistant to spite him, returning once she felt she'd made her point.
In 1968, David decided to return to professional football and signed with an Australian team. However, due to the slum clearances, buyers were not willing to take a risk on the shop and David had to drum up interest by telling the Weatherfield Gazette about their Australia plans. A few days later, Les and Maggie Clegg viewed the shop and immediately agreed to buy.
1968-1976: Maggie Clegg, with Les Clegg and Irma Barlow
1968: Maggie and Les Clegg
Affable when sober, Les Clegg was prone to violence when he had a drink in him. He and his long-suffering wife Maggie were counting on the shop to give him the drive to stay off the booze. Within two months he succumbed, smashing the shop window while drunk. This was followed four weeks later by an all-nighter celebrating a bowls victory, after which he fell over in the shop as Maggie wrested a bottle from his hand. Les spent the next two months in a psychiatric hospital, after which he went to live with his brother.
1968-1970: Maggie Clegg
The Cleggs divorced in 1970 and the shop was transferred into Maggie's name, as she had soldiered on in the interim. She was well-liked in Coronation Street, known for her generosity including allowing the neighbours credit when many of them were out of work following the 1969 coach crash.
Immediately after Les's departure, Maggie took on Ena Sharples as her assistant. Ena was swiftly replaced by Valerie Barlow, who covered Ena while she was on holiday and refused to leave when the pensioner came back, resulting in Ena delivering some harsh words to both women when Maggie stood by Val. A year later, Val left the shop to return to hairdressing.
Maggie also had the occasional help of her son Gordon, until he left to work as an accountant in London in 1969, and her sister Betty Turpin, who moved into the shop flat with her husband Cyril not long after Gordon left. Knowing that her older sister would take over the shop given the chance, Maggie set Betty up with a job at the Rovers Return to keep her occupied.
1970-1972: Maggie Clegg and Irma Barlow
In April 1970, David Barlow and his son Darren were killed in a car crash in Australia, and Irma returned to Weatherfield a widow. Stan Ogden, in a misguided attempt to do his daughter a good turn, persuaded Maggie to sell her a share of the shop for £600. However, the shop reminded Irma too much of David and she tried to pull out of the deal. With the money tied up, Irma had no choice but to work with Maggie. In November, Irma increased her share to 50%. She remained at the shop until until December 1971 when she flitted to Llandudno, sending word for Maggie to buy her out of the shop.
1972-1974: Maggie Clegg
Maggie carried on as the shop's full owner, employing Lucille Hewitt and later Norma Ford as a live-in assistant. In 1974, she decided to enlarge the shop, knocking into the storeroom and making it self-service. She got as far as having architect Peter Shields draw up plans before councillor Len Fairclough cautioned her against it, causing Maggie to realise that the Street was up for possible redevelopment and leading her to throw the project out.
In July of that year, Maggie married her old flame Ron Cooke and emigrated to Zaire, where Ron was due to start a new job. Gordon came up from London to give Maggie away and made arrangements to rent the shop to the Hopkins family at £12 a week.
1974-1975: Vera and Megan Hopkins
The shop was now run by Vera Hopkins and her mother-in-law Megan (or "Gran" to the family), with Vera's husband Idris, a foundry worker, also in residence and their 17-year-old daughter Tricia occupying the flat.
Gran had originally planned to buy the property outright but her stubborn refusal to raise her price - assuming that Gordon would buckle in order to secure a quick sale - meant that a rent agreement was worked out instead, with the money coming off the purchase price of £3,500. Gran's first acts were to sack Maggie's assistant Mavis Riley and announce that customers would be served at any time, greatly angering Vera. Several months later, after receiving a £1,000 inheritance from her late mother, Vera put the money into the shop, giving her seniority over Gran, and the business was rebranded "V and M Hopkins".
In December, while clearing out Maggie's old furniture the Hopkins came across Gordon's birth certificate, which revealed that his birth mother was not Maggie but Betty - a secret which had been kept from Gordon his entire life. Gran hoped to use this as leverage to get Gordon to drop the price of the shop, but in the end she wrote to Gordon telling him everything to get back at Betty for demanding a refund on a off-tin of mincemeat. Having known the truth for some time, Gordon tore up his agreement with the Hopkins and the family left the Street in shame that night.
1975-1976: Blanche Hunt
No closer to finding a cash buyer, Gordon hired Blanche Hunt to manage the shop. Blanche was the first shopkeeper not to live on the premises, choosing instead to remain at 20 Victoria Street, from where she ran a corsetry business. She managed the shop with the odd bit of help from Tricia Hopkins and Gail Potter, who lived in the flat above, in exchange for credit.
