In our series of articles about 40 years since the first people arrived in the western expansion we catch up with Don Cook who ran the first shop
In Spring 1976, soon after the first residents arrived in Toothill, Don Cook, now 85, started to tour the area with a trailer supplying everyday foodstuffs and necessities.
He had been running a shop on Victoria Road and saw the chance to supply the thousands of houses planned for West Swindon.
He said: “When Swindon council bought the old Wimpey site hut opposite the doctors on Dunwich Drive in 1977 I won the tender to run half of it as a shop; the other half was used as a community hall.
“I think everybody would agree the conditions were awful. There were dozens of building sites in the area and workers would come in as well as residents. Every evening I would go round the narrow aisles with a shovel and scrape out the mud.
“I don’t think people would stand for those condition nowadays.”
In 1980 the council terminated the lease and RS McColl who were going to run the convenience store at the new village centre took over.
Don went on to establish a successful wholesale stationery and Christmas cracker business which is now run by his son.
Pictured top, Don and Jan Cook. Below, the Toothill Hut Shop in 1977 or 1978