After an epic journey around the streets of Twickenham involving hours of diligent note taking, we are able to bring you the great twickerati “Twickenham Shopping Index”. It’s not quite the Standard & Poor’s ratings index but it is a seriously considered (if amateur*) assessment of the prospect of the town’s sometimes successful but often beleaguered retail premises. We’ve listed about 220 of them. Yes, 220! And that’s excluding nearby centres like St Margarets. Why not tick off the ones where you’re a regular, ponder on why you’ve never visited others, watch some as they close, or boost your favourites up the rankings by actually buying something from them? Yes, you can influence this town.
The regeneration of Twickenham is a hot topic at the moment and the sheer volume of retail outlets in the town forms an important part of the debate. And it’s not just about Twickenham either, the state of town centres across the UK is also getting a lot of coverage. Given all of that, a tour around the town’s shops seemed apt, particularly given predictions that the internet will account for 20% of all retailing within a decade. The intention is not to go overboard with either praise or criticism but if you think we’ve been too harsh, too lenient or just plain inaccurate, let us know. It’s not a scientific project but they are your shops, in your town.
We’ve listed them in alphabetical order and added observations to some on the list. There are some whose long term future looks good, shops like Laverstoke Park Farm Butchers and Poundland, two places that could not be more different but both of which have tapped into a local demand. Ditto Sandy’s Fishmonger (something of a Twickenham institution), some of the other local independents that have built up a loyal customer base, and a few of the chain stores with powerful brands and a lot of financial clout. At the other end of the spectrum are shops who are likely to struggle either through changing shopping habits, their location, the impact of competition or as a result of profits being squeezed by increases in rents and rates. Whether we like it or not, some of these will certainly close and we’ll have to wait and see what replaces them as the high street evolves. Do we need more retail space? Probably not. But what do we need and where?
We’ve colour coded the shops into groups to help give you an idea of what’s out there. The categories are broad and cafes bars and restaurants have been excluded as we’ve covered them in previous articles. In terms of coverage we look at central Twickenham, the western end of town and around Strawberry Hill station; we haven’t even touched on St Margarets or East Twickenham. The map at the end shows the area covered.
And so here it is, this is our list of what’s on offer in the Twickenham shopping experience. Add your thoughts and check back soon to see arrivals and departures.
Hairdressers, beauticians, health
Clothes & Shoes
Other retail stores food & drink, chemists, books, travel agents, dry cleaners, bits & bobs
Gifts, cards, treats, accessories
Home furnishings, DIY, hardware
Banks, building societies & estate agents
Other – pretty much everything from petrol stations to funeral directors to the arcade
A to Z Computers, Heath Road.
A1 Glass Supplies, Heath Road
Albert’s Music Shop, Heath Road.
All in One Events, Hampton Road.
Alsford Timber, Heath Road. Unusual to see in such a central location but helps create something of a building trade ‘hub’ in Heath Road.
Amplifon, Heath Road.
Angelo News, Staines Road.
Antique Interiors, Church Street. A relatively recent addition to Church Street.
Aqua Bathrooms, Richmond Road. Looks aimed towards the upper end of the local market.
Arianna Dry Cleaner, Richmond Road. One of several dry cleaners in the town.
ATS Tyres, Hampton Road. There are no imminent signs of people giving up using cars.
AZCO Interiors, Heath Road
Barclays, King Street. How long will so many high-street banks be necessary?
Bathrooms4All, York Street. New in town. Large shop in a central location. Regularly advertising special offers.
Beaucare Dry Cleaners, Heath Road. One of two on Heath Road
Beauty and the Beach, Cross Deep. Well established salon. The shameless punning name warrants success in its own right.
Berni’s Cutz, Twickenham Green. Hairdresser.
Bespoke Furniture, Affordable, quality, made-to-measure products make it a bit different to its competitors. Well established.
Bet Fred, “The Bonus King”, London Road. High-street bookies will always be threatened by their online competitors. And what does “The Bonus King” even mean?
Bevy Food and Wine, York Street
Beyond Skin, York Street. Recently damaged by fire but has vowed to recover.
Blockbuster, Heath Road. With Sky Movies, online DVD rental, Netflix, iPlayer and its own website… the clock must surely be ticking for this chain on UK high streets.
Blue Gnome Computers, London Road
Boots, King Street. The firm has just been bought out by US drugstore giant Walgreens. May mean good times, may mean rationalization of less profitable stores.