In 1976, Blanche decided that it was too tiring working two jobs and sold her dress-making business to Ethel Needham. Not long afterwards, she accepted an offer from Dave Smith to run his country club in Kenilworth and left the area.
1976: Tricia Hopkins and Gail Potter
With Gordon away, Betty allowed Tricia and Gail to take over the shop, popping in occasionally to check on things. The girls' stewardship was an unmitigated disaster; after four weeks the slate was £31.47 as their boyfriends helped themselves to the contents of the shelves. When Gordon came up from London to audit the shop, he found out that the girls often had lads in under Betty's nose and they were still claiming dole. Putting the shop up for sale, Gordon turned the shop over to Betty and returned to London. Tricia and Gail continued to run the shop until May, when Gordon accepted an offer on the business from Renee Bradshaw.
1976-1980: Renee Bradshaw, with Alf Roberts
Renee Bradshaw was a 33-year-old spinster eager for a new challenge and the Coronation Street shop was just what she was looking for. Originally from Lancaster, Renee purchased the shop as it was close to where her younger brother Terry worked, in order to provide him with a home in the flat.
With Renee in charge, stability returned to the shop. She ran the business by herself, working every hour she could, including Sunday mornings. Not everyone was welcoming; within a month of her arrival, Renee was reported for opening after 9.30pm, and an inspector, James Buckley, logged her selling tobacco after 8.00pm and non-perishable goods on Sundays. It was only after Renee wrongly accused Emily Bishop that Gail let her know that Tricia was the one who reported her, as revenge for her sacking and eviction. In October, Renee opened an off-licence in the shop, serving alcohol from a separate counter.
Terry left the area to return to the army in the end of the year, and in March 1977 Renee took in a new lodger, Bet Lynch. Bet and Renee became good friends, despite Bet committing a major blunder in her first night in the flat by accidentally unplugging the freezer instead of the heater, ruining £100 worth of stock.
In March 1978, Renee married Alf Roberts, who sold his Omdurman Street house to move into the shop. Alf was a manager at the GPO, and remained there when he married Renee instead of helping her at the shop, a situation which Renee preferred. A year later, Alf was offered an early retirement package and changed his mind, leaving the GPO. Renee was surprised to find that she enjoyed sharing the shop, and in June 1980 she suggested to Alf that they sell up and run a sub-post office in the country. They found a place they wanted in Grange-over-Sands and accepted an offer on the shop from Mr and Mr Bannister. Before it all went through, Renee was killed in a head-on collision in the Roberts' car. A grief-stricken Alf then made the decision to keep the Coronation Street shop on and cancel the move, with Deirdre Barlow coming aboard as a live-in assistant.
1980-1993: Alf Roberts, with Audrey Roberts
Before he married into the shop, Alf had filled in for both Maggie and Renee when they were sick or away from home. He was a natural behind the counter and came to love the shop, some would say more than he loved his wives. Being a councillor, Alf found that customers would come in to complain, which he considered a price worth paying for the custom they brought.
Soon after Renee's death, Alf took on Deirdre Langton as a live-in assistant. Deirdre worked there for seven years, mostly part-time as she cut her hours when she married Ken Barlow in 1981. Alf's future wife Audrey Potter first worked there that September when she took over as holiday relief. Audrey spent most of that time running a hair salon from the back room, as she was bored behind the counter. She was scared off when Alf proposed to her.
The shop was still broadly the same as the one which opened in 1902, with over-the-counter service. Alf flirted with the idea of joining Joyce Lomax's chain of modern convenience stores in 1982, before deciding that it wasn't for him. Three years later, he got the expansion bug again and had plans drawn up to turn the shop into a self-service mini-market, doubling his floorspace by purchasing 13 Coronation Street from Hilda Ogden. Hilda didn't want to move, and only agreed to sell when builder Les Pringle, who would be carrying out the refit, told her that her roof was sagging. When he inspected the roof, Alf found that there was nothing wrong with it and sacked Les for conning Hilda. The modernisation did go ahead, but with the shop expanding into the living quarters instead of next door.
Once the alterations had been carried out, Alf moved into the shop flat, as the ground floor was now entirely shop space with a stockroom in the back. "Alf's Mini Market" opened for business following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, with Bet Lynch doing the honours as Miss Weatherfield 1957 when her 1985 counterpart went down with illness at the last minute.
