In 1938 the Kinghams chain of grocery shops stretched from Amersham to Pinner with its head office and warehouse in Watford. The 13 branches stocked a wide variety of grocery goods which could be bought direct from the shop or ordered by telephone and delivered by bicycle or van.
As Christmas approached Kinghams produced a Christmas catalogue filled with choice foods for the festive table. Little did they know that this was to be the last time for many years that such a wide range of produce would be available for special Christmas meals.
The twelve page brochure listed exotic foods such as Chyloong cargo ginger, glace pineapple cubes, Jordan almonds and muscatels. Dates from Tunis, Chinese figs and stuffed Spanish olives could be ordered along with more traditional fare such as Peek Frean’s Twiglets at 1/4d per tin or Crawford’s Cheese Straws which were 2d per pack.
There was a great assortment of cooked meats including Crosse & Blackwell’s Chicken Breasts in Aspic; Poulton & Noel’s Picnic Tongues; pressed pork; brawn and liver sausage.
The cheese selection included portions of Kraft Velveeta, Chilvona, Chedlets and Sunny Clime. Whole Stilton cheeses were available for 1/11d per lb with Edam a snip at only 9d per lb.
Drinks included Idris cherry wine, ginger beer, and Whiteways Cydrax which could be followed by specially blended Empire teas sold in attractive tins which cost between 1/8d and 5/4d per tin.
Iced Christmas cakes from Huntley & Palmers cost between 3/6d and 5/6d whilst the selection from MacFarlane Langs included the Tunis Cake; Banquet; Alpine and even Punch and Judy!
Help the party go with a bang
To decorate the table Kinghams offered a range of boxed crackers containing hats, caps, bonnets, musical toys, parlour fireworks etc., at prices from 6d to 21/-. There were also joke bombs and carnival snowballs to help the party go with a bang.
All these things must have helped to make Christmas 1938 very memorable for many Kinghams customers. It was to be many years before rationing ended and they could once again enjoy such a full festive table.
Kinghams was acquired by the John Lewis Partnership in 1960