Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dead Loss for Tonbridge High Street?...

I hear on the grapevine that we may be getting a new High Street shop in the near future. Great news you might think. We've had the new butchers open at the south end recently which was a much needed lift and we should all support it. However rumours of a funeral parlour opening at the corner of Bank Street at the north end are causing a bit of a stir among the local traders and neighbours. I have it from a reliable source that there's a planning application in for disabled access at the rear of the building, right opposite Church Lane, a location which you might think could be quite handy! This would appear to indicate that the funeral directors are intending to unload (is that the word?) the deceased bodies up a ramp and into the back room of what used to be Ray Silverman's jewellery workshop. It does beggar belief that the business is contemplating these premises knowing, as I do, how pokey that particular back room is. I suppose that every business has the right to trade from somewhere but I am left wondering about the suitability of this building for that particular speciality. Surely they need a yard of some sort don't they? One where they can discreetly and respectfully go about their business out of the gaze of passers by. A narrow street with cars and buses frequently trundling through doesn't seem to fit the bill although, you'd think that they must have done their homework. Wouldn't they? Can you imagine the horrific scene if bodies are spilling out of coffins all over the show when you're on your way home after taking the kids to swimming or football practice. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "coffin dodgers!" Sorry that was in poor taste so I'll put a lid on it right there! I'm only glad to have moved out of the old Mr. Books shop in the middle of last year. Got out just in the nick of time. I mean, can you imagine customers having to step over the dead bodies to get to the £1 paperbacks! Mind you I could have turned it to my advantage by renaming the shop Black Books and organising a book signing for Booker Prize winner, Hilary Mantel for her aptly named book, Bring Up the Bodies. Would have been the perfect venue for her! Then think of the music nights: I could have played Real Dead Ringer For Love perhaps. Or maybe a remake of the Michael Jackson Thriller video with rotting zombies boogying down Bank Street to generate some pubilicity! So what does everyone think? Perfectly acceptable? Butt out and let them get on with their business? Or a dead loss for the High Street??..

11 comments:

Paul Bailey said...

"I suppose that every business has the right to trade from somewhere."

Yes they do; you;ve answered your own question, so stop being such a nimby! Would you rather this shop stood empty?, like too many others in Tonbridge High Street.

Like it or not, death is the one certainty in this life (along with taxes, of course), so the funeral parlour will never be short of customers!

Really TB, you are taking your own self importance to ridiculous levels now, putting yourself forward as some self-appointed guardian of the High Street. Whatever happened to live and let live?? (Or should that be Live and Let Die?)

Tim James said...

I don't think I was living in Tonbridge when Ray Silverman's Jewelery workshop was in place, so I can't exactly work out which premise you're referring to. I know roughly where you mean.
I would have thought that a professional undertaker business would make discretion a premium when designing and altering a premises. I mean, I doubt if they'd just move in to the property as you remember it and start preparing cadavers for the grave in the back garden, that just wouldn't be Tonbridge would it?

hallum said...

With 2000 people a day dying in Britain, it is a fairly stable industry, although needing a shake-up on prices and ethics.
At least this new shop will have a tasteful frontage befitting the 'upper' high street.

Just think ouselves lucky not to have more betting Punters, Poundlands and Pawnshops that seem to occupy so much of the lower end of town.

Tim James said...

I think 2000 would put them out of business, hallum.

Chris parker said...

I have just been directed to this blog by a friend and feel I need to comment. As a funeral director of 30 years standing in this community I do have an opinion. I also have a good deal of experience. My credentials include Director of education for a national funeral college and honorary life member of both the British institute of Funeral directors and the Society of Bereavement practitioners.
My concern is not, as you may suppose, about commercial competition, if you can't take it you shouldn't be in business is my mantra. My real and serious concern is about poor professional practice which may tarnish my business. I have spent a good deal of money over the years adapting by premises, also grade 2 listed, in a sympathetic way and which also ensures that all of our work is done behind closed doors. Wheeling someone's deceased relative over the public highway is abhorrent to me. The building in question is very small and unlikely to have space for any kind of refrigerated storage which is essential. This firm is welcome to come to our town but please please find appropriate premises and exercise best practice.
Christine Parker. MBIFD. FFIFDC MSBP Cert FP
Managing Director Abbey Funeral Services Ltd

JEP said...

What about the poor beauty salon that is situated above the premises in question (Carousel Beauty Salon) and the hairdressers either side (Sarah Mayhew and Sally Ann) and the new restuarant that is opening which had been Antonnias? We all want to see new business in Tonbridge but not to the detrement of existing small businesses that will definitely be tarnished by this new comer.

Outraged said...

It's an outrage that a funeral company should entertain opening in this premises. Chris Parker is dead right , it's terrible that twice a day children from Slade school should be exposed to the sight of coffins and bodies being wheeled about the place. Think again please whoever you are.

Tim James said...

I can't see what all the fuss is about. I remember, the primary school I went to, St Johns in Sevenoaks was right next door to Hodges the funeral director. It didn't seem to be an issue, and to my knowledge non of the kids were traumatized by it.
We're all going to die eventually, so why's it such a taboo and awful subject? Someones got to deal with it, otherwise things would get a bit messy and smelly.

Paul Bailey said...

I agree with Tim, and can't see what all the fuss is about. Also, what a load of nonsense spouted by Outraged concerning school kids being exposed to the sight of dead bodies (twice a day, no-less)!

As I said in my original comment, death is the one certainty in this life, and to pretend it doesn't occur, or that we are frightened to offend people's sensibilities over the issue, just shows what a spineless, pathetic, health & safety obssessed society we have become in recent years.

Tim James said...

Well you know what they're going to do,Paul. They'll wait till playtime, then wheel a cart loaded with fly blown corpses past the school. The cart will be pulled by a bloke in a long black overcoat and a top hat. He'll be ringing a bell and shouting. "Bring out yer dead! Git y' loved ones planted...Two for a tenner!" I can see it now.

Tonbridge blogger said...

All I can add is that I'm glad my bookshop isn't where it was for seven years in Bank Street. That sure as Hell would have been the death of my business!