By the end of the year, Audrey had returned to the area and married Alf, and in February 1986 the Roberts bought 11 Coronation Street. Ostensibly, Audrey assisted Alf and Deirdre in the shop, but in practice she did as little work as possible and pleased herself. She considered the shop a millstone around their necks and worried about its effect on Alf's health, particularly after his 1987 heart attack.
In December 1989, Andy and Steve McDonald accidentally kicked a football through the shop window. The sealant was barely dry on the new window when a JCB at the building site opposite the shop was commandeered by the twins and went out of control, smashing it to pieces.
Sally left the shop in 1991 to bring Rosie up and Alf replaced her with Ivy Brennan, who incurred Audrey's wrath by persuading Alf to keep the shop open later in the evening. The difference of opinion caused a split between the Roberts, which ended when Alf collapsed with nervous exhaustion. In the meantime, Ivy was poached by Reg Holdsworth to work at Bettabuy supermarket. The end result was that Audrey was tied to the shop for months while Alf recuperated. To share the burden, Audrey took Deirdre back on full-time, with Sally working evenings. Sally quit the shop once again in January 1992, in order to take up child-minding.
In April 1993, Alf's friend from WARTS, Les Curry, suffered a heart attack in the shop and died a week later. Alf was so rattled by the event that he decided to sell up and enjoy what was left of his life. Reg offered Alf £73,000 for the shop and flat - £5,000 below the asking price - but having been persuaded by Bettabuy area manager Brendan Scott to lower his offer, Reg left the field open for Brendan to buy the shop himself. Alf then retired, taking his bacon slicer home with him and rescuing the "Mini-Market" sign from the binmen as a keepsake.
1993: Brendan Scott
Brendan Scott's tenure represented something of a departure from the shop's usual raison d'être. On his first day, he renamed it "Best Buys", which became "Mr Scott's Provisions" a week later. More significantly, he had it refurbished into an old-fashioned Victorian style grocery shop, and served customers in a straw boater and apron. Deirdre, meanwhile, was forced to wear a pinny and mop cap.
The next phase of Brendan's masterplan was home deliveries. To that end, 12-year-old Nicky Platt was given a summer job delivering orders on a rickety old shop bike. Brendan overworked Nicky, and sacked him on the spot after just a few days for complaining. Brendan then took over the deliveries himself, which combined with the long hours he was already working brought on a heart attack while on duty at the shop. Despite Martin Platt's efforts to resuscitate him, Brendan was pronounced dead at the scene. He had been running the shop for six weeks.
Brendan's widow Debi Scott was now the shop's owner. Wanting rid, Debi put the shop and flat up for auction. The winning bid, of £55,000, came from none other than Alf Roberts.
1993-1994: Alf and Audrey Roberts
Alf and Audrey were due to move to Lytham St Annes when Alf bid on the shop. He was at the auction house to oversee the sale of their house; after placing the winning bid, he cancelled all of their plans. Audrey reacted to the news by driving over the shop sign, smashing it.
In January 1994, the council offered Alf the newly-revived position of Mayor of Weatherfield, a post he'd held twenty years earlier. Audrey fancied herself Mayoress and persuaded Reg, who was being made redundant from Bettabuy, to buy the shop in order to free up Alf to take on the role. A deal was reached and on 4th February Alf put in his final day at the shop that had been his life.
1994-1997: Maureen Holdsworth, with Reg Holdsworth
The former manager of Bettabuy supermarket, Reg Holdsworth purchased the shop just before marrying the love of his life, Maureen Naylor. The shop was meant to be the start of a bright future for the couple, but Reg grew dissatisfied at the smallness of the operation and the novelty of having a shop of his own rapidly wore off. Six months in, he took a job managing Firman's Freezers, but Maureen refused to let him sell the shop until she'd had a go at running it.
Maureen did not have an easy ride in the shop. Her elderly mother Maud Grimes was the de facto assistant, though as she was unpaid and wheelchair-bound, her helpfulness had its limits. Maureen ended up exhausted, once falling asleep in the stockroom.
In 1995, the Holdsworths decided that the shop was more trouble than it was worth and put it on the market - where it remained for over a year. In that time, Reg was transferred to the Lowestoft branch of Firman's, with Maureen visiting at weekends. Maud hired Deirdre to help at the shop part-time. After four months of living apart, Reg ran off with wages clerk Yvonne Bannister and Maureen granted him a quick divorce in exchange for keeping the shop. In July 1996, she made it official with a new sign - "Maureen's Mini Market".
After Deirdre came Claire Palmer and Sally Webster, none of whom lasted more than a few months behind the counter. In 1997, Maureen accepted two proposals from Fred Elliott, one of marriage and the other a business merger between her shop and his butchers in Nelson Street. However, ten days into their marriage Maureen flitted to Germany with her old boyfriend Bill Webster, the man she really loved, sending word for Maud to sell the shop on her behalf.
