At the entrance to the Grove Centre in Newland Street there once stood one of the most interesting 18th-century buildings in the town. It was a three-storey red-brick building with a parapet wall and tiled double ridge roof built as a shop. The ground floor retained a very fine Georgian bow shop front, with two bay windows at first floor level.
In 1963 a planning application by J E Cohen (Tesco) to redevelop the premises to become a supermarket was approved. The Witham Town Clerk reported that the architects had been approached by the curator of the Colchester Museum who said he would welcome the opportunity to have this shop front in the Museum. This was agreed. However, the shop front never turned up at the museum and it has not been possible to find out what happened to it. In 1970 the house and shop were demolished and a new store built for Tesco. Fifteen years later this store was in turn demolished to make way for the entrance to the new Grove Centre.
It was decided that access to the new Grove Centre from the High Street would be via a pedestrian arcade through the site of that original Tesco store, which would then open out into a precinct with 14 shops and a new Tesco store at the far end. Building work on this new £8 million shopping centre was launched on Monday June 16th 1986 by Councillor Alan Millam, Chairman of Braintree District Council, who performed the traditional ceremony of cutting the first sod. The development was completed in 1988.
The photograph below shows the original Georgian shop on Newland Street.