Shop’s new front takes it back to orig­i­nal look

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Building Restored - By Kristina Cur­tis

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.

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

Pic­ture: Steve Sal­ter

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