Maud advertised the shop at £70,000 but after prospective buyer Joe Dillon offered only £55,000, Maud readily accepted Fred's offer of £62,200 for the shop, flat and stock. It was only after the shop was signed over that Maud discovered Joe was a mate of Fred's and she'd been conned into selling the shop at a well-below market price; Fred considered it his entitlement because of what Maureen had done to him. Maud got her own back on Fred by planting a fish behind one of the new units before it had been sealed up, causing the shop to stink. Fred had to empty the shop and have a cleansing firm go through it to find the source of the smell.
1997-1999: Fred Elliott
Interested only in butchery, Fred did not actually work behind the counter and appointed his nephew Ashley Peacock as manager instead. Ashley's first executive decision was to re-hire Maud as assistant. After a year in charge, Fred ordered Ashley back to the butcher shop before he turned into an old woman himself.
Ashley's replacement, Nita Desai, was taken on just as Fred decided that he no longer wanted the shop. The main interested party was Nita's father Ravi Desai, who wanted to add the shop to his chain of grocery shops. He became even more keen when Nita - planted in the shop as a spy - passed on information she'd heard Audrey tell Fred that a housing estate was being built on the Red Rec, meaning lots of new customers. Ravi raised his initial offer by £7,000 to stop Fred from pulling out, and bought the shop. Forced into retirement with no redundancy, Maud spited Fred by explaining to Ravi how Fred had tricked him, fully aware that Nita was passing information to him, and there was no estate.
1999: Ravi Desai
Nita remained manager of the shop, now working for her father, with her younger brother Vikram sent in to assist her. Neither of them liked having Ravi breathing down their necks, and Vik was lazy and put more hours into his love life than his job. After just four months, Nita quit to become assistant manager at Freshco, and Vik was promoted to take her place.
In October, Ravi flew to India for his brother Raj's funeral, leaving the shops in his children's capable hands. Nita and Vik's cousin Dev Alahan, an entrepreneur from Birmingham, came up to to lend a hand. His relatives were grateful until a month later when Dev bought all of Ravi's shops from under their noses, so that Ravi could pay off Raj's debts.
1999 to present: Dev Alahan
Like Ravi, Dev was content to let managers run his shops. As an incentive for Vik to stay on, Dev wiped out his £1,000 debt to the till and recruited a new part-time assistant, Gwen Loveday. Vik was ungrateful for the latter gesture, having wanted someone young and attractive in the position. Nevertheless, Gwen resigned after two weeks, and a month later, Vik packed it in and created Street Cars with Steve McDonald.
Dev ran the shop himself while he solved his staffing problem, with his aunt Maya Desai coming out of retirement to help him out. Eventually, he decided to remain at the Coronation Street shop permanently, with Deirdre returning to serve four years after she last worked there, and Sunita Parekh joining their ranks in 2001. Sunita was an employee at one of Dev's other shops who formed an attachment to him after he saved her from an arranged marriage. In 2003, Ken found out about Deirdre's secret tryst with Dev and Deirdre handed in her notice for the final time. Dev had wanted to sack Deirdre for months but relented when she threatened to tell everyone what had happened between them, knowing that Dev would be humiliated.
Short-term assistants at the shop in this period include Todd Grimshaw, Maya Sharma, Leanne Battersby, and Sarah Platt. Leanne was fired within days for constantly flirting with Dev, despite him being in a relationship with Sunita. Leanne then told people that it was the other way around and she'd been sacked for spurning Dev's advances. Encouraged by Maya Sharma - Dev's ex and a solicitor - Leanne sued Dev for unfair dismissal but the case was thrown out after Maya engaged in a slanging match with Dev in the court room.
In 2004, Dev married Sunita and changed the business's name to "D and S Alahan's Corner Shop". The development further embittered Maya, and in November that year she took her revenge by blowing up all of Dev's shops, leaving the Coronation Street one till last, and imprisoning Dev and Sunita in the flat to die in the inferno. The couple were rescued by Ciaran McCarthy and Charlie Stubbs once Maya had fled the building, but the fire had already engulfed the shop and flat and the business was closed for several months for rebuilding, re-opening in January 2005. The work was carried out by Charlie Stubbs, though Dev found another builder to work on the other six shops when he found out that Charlie had ripped off the insurance company.