British Heart Foundation, King Street. One of many (too many?) charity shops in town.
Bruce’s Quality Butchers, Hospital Bridge Road. Traditional local butcher.
Bubbles Food & Wine, Heath Road. Recently reinvigorated – with some great deals – by new management. One of several convenience stores on Heath Road.
Buchanan News, Heath Road. Close to Tesco Express and other convenience stores along Heath Road.
Cancer Research UK, Heath Road. Charity begins in Twickenham?
Carpet House, York Street.
Carpet Right, King Street. The parent company, at least, is doing pretty well.
Chase Buchanan (lettings), Heath Road.
Chase Buchanan (sales), York Street
Cheltenham and Gloucester, King Street.
Chop Chop, Heath Road.
Coldel Dry Cleaner, Hampton Road.
Complement Accessories, Church Street. Not too much local competition for this jewelry & accessories shop.
Completely Floored, Church Street. Another award for a great punning name.
Conscious Health Centre, Hampton Road
Consol Suncenter, Heath Road.
Couch Potato, Hampton Road.
Cousins, King Street. In danger of going under due to the need for an £800 parking permit, if you believe the local newspaper stories. The fact that it reportedly saw a 40% drop in revenue last year must also be significant, though.
Courtyard hairdresser, King Street.
Crossroads Pharmacy, Hospital Bridge Road.
Crusader Travel, Church Street. The internet’s making life tough for travel agents, but Crusader seems to have more about it than most and keeps its profile high.
Cut Unit, Heath Road.
D&M DIY, Heath Road
Day Lewis Pharmacy, Cross Deep. One of several pharmacies in the town centre. Close to the Cross Deep surgery which must be a plus.
Dexters, Heath Road
DW Glass Services, Staines Road
Edwin Doran’s Travel World, King Street.
Emily’s, Water Lane. Has contact details in the window but only seems to open once a week.
Emma Elizabeth Bridal, Twickenham Green. Just about to open.
Escape, Church Street
Esso, Staines Road
Eurowash, Whitton Road. Laundrette.
Everydays, Wellesley Road.
Fara charity shop, Heath Road
Featherstone Leigh, Heath Road
Fone Gadgets, London Road. Phone accessories is a big market, especially among “the kids”.
Foodland, Whitton Road
Frames, Cross Deep. We’re talking picture frames not spectacles.
Fulwell Park PO and stores, Hospital Bridge Road. One of three convenience stores within 100 yards.
Gascoigne Pees, Heath Road.
General Store, Hampton Road.
GFDF flooring, Hampton Road.
Giant Bicycles, Heath Road. Outlet for one of the leading bike brands. Some impressive machines but stocks just the one brand (obviously)
C. Goode Pharmacy, London Road. Longstanding pharmacy. One of several chemists in the town centre.
Greggs, King Street. Purveyors of bread, doughnuts and pasties. Part of a chain.
Grays Garage, Heath Road.
Hair and Associates, Church Street. Always looks rather trendy. Lots of local competition.
Hair Designs, York Street
Hair Institute, London Road
Halfords, King Street. A big high-street name, but it’s got another huge branch in Isleworth and business seems pretty slow. Competition on the bike front from Moores Cycles round the corner
Halifax, London Road
Happicraft, London Road. Popular with local mums and all those in need of a child’s birthday present at short notice.
Headmasters, Cross Deep. Part of a national chain.
Helen Nails, Heath Road. Nail bar sandwiched in amongst the DIY and decorating businesses on Heath Road.
Holland and Barrett, King Street. The home of the aduki bean and those giant plastic drums of powder. What’s actually in them?
HSBC, London Road
Iceland, King Street. Recently made a big play of charging £1 for lots of items. No surprises why.
Isfahan Carpet Palace, Heath Road.
JB Wines, Hospital Bridge Road. One of three convenience stores within 100 yards.
JD News and Booze, Whitton Road. One shop in a run of convenience stores.
J. Hair, Hampton Road.
Jhoots Pharmacy, Heath Road
Jhoots Pharmacy, Richmond Road. There are two Jhoots in Twickenham, plus other chemists. Now that’s a competitive market.
JKS News, London Road.
Johnsons Decorating Centre, Hampton Road.
Johnsons Shoes, Cross Deep. Does well from the kids / school shoe crowd. Can get very busy, which is surely a good sign.
