Family to run Victorian corner shop in Sheffield for new series of BBC reality show Back in Time

Back in Time for the Corner Shop
Back in Time for the Corner Shop
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A family will run an authentic Victorian corner shop as part of a BBC reality TV experiment.

Back in Time for the Corner Shop will air on BBC Two later this year, although a broadcast date has yet to be confirmed.

Family-of-five the Arderns lived and worked in a traditional 19th-century corner shop in the Meersbrook area of Sheffield last summer and experienced how the trade changed over 100 years.

Photos show transformation of Sheffield offie into Victorian corner shop Ardern & Sons
An empty former off-licence on the corner of Derbyshire Lane and Norton Lees Road was chosen to be transformed into a Victorian emporium specialising in ales, stouts and tobacco.

The show's presenter, radio DJ Sara Cox, and social historian Polly Russell visited the family to guide the shopkeepers through their new life.

The Arderns, who are descended from real Edwardian shopkeepers, will explore how the goods they sell reflect changes in both local and wider society.

Beginning in 1897, they will bake their own produce and weigh loose items such as tea, flour and sugar by hand, as well as making deliveries by horse and cart. Their shop was originally built to serve families living in around 40 nearby houses, but this radius would have expanded in later years.

They will later experience wartime rationing and the impact of the steel industry, while beginning to sell phonecards, National Lottery tickets and pop magazines in the 1980s and 90s.

They will have to navigate challenges such as competition from supermarkets to retain customers.

Corner shops had to adapt and diversify to serve the changing demographics of their catchment areas - post-war immigration to Sheffield is also covered as this would have had an influence on the business's stock.

Gender roles are also a prominent theme - the men of the family would have been the public face of the business, serving customers and weighing and measuring items, while women would have been in the kitchen, baking goods such as jams and tonics to sell.

There is an episode when present-day Meersbrook residents are invited to an Edwardian-themed party to celebrate the end of World War One food shortages, and Olympic athlete Dame Kelly Holmes makes a guest appearance to put the Arderns through a workout from the period.

Previous formats of the Back in Time concept include Back in Time for Dinner, which saw families sample home cooking across several decades.