The revolving door of assistants continued. Sally Webster lasted only a few hours before a pregnant Sunita relieved her, having only been hired by Dev so that Sunita could take things easy. Other staff included Craig Harris, Minnie Chandra and Molly Compton. Members of Dev's family also took their turn behind the counter while staying in the area, with varying levels of enthusiasm. These were Dev's uncle Umed Alahan and his daughter Amber Kalirai. Amber being revealed to be Dev's daughter - one of several he'd fathered with the women who worked in his shops long before he and Sunita were together - caused a four-year split between the couple. They were reconciled in 2010.
In December 2010, a disaster hit Coronation Street when a tram passing over the viaduct was derailed and the carriages smashed onto the cobbles below, destroying everything in their path. The front carriage careened into the Corner Shop, leaving Molly and her baby Jack trapped inside, the former with life-threatening injuries. Molly subsequently died before she could be freed by paramedics, but Jack was rescued. Sunita also made a full recovery after being buried under rubble in the shop's back room. The first person to find Sunita, Becky McDonald, stole £5,000 from the shop's open safe instead of helping her wounded neighbour. Weeks later, consumed by guilt Becky left the Alahans the amount inside an envelope together with a letter saying "sorry", before confessing in person when Steve took the blame for her. The Alahans decided not to press charges when Becky explained that she had needed the money to pay her wayward sister Kylie Turner for custody of her son Max.
As the shop wasn't insured, Dev had to sell five of his other shops to pay for the repairs, leaving him with just the Coronation Street shop and Prima Doner in Victoria Street. Owen Armstrong carried out the repairs this time around.
A widower from 2013 after Sunita's murder by Karl Munro, Dev took on various assistants including Anna Windass, Jenna Kamara, Mary Taylor, Cathy Matthews, and Gina Seddon. Sophie Webster worked there on and off from 2010 to 2015, starting out by stacking shelves when she was fifteen. Dev's girlfriends Julie Carp and Erica Holroyd also helped out when Dev needed them, lording it over his other staff.
In 2019, Ravi's health took a turn for the worse and Dev spent two months in India. As the shop was under-staffed, he recruited Evelyn Plummer to run it while he was out of the country, won over by her attentiveness when she caught a shop-lifter in the act. It wasn't until he got back that he discovered Evelyn had re-priced items to give herself discounts and had taken bets from behind the counter. He summarily fired Evelyn, though when he noticed that profits were up, Dev swallowed humble pie and begged her to come back. Evelyn got £12 an hour out of him.
The property was constructed in 1902 with a large front room (the shop), a store room, and behind that the living quarters, with a staircase immediately behind the shop leading to three upstairs bedrooms, plus a yard and outside lavatory through a back door. The entrance to the shop lay on the corner of Coronation Street and Viaduct Street.
In 1960, when Elsie Lappin sold up to Florrie Lindley, the shop still sold over-the-counter, which lay opposite to the front door along two walls. Elsie used every available space to tempt customers, cluttering the counter with a cake display, biscuits, and French Fancies, in addition to the till and scales. Until she replaced Elsie's old iron till, Florrie had to work out prices in her head before entering the amount into the machine. The shop also contained a fridge/freezer and cigarette display, for which the owner needed to display a licence above the front door, and a bubblegum dispenser outside.
The shop's layout was broadly the same until 1985, with only a few changes. The biggest occurred in 1964 when Florrie opened a sub-post office - transferring the counter to the Viaduct Street side to accommodate it - and moved the front door to Coronation Street, finding the current layout too draughty. The next owner, Lionel Petty, closed down the post office and moved the counter back to its original position. A more minor change occurred in 1976, when Renee Bradshaw opened an off-licence, with a separate counter.
Existing until 1985, the residential part of the shop was laid out similarly to the other houses in the street, with a living room/kitchen behind the shop, a scullery behind those, and three bedrooms upstairs. Two of the bedrooms were later converted into a bathroom and bedsit, replacing the outside lavatory in the back yard. The scullery was also upgraded to a full kitchen at some point in the late 1960s and the back room left as a living and dining area.
A side door in the back room opened out into Viaduct Street.
Once converted into a self-service mini-market by Alf Roberts, the shop doubled its floorspace. The area was done over with a red and white colour scheme and the layout changed significantly, with the counter and till repositioned along from the front door, the liqueur and cigarette display behind the counter, fresh produce to the immediate left of the door, and a refridgerator towards the rear, while an additional shelf rack was placed in the centre of the room. Baskets were introduced for customers so that they could pick items from the shelves on their own.
The shop's exterior also saw a change. Previously neutral in colour, the frontage was done over with orange/brown tiles, and the sign above read simply 'Corner Shop' in red lettering. This appearance remained until 2005.
