Rising rents cause Tilehurst Wool Shop to closeBy Linda Fort
April 05, 2012
A wool shop which has been supplying avid knitters in Tilehurst for more than 70 years is to cast off this week.
The present leaseholder Diana Grainger, 71, has been running the shop for the past nine years but she is closing the door for good today.
And one keen knitter has got together a petition in a bid to prevent the shop being turned into an estate agent.
Mrs Grainger said: “There has been an increase in the rent and that has meant that I can’t continue – that and the fact that I am 71. But as long as my health held out I would have liked to have gone on longer.”
Mrs Grainger has always been a keen knitter herself and makes up new knitting patterns to sell in the shop. When she took over the shop in The Triangle, the knitting hobby was at a low ebb. She said: “Very few people were knitting.”
But since then there has been a major revival among younger knitters and business has been thriving as a result.
She said: “People are knitting again – they are even teaching them knitting in schools again.”
But as busy as she is, Mrs Grainger says the increased rent is “at the heart of the matter”. She said: “I really don’t want to discuss that side of things.”
Customers, she added, were very upset at the news of the closure.
“There have been tears here this morning. The news is getting around and my regular customers are very upset,” she said.
Mrs Grainger will not be putting down her own knitting needles.
Her daughter has a wool shop in Warwickshire and she plans to keep on knitting jumpers and cardigans for her.
She doesn’t like knitting children’s clothes, preferring to knit for adults.
She said: “I am not a little knitter.”
Customer Jane Blake, 57, has been using the shop for 26 years, as long as she had lived in Tilehurst.
Mrs Blake, of Bramble Crescent, said: “We are devastated at losing the shop. People come from miles around to use it.”
She has collected a 257-signature petition and handed it in to Reading Borough Council.
She said: “I don’t know if it will do any good. We want the premises to remain retail. We have heard it is going to be another estate agent – I think that will be the seventh. We don’t want another estate agent or building society.”
Mrs Blake said she had been knitting since her oldest child – now 26 – was born and was now knitting for her grandchildren.