Thursday 21 June 2012

The Little Kettle

In Fitzroy Street long before the Kite redevelopment and the Grafton Centre, there once stood a little shop next to Cartwright's the barber's with a tin kettle attached to the front of the building.

The building was a hardware and grocery shop found at numbers 70 and 72 (number 20 before the 1920 renumbering of the street) and was owned by Mrs Varlander. A old saying amongst Cambridge folk was 'If you can't find what you're looking for at Varlander's, you won't find it at all'.

The shop was probably one of the first places in Cambridge to offer a saving stamp scheme. This is a format which today has been devolved by big names like Tesco into Clubcard schemes, where you receive a point for every pound spent. Varlander's scheme would offer free soap in exchange for a customer's saving stamps.

Virginia La Charite with the plan for the renovation - March 1978
In the late 1970's the Little Kettle became the headquarters of the Kite Action Group which campaigned against the Kite redevelopment.

The group's plan was to redevelop the Little Kettle as a general store, but sadly this wasn't to be and it was demolished in July 1981.
The site of the shop now lies under the Grafton Centre. It may be gone, but let's not forget it - the Little Kettle of Fitzroy Street.