The next refurbishment came in 1993 when it became "Mr Scott's Provisions". Brendan Scott, favouring a more old-fashioned look reminiscent of the Victorian era, did away with the modern counter and shelving, replacing them with wooden surfaces, and added displays for bottled spices and sauces, although the shop did remain self-service. He was the first owner to keep an outdoor shop display, of fruit and vegetables in this case. Meanwhile, the counter was moved back to its pre-1985 position facing the front door.
After Brendan's death, Alf stuck with the new layout, but reversed all of his other changes. In 1994, Maud Grimes installed a ramp so that she could get inside with her wheelchair, much to the chagrin of son-in-law Reg Holdsworth who had hoped for his new shop to be a Maud-free zone. The counter was once again moved to the front of the shop as part of Fred Elliott's 1997 revamp, which saw the old shelving units stripped out and replaced with more modern ones.
Shop: 2005 onwards
In Charlie Stubbs's rebuild, the shop sported a radically different appearance. With regards to infrastructure, the door was moved to the centre of the outer wall on Coronation Street, the counter facing it on the opposite side, and the interior done over with a brighter, blue/white theme. There was also a new display towards the back of the shop just for special offers.
The shop front also changed at this point to a deep blue. This was changed after two months to a cream/brown tiled pattern, similar to its earlier appearance.
- The latter change was not referenced within storylines and had taken effect by Episode 5990 on 27th March 2005.
After the 2010 tram crash, the shop was again rebuilt, sporting a new grey-tiled frontage with vegetable graphics on the windows. A further change was made in April 2015 when the shop covered up its cigarette display in accordance with a change in the law.
The stockroom lay immediately behind the shop. The area also doubled as an office, containing a desk, a landline telephone, burglar alarm, a sink, and, during the 2000s, a desktop computer.
In May 1997, Maureen Holdsworth locked Curly Watts in the shop to hide him from her partner Bill Webster, as Curly had been consoling her and she feared that Bill would miscontrue the situation. The result was Curly spending the night on the stockroom floor. The next day, Bill saw the pair emerging from the back room together and, getting the wrong idea, finished with Maureen. Twelve years later, Teresa Bryant slept there when Umed Alahan took pity on the homeless woman.
Goods and services
As a convenience store, the Corner Shop sells all manner of everyday items, mainly fruits and vegetables, alcohol, cigarettes, tins, and frozen food. The wholesaler-bought goods are generally from the popular lines and brands, allowing shopkeepers to meet the demands of most customers. A notable exception was Annie Walker, who frequently requested specialist items which Renee Bradshaw didn't stock, such as vichyssoise and game soups.
In 1970, Hilda Ogden volunteered to look after the shop while Maggie Clegg and Irma Barlow were on holiday. She attempted to impress the owners by ordering huge quantities of exotic foods from wholesaler Unifoods, leaving the shop short of basic essentials. Neighbours took their custom to Cissie Battersby's instead, and Hilda had to sell the items at less than cost in order to get rid of them before Irma got back. The resulting loss was £7, 2/9, which Irma made her mother pay back by cleaning the shop for free.
The 1985 mini-market expansion made no difference to the ranges on offer although there was a backlash when Alf Roberts decided that he would no longer serve barmcakes unless they were pre-ordered. He backed down after a few days when the Baldwin's Casuals staff boycotted him.
Brendan Scott kept an outdoor shop display of fruit and vegetables, which was removed after his death. Ravi Desai was the next owner to make use of the space, with various bric-a-brac on sale there. This was then replaced this with a flower display by Dev Alahan. Another change in Dev's time was the addition of a cash machine next to the shop counter in 2008.
Most shopkeepers allowed credit, depending on the purchaser. Elsie Lappin preferred not to and erected a notice in the shop telling them not to ask for credit, but found that they asked anyway and took the sign down. The same sign was on display under the ownership of David and Irma Barlow in 1966.
In its earlier years, the shop provided an advertising service on its front window.
Alcohol was first served in the shop in 1976, when Renee Bradshaw successfully applied for a drinks licence.
The approval of the licence was not a foregone conclusion, as its proximity to the Rovers Return allowed Annie Walker to build a strong case that the community's needs were already being adequately served. The women battled each other at Weatherfield Magistrates Court, with Annie putting in an exemplary performance and her solicitor Peter Smith using the fact that Renee had been reported for opening on Sundays to accuse her of profit-mongering. The tide turned when Bet Lynch admitted that the Rovers had to send out for wine when it was needed, and Annie's case fell apart when Walter Jenkins from the Weatherfield Anti-Drinks League launched into an attack on pubs on the stand.
