FAREWELL TO THE GRIFFIN PARK SHOP

Monday, 20 December 2021 | In Focus, Popular

The club shop in Braemar Road has given way to the Bees Superstore near the new stadium. We look back at the one of the Club's last connections with the Griffin Park area.  
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In our October 2021 newsletter we showed a painting of Griffin Park and asked : ‘Does this picture look familiar to any reader? It was handed in at our exhibition at the London Museum of Water and Steam but we don’t know who was kind enough to do that.’
We got a great reply from BU member 7312 Brian Wapshott who told us:
‘ I am the person who painted the picture in the photograph… I took some photos of the Braemar Road entrance to Griffin Park before the hoardings were put up in front of it prior to the start of demolition and printed them off on A4 printing paper. I then proceeded to draw and paint them onto A3 paper. There are 5 different paintings which make up the whole picture and it is slightly over 6 ft long and about 11 inches high. I then made a frame up for it and stuck the 5 different paintings in the frame side by side to recapture the whole scene.  It is not a very accurate representation, but it gives me a reminder of my time watching football being played there. I painted the picture during lockdown 2020 and it took between 3 and 4 months to complete’.
Our favourite part of the painting is of the old club shop and Brian’s painting got us thinking about the history of the club shop. Bees historian Jonathan Burchill, author of a new book on Griffin Park, had all the facts at his fingertips.

                                                A DOZEN FACTS ABOUT THE BRENTFORD CLUB SHOP

  • 1966  The club introduced its first mascot Bertie Bee. After the success of  England’s 1966 World Cup Willie, Bertie  was created by artist John Barnett and would appear on ties, pens and other products.
  • 1968  The first club shop at Griffin Park opened, called “Bertie Bee’s Bazaar”. Initially, the hut at the Brook Road entrance just sold old programmes, although souvenirs such as lapel badges, rosettes, inscribed ballpoint pens, and player and team photographs could be ordered, taking 6-8 weeks to come in.
  • 1969 During the game with Notts County, “Bertie Bee’s Bazaar” was broken into, and goods to the value of over £50 were stolen, including 15 red and white scarves, 300 badges from various clubs, and colour photographs.
  • 1970 The catering kiosk behind the New Road stand re-opened and the club shop transferred to the Braemar Road forecourt from behind the Brook Road stand.
  • 1972 The Supporters’ Club assumed responsibility for the sale of all souvenir items in the ground and took over the running of the club shop no longer to be called Bertie Bee’s Bazaar’.
  • 1980 The commercial staff of six moved into new offices in a portakabin on the Ealing Road side of the ground. The site included a club shop selling a variety of souvenirs and novelties.
  • 1984 The commercial office portakabin was relocated to the Braemar Road forecourt for use as the club shop, matchday ticket office, and lottery office. 
  • 1989 The club shop reportedly sold over 1,800 inflatable Bees (priced at £5) in preparation for the FA Cup trip to Liverpool.
  • 1995 Following an idea by the chairman (Martin Lange), the club shop was renamed “The Bees Fan-Attic”.
  • 2004 The club reached an agreement with Fuller, Smith & Turner to lease the Princess Royal public house with the adjacent hall being converted into a new shop, ticket office, and reception area.
  • 2005 The new ‘Bees Superstore’, adjoining the Princess Royal in Braemar Road, was opened when Martin Allen cut a ceremonial ribbon. The portacabin formerly housing the Bees Fan-Attic in the Braemar Road forecourt was lifted out by crane and removed from Griffin Park.
  • 2021 The much bigger ‘Bees Superstore’ opened on the corner of Lionel Roast and the A4, close to the new stadium. The site in Braemar Road closed, breaking the last formal link between the club and the Griffin Park area.

These facts were kindly provided by Jonathan Burchill, Brentford historian and author of the new book ‘A Pub on Each Corner, Stats and Facts from Griffin Park, the home of Brentford FC for 116 years.It is available to purchase online here.

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