J S Sainsbury's

Growth in Welwyn Garden City

By Robert Gill

The second store at 44 Church Road
Jenny McCann
The old design of the second store along Parkway
Jenny McCann
The temporary store in Howardsgate
Robert Gill
The new store on opening day, 16th November 2011
Robert Gill
Part of the piazza
Robert Gill
The green wall
Robert Gill
The new store design along Parkway.
Robert Gill

J S Sainsbury’s opened its first store in Welwyn Garden City at 12 Church Road on 24th October 1961.

In 1967, the store was expanded to self-service.

On 5th April 1982, a second much larger store opened at 44 Church Road as part of the expansion of the town centre designated retail footprint. This store included an underground car park. The first store at 12 Church Road closed on 2nd April 1982 and reopened as a freezer centre on 15th August 1983 but was to close on 1st June 1992.

As part of rejuvenation, the second store was closed on 23rd August 2010 and promptly demolished. As a temporary measure, a much smaller store was opened at 30 Howardsgate on 24th August 2010 which operated until the opening of the new store on 16th November 2011 at 44 Church Road.

The new store which took some 15 months to build has some 4 times the floor area of the previous store on the same site with parking for some 380, incorporates an external ‘green wall’ and piazza. Much thought has been given to the design of the new store which is much in sympathy with the surrounding buildings as well as incorporating new ideas.

Go to the following web site for details of the history of J S Sainsbury’s:


This page was added on 16/11/2011.

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  • I worked a Saturday job at the Sainsburys at 44 Church Road from August 1983 in their cafe at the back of the store.   I was the chef’s assistant preparing meals rapidly and I worked there pretty much all day.   I went full time two months later when I couldn’t find other weekday work and I was a full time employee there until I was made redundant in 1989.   For a 57 hour week the wages was £236 every month. 

    By Peggy Newman (16/07/2016)
  • I was one of the original and first staff who worked at the newly opened Sainsburys store on Church Road in 1961. I worked out in the warehouse moving and sorting deliveries.  After a few months there I was transferred to working as a stock assistant in the main shelves, and my job was to re-stock the shelves with the correct products and labels to go with it too. Our supervisor Mr Dainham was quite a dashing figure who you just couldn’t resist falling in love with. All the girls used to fancy him. 

    By Lillian Atkinson (14/05/2016)
  • I worked as Duty Manager from October 1961 to April 1984 at the old Sainsburys at both 12 and 44 Church Road. I earned £12 a week (pre-decimalised) and then £19.80 a week.

    By George Stevens (10/08/2015)
  • I used to work for Threshers Head Office, which was located in Sefton House, in the offices directly above the old Sainsburys in 44 Church Road. I hadn’t been back to this part of WGC since I left Threshers in 2000, and was shocked to see what had a changed. The new store is sympathetic to it’s surroundings and I can’t believe they have managed to get so much into the same footprint.

    By Matt Young (28/08/2013)