The Corner Shop
Shopkeepers, the Sharmas and the making of modern Britain
By Babita Sharma
A personal story from the child of corner shop owners that explores how these tiny open-all-hours shops changed our country -- as heard on Saturday Live, and a Radio 4 Book of the Week
'One of the best books I've read on the immigrant experience in this country' Daily Mail
'Full of life, characters, gossip and all the richness of the local community' Sir David Jason
'A compelling, full selection box of a story' Sanjeev Kohli
A Radio 4 Book of the Week
I've seen you on a Sunday morning, nipping out to get a pint of milk or to grab a newspaper. I came to know a lot about you; whether your politics leaned to the right or left, whether you were gay or straight, and whether you were plagued by cash-flow problems or had enough disposable income to indulge your penchant for Cadbury's Crème Eggs. I don't work for the secret services, nor do I have special access to you and your family's data. I come from a hidden world: I am the daughter of shopkeepers.
From the general stores of the first half of the 20th century (one of which was run by the father of a certain Margaret Thatcher), to the reimagined corner shops run by immigrants from India, East Africa and Eastern Europe from the 60s to the noughties, their influence has shaped the way we shop, the way we eat, and the way we understand ourselves.
Babita Sharma was raised in a corner shop in Reading, and over the counter watched a changing world, from the clientele to the products to the politics of the day. Along with the skills to mop a floor perfectly and stack a shelf, she gained a unique insight into a shifting landscape - and an institution that, despite the creep of supermarkets, online shopping and delivery, has found a way to evolve and survive. The Corner Shop is the remarkable human story of these little institutions that have changed the course of our history.
Babita Sharma is a journalist, TV presenter and news anchor for the BBC. She presents Newsday on BBC World News, covering major global news events including the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore, the EU Referendum, the Rio Olympics and the award-winning BBC 100 Women series. Passionate about diversity and mental health issues, Babita mentors BAME journalists and also works with the charity Mind.
Babita presented BBC Two's Dangerous Borders: The Story of India & Pakistan. The documentary series took Babita to the India/Pakistan border 70 years after Partition, following in the footsteps of her family who were directly affected. The Corner Shop is her first book. It follows her critically acclaimed documentary Booze, Beans & Bhajis: The Story of the Corner Shop broadcast on BBC Four, BBC News Channel and BBC World News. Babita is married and lives in London.
- Other details
- Publication date:
18 Apr 2019
- Page count:
One of the best books I've read of the immigrant experience in this country . . . it's the detail that makes it . . . a subtle, enjoyable book. — Daily Mail
Full of life, characters, gossip and all the richness of the local community — Sir David Jason
A compelling, full selection box of a story — Sanjeev Kohli