Remembering Santa’s Grotto in Nuneaton’s former Co-op shop

Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 25 December 2020

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Today marks the second Christmas that The Hinckley Free Press have celebrated with you – our readers.

The entrance to Santa’s Grotto – a very festive sight seen by many (Supplied: Nuneaton Memories for The Hinckley Free Press)

As we’re all feeling in the festive spirit and wanting to spread some Christmas cheer, we have decided to share some Christmas nostalgia from the nearby town of Nuneaton, when the ‘Santa’s Grotto’ event was held in Nuneaton’s now-demolished Co-operative department store.

The flagship Nuneaton department store traded for a whopping impressive grand total of 130 years, before officially closing their doors for good on Tuesday 21 June 2016, just four years ago.

Residents used to use the front entrance on Queens Road, and through the rear entrance on Abbey Street.

The Queens Road entrance (Google Street View)
The Abbey Street entrance (Google Street View)

The very last ‘Santa’s Grotto’ event was held upstairs in its usual space, near the toy department, for the last time in December 2015 five years ago.

A few town residents commented on their experiences of visiting over the many years that the store traded.

Nuneaton resident, David Wright, said: “There were always big queues.

“I remember watching Santa Claus’ sack of toys and presents get smaller, hoping that I got there in time before they had all gone.”

Local historian, Mark Palmer, said: “Many have happy memories of visiting Santa at the Co-op.

“It is missed much by lots of people, but those who had visited have the memory forever.”

Even one of our site reporters, Vaughan Moore, recalls his memories of his visits to the Grotto well.

Vaughan Moore, said: “I remember visiting the Co-op department store each December.

“The Grotto was on the same floor as the toy department, and it was very festive.

“There was a friendly ‘Santa’ – the same one for many years I believe, and once you had told Santa what you want for Christmas and met him, you could pick a toy.”

We have put together an image gallery of what Santa’s Grotto used to look like in Nuneaton’s now-demolished Co-operative department store in Abbey Street.

These shared photographs are the courtesy of the Nuneaton Memories Facebook nostalgia group.

Image gallery

The walkway to meet Father Christmas himself (Supplied: Nuneaton Memories to The Hinckley Free Press)
Santa surrounded by his gifts (Supplied: Nuneaton Memories to The Hinckley Free Press)
Santa near his Christmas stockings (Supplied: Nuneaton Memories to The Hinckley Free Press)

Here at The Hinckley Free Press we wish all of our readers a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Leave a Reply