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David Greig was the supermarket (initially grocery shop) chain founded by the Greig family of Hornsey, north London. With its headquarters at Atlantic Road, Brixton (and later at Waterloo Road, London) and grocery shops across southern England, it was a rival to the Sainsbury's chain, John and Mary Sainsbury having opened their first grocery shop in Holborn one year earlier. A deep personal rivalry developed between the two families, because of acrimonious feelings about the Greigs' alleged betrayal of a verbal agreement regarding the purchasing of sites for development.
The David Greig chain is considered to have been established in 1870, when the founder's mother opened a small provisions shop at 32 High Street, Hornsey. By 1881 David Greig had joined his mother in the business and described himself as a 'provision dealer' in the census of that year. Beyond, Hornsey, Greig opened his first shop at 54-58 Atlantic Road, Brixton in 1888, initially "anchoring" the nascent Brixton Market, which started in Atlantic Road in the 1870s and was so successful that it spread to Brixton Road before being relocated to Brixton Station Road plus several purpose built covered arcades and finally also Electric Avenue, to reduce congestion and allow further growth.
By the late 1960s, there were more than 220 Greig shops across the south of the country, all trading under the David Greig brand. However, the company was sold to Fitch lovell and merged into Fitch Lovell's own Key Markets supermarket brand in 1972 after crippling death duties were incurred when several of the men in the family died in quick succession, with inheritance tax obligatory on their entirely private holdings. Key Markets was later bought by Gateway, and eventually rebranded as Somerfield, although several of the larger stores were taken over by ASDA, including the Sturry Road site, near Canterbury. This was in turn bought by the Co-operative Group. Each of these changes included considerable restructuring, so many ex-Greig stores may now be in different ownership.
A commemorative plaque has been placed on 32 Hornsey High Street, the site of the very first Greig shop. The David Greig shop at 54-58 Atlantic Road, Brixton, is no longer a supermarket, but the frontage, containing a "DG" cypher, remains relatively original, and although the full name has been removed from the facade it is still visible in the mosaic floor outside the recessed shop entrance. The David Greig shop at 65 Lordship Lane in East Dulwich is listed Grade II for its authentic 19th-century interior.
The old David Greig building at 23 St Georges Street Canterbury (now Superdrug) was designed by Robert Paine and Partners in 1952 and became a listed building in 1995 under the English Heritage building protection scheme. There is an inscription on the wall, in memory of DAVID GREIG, founder and DAVID ROSS GREIG. When Superdrug refurbished the store in the 1990s and the marble replaced, a stonemason was employed to re-create the inscription. It can still be seen today.
There is another facility in Alcester (Warwickshire) in memory of his wife Hannah Susan. The current sports, arts and community facilities are called The Greig and are managed by the Hannah Susan Greig Memorial Company Limited.
The family tableaux is located in Magpie Hall Lane cemetery, Bromley, London.ent.
A David Greig shop sign was uncovered at No.257 Old Kent Road after the current occupiers carried out refurbishments in November 2019.
- "History". David Greig Trust. The Greig Trust. 2018. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
- "Brixton Conservation Area: Conservation Area Statement" (PDF). London Borough of Lambeth. Mar 2012. Retrieved 2018-12-24.
- Alan Patient of www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk (2018). "London Remembers". David Greig Trust. London Remembers. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
- "David Greig mosaic". Urban 75. Aug 2003. Retrieved 30 Aug 2013.
- Historic England, "Former David Greig shop at 65 Lordship Lane (1447296)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 19 December 2017
- Photo of mosaic floor outside recessed entrance to first shop, in Atlantic Road Brixton, as seen in Aug 2003