Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Margaret Thatcher

Remarks visiting Finchley

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Finchley
Source: Finchley Press, 14 September 1988
Journalist: Chris Heneghan, Finchley Press, reporting
Editorial comments: 0830-0940 MT visited a Finchley branch of Tescos where she bought spam and wine. 0940-1105 she attended a photocall at Golders Green police station.
Importance ranking: Trivial
Word count: 457

It's Tesco spam and wine for your tea, Denis!

PM goes shopping

It's not every customer of Tesco that gets their groceries packed for them by the supermarket chain's chairman. But not every customer is Britain's Prime Minister.

Margaret Thatcher, in her role as Finchley's MP, popped into the Colney Hatch Lane store on Wednesday and bought a bag of shopping costing £19.46.

She spent an hour there and told chairman Ian Maclaurin as she left: “Now I know what you have got, I can dash in again.” She added: “Many congratulations on the store and many thanks.”

The massive supermarket was made spick and span for the PM's visit and department heads came in at 4 am to prepare while many other staff started an hour earlier than normal.

Mrs Thatcher's selection included:

• A tin of Spam.

• Cheddar cheese.

• Low-fat spread.

• 1 lb of tomatoes.

• 1 lb of rashers.

• A bottle of Tesco's wine of the year.

She also donned a white hat and coat to tour the store's bakery and stopped to talk to surprised customers, unaware she was making the visit.

Gladys Coleman of The Vale, Muswell Hill, shopping with Fred Kimber, was one of those who had a chat with the PM.

“Oh yes, I was surprised,” she said. “Mrs Thatcher asked us why we came here and we told her that it was because it has such a lot of parking space.”

The PM also stopped to talk to Sandra Kinrade, of Muswell Hill, shopping with two-year-old daughter Polly.

The management of the store, which opened in February this year and employs 500 people, invited Mrs Thatcher along.

She was shown around by the company's top brass—chairman Ian Maclaurin and managing director David Malpass, and by store manager John Conway.

Having her tomatoes weighed proved a problem when assistant Michelle Griffin 's scales malfunctioned. “They've never gone wrong before,” she said but colleague Lorraine Taylor stepped in to stamp Mrs Thatcher's purchase with a weight and price ticket.

Onlookers thought the PM might go through No 10 till to pay, but number 15 was chosen instead, so she could walk straight to her armoured Jaguar car.

She was whisked to Golders Green police station—which covers the Finchley area, where she met senior officers.

The station is celebrating its 75th anniversary and Mrs Thatcher joined in the celebrations.

From there she was taken to the police section houses in Amberdene Avenue, Finchley, where she met home beat officers, including the Pc who patrols Ballards Lane where the Conservative branch office is situated.