JoJoLoo, Heath Road. New shop and adjoining cafe. Close to a lot of convenience store competition, some of which stay open longer and also have booze licences.
Joseph Hair and Beauty, York Street
Kick Hair Ltd, York Street.
Kim and Co, Staines Road. Long-established.
King’s Dry Cleaners, Cross Deep. One of several dry cleaners in the town centre.
Kiss n’ Makeup Boutique. A recent start-up, but looks stylish.
Kodak Express, King Street. The US parent company is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy (if still limping along). Just round the corner from Snappy Snaps.
Krafty Kidz, Heath Road. Does a good sideline in kids’ parties.
Krish News Food and Wine, Hampton Road.
Kyzan, Tower Road, Strawberry Hill
Ladbrokes, London Road. One of several bookies in the town centre.
Ladbrokes, Staines Road. Close to the Prince Blucher and the Sussex Arms which might help trade.
Last Try Wines, Whitton Road. Interesting range of wine & foreign beers. Also sells to the restaurant trade. Does good business on rugby days.
Laurel S hairdresser, Heath Road.
Laverstoke Park Farm Butcher, King Street. With the exception of Poundland, the biggest new-store success story of recent years. Well presented, well marketed and offers far more choice and quality than supermarkets.
Len Smith’s, Heath Road. The sports shop is a Twickenham landmark, but does the new generation of cricketers, hockey players et al prefer to use superstores and the net? Also gets busy with school uniform sales.
Leo Food and Wine, Hampton Road
Lin Chan Bridal, Tower Road. Strawberry Hill.
Lisa Nails, York Street. Competition for Helen Nails on Heath Road. Who are Helen and Lisa?
Lloyds, Heath Road.
Local Food and Wine, London Road. Pioneers of the plastic display bowls of fruit.
London Supermarket, Staines Road. One of three convenience stores in one small parade of shops. It would be four, but one burnt down.
London Zu, Church Street. Contemporary jewellery & gifts.
Lovers Lights gallery, Twickenham Green. Opened in 2011. Arty, crafty and has something of the Church Street feel about it.
Lux Studios hairdresser, Heath Road. Ominously large amount of letters piling up on the doormat (at the time of writing).
M.E.L dry-cleaner, Heath Road. One of two dry cleaners on Heath Road.
M&Co, King Street. Never looks exactly busy, but there is a market for cheap fashionwear.
Machine Mart, Heath Road.
Magnet kitchens, Staines Road. Funny place for it.
Mail Boxes, Etc, London Road. Bubble wrap anyone? We all love bubble wrap.
Maple Leaf Pharmacy, Twickenham Green. Strong local following with a broad range of services from cholesterol-testing to alternative therapies.
Marble Hill Fireplaces, Richmond Road. In these chilling economic times, people will always need massive expensive hearths.
Marks and Spencer, Heath Road. This is not just any supermarket, this is a pan-fried, sun-blushed, oak-smoked local supermarket. Was always going to do well from the day it opened.
Marquis & Co, Richmond Road. Oddly dated looking shop front.
Martin & Co, Twickenham Green.
Martine’s Hair Studio, Hampton Road.
Materialistic Curtain and Carpet Studio, Heath Road
Max Sports, London Road. Sells ‘proper’ sports kit and has good customer service. Like many other independent sports shops, must be under pressure from online retailers and the Sports Directs of this world.
Maya’s convenience store, Staines Road.
Mazda, Heath Road.
McDowell’s Grocer, Tower Road. Mr McDowell is long gone, but a friendly family are keeping things ticking over.
Mercado, Church Street. Good option for cards & gifts. Possible beneficiary of Par Ici going.
Michelangelo Barber, Staines Road. Traditional looking barber.
Milestone Residential, Heath Road
Mint Hairdressers/Day Spa, Church Street. Rather more elegant than some of the competition.
Modis newsagent, Cross Deep.
Mojo, Church Street. Another good source of gifts and cards on Church Street.
Money Shop, London Road
Monica Boxley, Church Street. Quirky, trendy fashions and accessories.
Moores Cycles, London Road. Always likely to be affected by the likes of Halfords but stocks many good bike brands that the national giant doesn’t.
Multi York furniture, Heath Road. Never seems to have enough customers to justify its size whatever the 0% finance deals being offered but it’s been there for quite a few years now.
Nat West, King Street. All the major banks have a high street presence in the town, but for how long?
Nationwide, Heath Road.
Orange, Cross Deep. Must surely suffer from online phone retailers including its own website.