The Corner Shop has survived for over a century despite threats from supermarkets and other small outlets. In 1961, a US-style supermarket, Billy Bargain's Supermart, opened on Rosamund Street, and some of Florrie Lindley's most loyal customers abandoned her to shop there. However, they found the lack of personal service a turn-off, and custom soon picked up again.
In an era of rejuvenation for Weatherfield, Alf Roberts saw the competition eat into his profits more and more. Cissie Battersby was the next closest shop to Coronation Street in the 1970s, while in the early 1990s it was Mr Patel. Fortunately, Maurice Jones's development in Coronation Street in 1989 did not produce any new rivals, but Alf was shedding customers to supermarkets like Bettabuy, with their lower prices. In 1990, the Bettabuy bus was launched, and one of its pick-up points was Coronation Street. Alf retaliated by standing in front of the bus as it pulled away, then boarding the vehicle and lecturing his disloyal customers, and later summarily evicting Bettabuy manager Reg Holdsworth from the flat.
Since 1990, The Kabin newsagent has lain on the opposite side of the street to the shop, and an unwritten agreement has been in place between their respective owners not to cut in on each other's business. The only shop manager to violate the agreement was Nita Desai, who started selling newspapers upon taking charge in 1999. Sharon Gaskell, Rita Sullivan's assistant, retaliated by stocking bread and milk at the Kabin, and the women engaged in a price war. After a few weeks Nita's father Ravi - the shop's owner - saw the effect on his profits and intervened to restore the status quo.
In July 1968, Ena Sharples was minding the shop when two lads, Billy and Frank Pickles, broke in during the night. Ena confronted them with a poker and secured the frightened lads' agreement to return the next day to do odd jobs as a penance.
Nine years later, Renee Bradshaw and her lodger Bet Lynch set up a double date with scaffolders Les Fox and Eric Bailey in Ashton-under-Lyne, which turned out to be a ruse by the men to trick them into leaving the shop unattended. The women returned from being stood up to find all the alcohol shelves empty. Les and Eric were caught drink-driving by the police after just a few days.
In March 1979, following the lorry crash at the Rovers Return Inn, Renee had left the shop to rush to the aid of an unconscious Alf, leaving the shop empty. Vera Duckworth caught a young lad who had helped himself to three packs of cigarettes and was about to rifle through the till. She let him go after a search through his pockets, and belting him round the head.
£20 worth of cigarettes was stolen in June 1982 while Alf helped search for a missing Nicky Tilsley. Two years later, Alf's stock of spirits and cigarettes were looted, resulting in Percy Sugden starting a neighbourhood watch scheme. In both cases, the perpetrators were never caught.
Closer to home, a drunk Terry Duckworth broke into the shop on New Year's Eve 1986 and stole a load of spirits for Kevin and Sally Webster's Hogmanay party at No.13. Alf was suspicious of the party guests from the off, and when he recognised one of his boxes in Hilda Ogden's bin, Terry was compelled by Kevin to confess. As the Duckworths were neighbours, Alf decided not to involve the police, though he still pocketed £100 hush money from Vera. Just over a year later, Vera's mother Amy Burton, a habitual shoplifter, was caught red-handed by Alf and Audrey with a bottle of shaving cream she hadn't paid for. The matter was quietly forgotten after Vera threatened the Roberts with legal action for accusing Amy of being a thief.
The next incident came in January 1996, when thieves raided the alcohol and cigarette supplies. Maud Grimes was on duty at the time, but was powerless to intervene as she was wheelchair-bound and couldn't reach the burglar alarm. Maud's disability later caused the shop to be targetted by Pete Hickman and Mickey Hegarty, who emptied the alcohol shelves before tipping the pensioner out of her wheelchair.
In 2007, Molly Compton caught Kayleigh Morton nicking a tube of toothpaste from the shop. The girl's father Jerry later discovered that her mother Teresa Bryant had gone on holiday, leaving the 13-year-old to look after her younger brother Finlay. In 2013, Dev caught Simon Barlow stealing chocolates from the shop but Simon gave him the slip.
In September 1966, the shop was investigated by the Health department after their potted meat sandwiches served at a party at the Rovers was blamed for giving everybody food poisoning. The Public Health man took a sample of the meat, which was found to be contamination-free, clearing the owners David and Irma Barlow.
