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The social role of our shops

  • by JW

Like every town, Sidmouth needs to look after its shops:

More shops to close on Sidmouth’s high street

Who will be filling the empty shops along Sidmouth’s High Street?

“What makes Sidmouth different is the independent shops.


We need to be a lot more ‘visionary’:

How to revive an ailing town centre


And we need to see the value of shops beyond ‘shopping’ – as highlighted in this piece from the Financial Times:


Counter culture: what we lose when shops disappear

As the high street declines, shopkeeper’s son John Lloyd makes the case for its social role

I am the son of a small shopkeeper, from a small Scots fishing town. As an upbringing, it has given me a way of apprehending the world — no better or worse than any other, perhaps, but charged these days with a particular poignancy. The slow death of shops, from the vast to the tiny, revives memories and sensations, a kind of regret not so much for childhood as for a way of life that is disappearing, like mineworking or domestic service.

Technology will continue to transform shopping, and there are some good arguments for embracing this. Why shouldn’t people have easier lives, if the fridge tells you when it is on the last yoghurt and the supermarket delivers an hour after you’ve ordered on its website? The reason isn’t obvious: it will reveal itself only slowly, as the gift of sociability that shops give for free is withdrawn

Each one is a little square of commerce that can also be one of humour, understanding and even friendship — a respite from loneliness, especially for the elderly, so long as both sides engage. The disappearance of shops, where the commercial exchange can be encased in a social one, will be something of a disaster if nothing of equal social use takes their place.


Counter culture: what we lose when shops disappear