Orleans Garage, Richmond Road. Been going for years.
Oxfam, King Street. One of many charity shops.
Paws, Heath Road. Feline focused charity shop but has a “to let” sign above the door.
Percy Chapman and Son garden/pet supplies, just off Heath Road. Good service and product range, and often cheaper than the likes of Homebase. Twickenham’s oldest family run business?
Perfection Hairdressers, London Road. Traditional barber. Been running for quite a while now.
Plum, Church Street.
Post Office, London Road.
Poundland, King Street. The town’s premier choice for discontinued mayonnaise lines, oddly flavoured baked beans and remaindered Freddie Flintoff biographies. Not welcomed by all but has won some converts. A success, like it or not.
Premier Floors, Heath Road
Premier Wine, Tower Road
Princess Alice Hospice, Charity shop, London Road. Less visible than some of the others but the charity is local which must help.
Purple Rose, Hampton Road. New business joining the wide range of hair & beauty salons in the town.
Reels amusement arcade, King Street. Never looks busy and surely online poker is more fun and potentially lucrative?
Rina Hair Design, Heath Road
Robert Frith, optometrist, Heath Road. Looks good but there are 3 other opticians not far away.
Robinson Design, Tower Road. Strawberry Hill.
Rocc, Church Street.
Rugby Food and Wine, Heath Road. Changed hands recently following a selling-to-minors scandal. Close proximity to Tesco Express adversely affected sales under the previous owner.
Sandy’s Fishmonger, King Street. An institution, with great customer loyalty and a clear reason for existing. One of Twickenham’s successes.
Shell Garage, Hospital Bridge Road. Will last until the glorious day when we’re all commuting on shire horses
Shell Garage, Richmond Road. Just a trot away from the other Shell garage.
Shoeworld, Heath Road. New, cheap and always promoting special offers.
Sky. Drycleaner whose sign has fallen off, York Street. One of several dry cleaners in the town centre.
Snappy Snaps, London Road. Just a few metres away from Kodak Express. The chain’s biggest recent advertising coup was when George Michael crashed into one.
Snellers, Heath Road.
Specsavers, London Road. National chain with high visibility but which also has some local competition.
Spirited Wines, Heath Road. This off-licence’s former owners Nicholas seemingly couldn’t make it work and it’s now under new management.
Staggerin’ fancy dress, Heath Road. Need to look like Wonderwoman in a hurry? This is the place.
Star Print, Heath Road. Thought you couldn’t get this or that particular piece of stationery or art material? Think again. WH Smith must have taken a slice of their sales but this store carries a wide range of ‘useful stuff’.
Strawberry Hill Post Office, Tower Road. A real community centre with a range of products that goes well beyond newspapers and stamps.
Sue Ryder, Heath Road. Twickenham’s latest charity shop.
Superdrug, King Street. Major-chain muscle. Looks successful and Twickenham needs this and / or Boots in the town centre.
Sweet Memories, Church Street. A charming idea, well executed. Not over-priced and usually pretty busy.
Tattoo UK, Richmond Road. Bringing body art to Twickers’ middle-class rebels. One of two recently established tattoo studios in town. What did people do before?
TE London, Wellesley Road
Tesco Express, Heath Road. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Tesco is always busy.
T.H. Sanders and Higgs, Heath Road. Everyone dies.
Thames Audio Video, London Road
Thames Newsagent, Richmond Road. Only convenience store for at least 200 yards. That must count for something.
The Alternative Paint Company, Richmond Road. Ultra-posh decorating substances for Twickenham’s most well-appointed walls.
The Barbers, Water Lane. Traditional barber. Often busy.
The Cakes World, Heath Road. Never looks busy or even patronised but it’s a niche player which also sells online. Window display is ‘eclectic’.
The Carphone Warehouse, King Street. Surely the interactive internet will be the premier place to buy mobiles – which have essentially become small computers – soon?
The Eye Store, Cross Deep. Another good pun, but one that requires a satisfying amount of thought. Three competitors are just around (different) corners.
The Hill Dry Cleaners, Tower Road. Strawberry Hill.
The Natural Health and Beauty Centre, Heath Road.
The Optical Gallery, King Street. Looks like it needs a bit of a makeover, but well-established and in a very central location. One of several opticians in the town.
The Printing Room, London Road.
The Rugby Store, York Street. The “home of rugby” just wouldn’t be the same without one.
The Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, Heath Road. Local charity.
Thomas Cook, Heath Road. The former holiday giant is in dire financial straits. Recession + online travel sites doesn’t exactly spell good news for the likes of Britain’s oldest travel agent.
Timpson, York Street. It’s hard to get keys cut online.
TLC Tattoo, Heath Road. Previously TCB Tattoo. Why the name change?
Toe-Knees Shoe Repairs, Church Street. Impressively low ceiling. Like having your keys cut by hobbits. Provides services that can’t easily be done online.
Toni & Guy, London Road. One of the country’s leading chains but lots of competition in the town.
Topps Tiles, Heath Road. Forms part of the DIY avenue that the Council wants to create on Heath Road.
Townends, London Road
Twickenham Barber, Heath Road. The town is not lacking in options when it comes to getting a haircut, but at least that’s one thing you can’t do online.
Twickenham Barbers (the other one), London Road
Twickenham Discount Store, Heath Road. Seems to have survived the Poundland challenge. People always need more buckets, sponges and bin bags.
Twickenham Food and Wine, Whitton Road
Twickenham Vauxhall Sales and Servicing, Staines Road.
Unnamed antiques shop, Twickenham Green. Doesn’t seem to open much but one suspects it’ll keep going as long as the owner wants it to.
Unnamed hardware shop, Staines Road. To let sign suggests that the owners are about to move on.
Unnamed second hand book shop, Staines Road. Where would you look for a particular second-hand book? One small shop or the entire world wide web?
Waitrose, London Road. Very Twickenham. The days of Somerfield seem like so long ago.
Wake and Paine, Church Street. Funeral directors with a great name.
Waterstones, King Street. Surely sooner or later Amazon and the Kindle are going to do for this struggling high-street chain. The demise of Langton’s must have helped a bit, but for how long?
Websters, Heath Road. Estate agent. New and has plenty of competition from other local estate agents. But looks smart and seems to be offering good deals.
WH Smith, King Street. Important national chain presence on the high street.
Wild Goose, Church Street.
Wildabout Flowers, Heath Road. A proper florist, catering for weddings etc as well as the ‘impulse buy’. Has changed hands several times over recent years but always has a good display.
William Hill, Church Street. Another town centre bookie. Online competition must be affecting it, along with the 3 other betting shops within walking distance.
Willows Wines, Hospital Bridge Road. One of three convenience stores within 100 yards.
World of Transport Travel, Heath Road. Travel agents are being hit hard by the accessibility and cheapness of websites like laterooms or lastminute.
York Galleries, Richmond Road. Looks rather like the shop that Emily ran with Bagpuss. What exactly does it sell? And when?
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Your Move, Heath Road
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Some of the empty retail premises in the town centre include the space formerly occupied as follows:
King Street: ABC Pharmacy (now moved to Cross Deep trading as Day Lewis); Phones4U (red display over door); Card Factory; Wishbone; Clintons; Relief Fund for Romania
Heath Road: Chez Chevallier; Belmont Bakery; Tai Fok
London Road: Financial Adviser (nr Happicraft)
Cross Deep: HMH Electrical
Church Street: Langton’s; Par Ici; Dapper
York St: Shanghai Village
Queen’s Road: Belmont Bakery
What’s striking from the list above is the sheer choice available in a relatively small area. Ignoring the divide between barbers and hair salons, there are over 20 places for a haircut in Twickenham. There are seven pharmacies and six dry cleaners. Despite the rise in online gambling there are four bookmakers in the town centre and although online banking is now normal practice for many individuals and businesses, all the major players have a branch in Twickenham. And let’s not forget that Kingston and Richmond are just down the road. Where some will celebrate the choice available to shoppers, others will see duplication, and with the UK still in recession and shoppers continuing to move their purchasing online, Twickenham’s ability to sustain both this volume and variety of stores looks doubtful. Some will thrive through great products, first-rate customer service, supplying a market niche or through their sheer convenience, but others will fall by the wayside. We can’t say that the future for Twickenham’s retailers looks especially bright in the short term, but we can be sure that longer term regeneration will only come about through significant, and sometimes painful, changes on our high street. Challenging but interesting times are ahead.
The idea and all the hard graft for this piece came from an occasional site contributor. Your regular correspondent’s role was limited to some sub-editing and working out the colours in HTML. So, basically, the credit for this monster piece of work lies elsewhere but we’ll accept the criticism.