The shop's position adjoining 13 Coronation Street has caused the occasional problem, beyond the noise from the neighbours. In 1973, while Hilda Ogden was away at her brother Archie Crabtree's, Stan failed to keep the house clean and the mess attracted mice and cockroaches. Eventually the infestation spread next door and Norma Ford caught a mouse in the shop's back room. Later, when the house was being fumigated, Norma insisted that the fumigators move their van from outside the shop, as it was putting customers off.
A wave of stomach complaints by the neighbours was traced back to the shop in 1978, and in particular Renee's salads. Renee bought her salad stuff from Albert Tatlock, who grew it on his allotment. It transpired that Albert had sprayed his allotment with a new mixture and hadn't properly read the guidelines on the label.
Corner Shop flat
- Main article: 15a Coronation Street
Around 1961, the shop's spare bedroom was converted into a bedsit, equipped with two beds, a stove, and limited kitchen facilities. Florrie Lindley was the first owner to take in paying lodgers, beginning with Phil Braithwaite and Norman Dobson, two clerks from the Town Hall. Most tenants who followed were either relatives or close friends of the shop's owner, or live-in assistants. When not occupied, it was generally used as a stockroom.
The flat underwent several alterations in the late 1960s and early 1970s, notably the addition of a separate kitchen, but it was still functionally a bedsit, lacking a bathroom and street entrance. In 1985, when Alf Roberts turned the shop into a mini-market - removing the living quarters - he also expanded the flat by knocking through into what had been the shop's bedroom and bathroom, and installed a stairwell to the flat and side door in Viaduct Street, numbering the property 15a. Since then, the flat has been a useful money-maker for the Corner Shop's owner.
|6||David and Irma Barlow||1966-1968|
|17||Dev Alahan||1999 to present|
A Corner Shop was planned for Coronation Street from the programme's early drafts, initially an outdoor beer licence. Having decided to set Florizel Street (as it was then known) in a street containing terraced houses with a shop on the corner, Tony Warren and designer Denis Parkin drove round Salford looking for a road which matched these specifications so that they would have something on which to base the programme's set designs. The location they chose was Archie Street in Salford's Ordsall district, which crossed Taylorson Street on the south side. The initial design replicated in studio the shop on the corner, named "Daniel Clifton & Co. Ltd.", in order to match the title sequence with its images of Archie Street.
The shop was the setting of Coronation Street's opening scene in 1960 and featured prominently in the first episode, with viewers introduced to the world of Weatherfield through the eyes of newcomer Florrie Lindley.
With Florrie, a trend was established of the Corner Shop being run by mature women, either a spinster, widow or otherwise separated from her husband, though there were exceptions. In 1968, when David and Irma Barlow were being written out, the character of George Greenwood was considered to take over before producer Richard Everitt nixed the idea. The Clegg family were introduced instead, created by story consultant Stan Barstow. Barstow: "The Corner Shop at that time was a bit moribund and I put that onto a character I read about in the newspaper, a sort of recovering alcoholic who came in and took over a shop." (50 Years of Coronation Street: The (very) Unofficial Story, JR Books, 2010). This character was Les Clegg, husband of Maggie and father of Gordon. Within two months, Les's storyline had played out and John Sharp had been written off the show. Maggie remained for a further six years.
In 1976, new producer Bill Podmore saw the need for a Florrie or Maggie-style character in the Corner Shop and created the character of Renee Bradshaw with actress Madge Hindle in mind, with whom he'd worked on Nearest and Dearest. Podmore: "I had in mind redecoration rather than demolition, but then I spotted cracks in the Corner Shop which could never be papered over. Youngsters have always played an important role in the Street's life, but without a more mature shop staff, the nitty gritty of conversation and tittle-tattle were never going to bounce around its walls." (Coronation Street: The Inside Story, Macdonald and Co Ltd, 1990)
Alf Roberts held the reins for most of the next two decades, inheriting the shop upon Renee's death. Writers had previously planned to marry Alf and Maggie, until Irene Sutcliffe quit the programme in 1974.
In 1999, Coronation Street introduced its first Asian family in the form of Ravi Desai and his children Nita and Vikram. When Ravi bought the Corner Shop from Fred Elliott, it became part of a chain of seven shops owned by the businessman. By placing the Desais in the Corner Shop, Coronation Street was accused of re-inforcing ethnic stereotypes, but actress Rebecca Sarker, who played Nita, disagreed with the criticism: "It's a fact of life that there are a lot of Asian shop owners, just as there are a lot of Asian doctors. I looked carefully at the scripts before I decided to take the part. Had it been derogatory, then I might have had to say no." (The Mirror, 25 Mar 1999)
This page uses story material from Daran Little's Around the Houses and Weatherfield Life for the shop's history prior to 1960.