Shopkeepers, the Sharmas and the making of modern Britain

‘Human, accessible and informative; a nuanced exploration of part of British Asian life that has long been stereotyped’

‘One of the best books I’ve read of the immigrant experience in this country’
Daily Mail

‘Full of life, characters, gossip and all the richness of the local community’ Sir David Jason

‘A compelling, full selection box of a story’ Sanjeev Kohli

Britain is a nation of shopkeepers, and the story of corner shops is the story of who we are.

From the general stores of the first half of the 20th century (one of which was run by the father of a certain Margaret Thatcher), to the reimagined corner shops run by immigrants from India, East Africa and Eastern Europe from the 60s to the noughties, their influence has shaped the way we shop, the way we eat, and the way we understand ourselves.

Babita Sharma was raised in a corner shop in Reading, and over the counter watched a changing world, from the clientele to the products to the politics of the day. Along with the skills to perfectly mop a floor and stack a shelf, she gained a unique insight into a changing world – and an institution that, despite the creep of supermarkets, online shopping and delivery, has found a way to evolve and survive. The Corner Shop is the remarkable human history of these little institutions that have changed the course of the country.

Babita Sharma is a journalist, TV presenter and news anchor for the BBC. Presenting for BBC World News she has covered major global events, including the Trump-Kim Summit, the EU Referendum and the Rio Olympics. Babita also co-presents the BBC One series Supermarket Shopping Secrets, and her BBC Four documentary – Booze, Beans & Bhajis – was widely praised. The daughter of two shopkeepers, Babita is married and lives in London.

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