The shop in the picture belongs to the Maypole Diary Company specialising in eggs, tea, condensed milk, butter and margarine.
The business began in 1887 when George Watson opened his first shop in Wolverhampton while his brother Charles opened a Danish dairy in Wednesbury and in 1889 relocated to Manchester.
Later still George and Charles were joined by Alfred Watson and George Jackson and began opening a chain of shops across the country.
By 1915 there were 985 Maypole branches and they opened their 1000th shop in 1926.
“The success was due in large part to the growing popularity of margarine and their insistence on high quality despite all their products being mass trade. The Watsons' supplied one third of the UK margarine market by 1914.”*
Our own branch opened sometime around 1909, when the Manchester and Salford Co-operative Society moved across the road to 15 Barlow Moor Road.
It is a wonderful picture and perfectly conveys the style of retailing at the beginning of the 20th century. Here is that simple approach of “pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap.
There is no mistaking the produce from the display in the window or the eye grabbing offers of a “£100 GIVEN AWAY” and “GIVEN AWAY MAYPOLE MARGARINE OVERWEIGHT”
Or the drop light in front of the entrance, the large mirror to the left of the door and the bold gold lettering of the company’s name on the black background.
The interiors followed the same style. The counters were stacked high with produce and vied with tall signs offering cheap offers like “THE VERY BEST DOUBLE OVERWIEIGHT 1/- GUARANTEED TO PLEASE MAYPOLE MARGARINE which another sign boasted was "SPLENDID FOR SPICE CAKE ONLY 5 pence a lb."
And it was the attention to detail which strikes you. There were baskets of eggs on the counter carefully spaced out between gleaming brass weights and boxes of tea while on the tiled floor were potted plants, and always at hand to help and always immaculate attired were the shop assistants.
So there you have it a little bit of retail past, and for those with a mind to pursue the Manchester and Salford Co-operative Society, there is Lawrence’s wonderful co-op blog at http://hardylane.blogspot.co.uk/
Picture; the Maypole Dairy Company shop at 41 Wilbraham Road, from the Lloyd Collection, the same picture is also in the digital collection of Manchester Libraries, dated 1920 and attributed to a Miss Myers m18235, and extract from Slater’s Manchester, Salford & Suburban Directory, 1909, page 1185
*Clare, David http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/articles/maypole/maypole01.htm