Shop’s new front takes it back to original look
A 90-year-old shop in Ashford has been restored to its former glory.
Richard Stafford bought the freehold to number 11a, in Park Street, in February this year and has since been restoring the front of the building back to its original design.
He will be using the building as a base for his business as a chartered surveyor – Stafford Perkins.
The shop, which was built in 1926, has had a colourful history.
It was originally opened by the Dingle family who used the premises to sell produce from their dairy farm, before going on to become a fishmongers when the Grayling family took over around 1936.
The design of the new frontage of the shop is based on an old, undated photo which features some of the Grayling family.
Other uses for 11a were as a pharmacy for a war hero and Polish doctor, Josef Szwacman (also known as Joseph Sheldon), a residential home for many families, Sussex Stationers and now a chartered surveyors under Mr Strafford.
Mr Stafford who has been working in Ashford since 1985, said: “I was looking for a freehold building that would give me scope to grow in the centre of Ashford and this ticked all the boxes.
“I was able to purchase the freehold in February and since then we’ve had the builders in basically redecorating and we’ve changed the shop front to reflect the photos. We’ve got the glazed bricks and the timber window frames, and the large glass and the solid door on the front so it takes it right back to its original construction design back to the 1920s and 30s.”
However, a detail Mr Stafford is trying to change is the number of the building – from 11a to 11. The original number 11 was knocked down to make way for the Wool- worths store to be built and is now just an empty space. Mr Stafford said: “The shopfront that was there when I bought it was a horrible 1960s aluminium framed-window which looked wrong for the image we wanted.
“We want to portray an image of tradition, stability and professional competence and I feel like this new shopfront gives that image. From the feedback we’ve had from passers-by and social media, everyone seems to think is really good. People seem to be very pleased with it.”
What do you think? Write to Kentish Express, Unit 4, Park Mall Shopping Centre Ashford, TN24 8RY or email kentishexpress@thekmgroup. co.uk
Richard Stafford outside the redesigned building at number 11a Park Street, Ashford
How the shop once looked and, right, the new front which is based on the original design