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Michael Kavanagh, Leyton, Lea Bridge Road, 1973

1960-1980 Stores


My first job, while still at school, was a 'Saturday' job in Sainsbury's. One of my school friends, Rossington Ali, already worked there and introduced me to the manager. My interview was mostly adding numbers, the store had manual tills, and as arithmetic was one of my strongest subjects I was offered a post and started soon after. I believe that the store was one of the last that did not have self service and I worked there until it closed, when I transferred to the Hoe Street store in Walthamstow. My first job in the Lea Bridge store was restocking shelves but soon transferred to the cooked meats counter. We sold loose sausages and bacon and some of the cooked meats, such as Salami, were sliced by hand, with a knife. There was also a cheese counter where cheese was also cut to order. The butter was kept on marble shelves, as there was no refrigerated area to keep them in the shop, and we kept most of the butter in the rear store room, restocking frequently. On hot days the shelf became slick with melted butter. We all wore grey shop coats and when I worked on cooked meats I had a long white apron that had a central button at the front, which came up to a point, white half sleeve covers and a white Trilby. During the morning the staff cook would come and take our lunch orders and would cook whatever we wanted, as long as she had it in stock.
Customers would buy items at different counters, I remember the cooked meat counter where I worked ( which including sausages, bacon and eggs), cheese counter, butter, tinned food but, although there must have been others I can't recall them . I enjoyed by few school years working weekends and holidays in Sainsbury's and although my time in the Walthamstow supermarket was enjoyable it didn't give me the same satisfaction I gained Working in Lea Bridge Road.
I recall, as a younger child, visiting a similar store near Leyton Town Hall, in Leyton High Rd.

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