Sainbury’s Tea Caddy

Object: Sainsbury’s Tea Caddy

Found: Donation by Slaney Devlin, local resident

Date: 1993

In 1993, Sainsbury’s supermarket produced a tea caddy for Assam and Earl Grey teabags. It was a model of a Sainsbury’s shop from around 1900. The specific shop used was the Sainsbury’s at 86-87 Chalton Street, Somers Town. The location of the shop was on the northern corner of Churchway. 

The choice of Chalton Street was significant. One of the earliest Sainsbury’s was opened there. John James Sainsbury, the founder of the stores, married Mary Ann Staples, who was born on 30 June 1849 at 4 Little Charles Street (where St Joan’s House, Phoenix Road, is today).  Her father had a dairy at 87 Chalton Street. In 1869, John James Sainsbury opened a dairy shop on Drury Lane. At the same time, Mary Ann’s father was expanding his chain of grocers. Eventually these were sold to the Sainsbury’s, including the Chalton Street store in 1882. The shop thrived. It extended into the neighbouring premises in 1889. Shortly after this photographs of the shop and its workers were taken: the tea caddy drew on these for inspiration.

The shop became a supermarket after the war. A promotional poster from 1934, advertising plump young rabbits and Devonshire streaky bacon, calls it ‘the working man’s friend’.  Photographs in the Sainsbury’s archive show the chairman John Benjamin Sainsbury welcoming shoppers to the new self-service branch at 50-54 Chalton Street in 1953.

By Esther Leslie

Explore Images of Chalton Street Sainsbury’s