A pioneer of supermarket shopping in Huddersfield, Edward Lodge, has died aged 86.
Along with his brothers, he transformed the greengrocery business founded by his father Albert and uncle Frank Lodge in 1921 into one of Huddersfield’s best-known retailers with supermarkets across the town.
He was also a successful motorcyle racer in his 20s and 30s and after retiring from Lodges spent time at Earnshaws Motorcycles, which he bought in 1980, and which is still run by members of the family today.
Edward Lodge was born in 1931 at Canal Street, off Leeds Road, the son of Albert and Evelyn Lodge. Edward, who had three brothers, Brian, Joe and Ian and a sister, Betty, grew up in Crosland Moor and gained a bursary to study at Holme Valley Grammar School.
After leaving school and completing national service with the RAF, he worked at David Brown as a draughtsman before opening a greengrocer’s at Long Lane, Dalton in 1959. In the early 1960s, he joined F and A E Lodge, which had grown from a single market stall in Marsden to more than 30 shops, mainly in market halls in West Yorkshire and Lancashire. All four brothers ran the business with Edward becoming chairman.
Following a fact-finding mission to the USA to look at the latest retail phenomenon – supermarkets – with Ian, the brothers decided to copy it on a smaller scale, opening their first supermarket in a converted cinema in Marsh. It was quickly followed by another converted cinema at Waterloo.
By this time, most of the market hall shops had closed – the last ones being two in the old Huddersfield market hall and a shop in The Shambles. More supermarkets and larger shops were opened at Meltham, John William Street in the town centre, Crosland Moor, Lepton, Darwen, Lancashire, and finally Honley and Holmfirth in 1975.
In the late 1960s, the Clough Mill site at Birkby was bought with plans for a 90,000 sq ft hypermarket. Plans were passed, but subsequent objections delayed its opening until 1978 – when it was the largest privately-owned supermarket in the UK. The store was sold to Asda in 1980, allowing Lodges to focus on the remaining stores, which were sold in 1991 to a management buy-out team for more than £5m.
Edward’s son Martyn said: “In the 1970s, the company was at the forefront of the retail revolution that was sweeping through food retail business. Indeed, Ken Morrison visited our house on several occasions and dad visited him. They were nicer times when competition wasn’t so cut-throat.”
Edward retired in 1991, although he spent time at Earnshaws motorcycles afterwards.
In his youth, Edward and his brothers reared budgerigars and there was a huge aviary at the house at Crosland Moor.
In his late 20s to early 30s, he raced 125cc Montesa and MV Augusta motorcycles with his brother Ian. Edward’s sons and three of his grandsons also raced with son Jamie scoring points at a world championship round in Italy and grandson James winning two 125cc British championships.
In the 1960s, Edward was a member of Huddersfield Pendragon Round Table and its chairman in 1965. He also got his private pilot’s licence, flying out of the Yorkshire Aero Club at Yeadon. He was a member at both Crosland Heath and Woodsome Hall golf clubs. For almost 50 years, he took two trips a year salmon fishing on the river Devron in Banff, Scotland.
In the 1970s, he was invited onto the board of Huddersfield Town AFC. Said Martyn: “He enjoyed many away trips with the team and fellow directors. It was fitting that he saw Town play in the Premier League just before he died.”
Edward Lodge, who lived at Honley, leaves a wife, Audrey, sons Martyn, Jeremy, Jason and Jamie and seven grandchildren.
A funeral service and interment will take place at 11am on Monday, October 9, at St George’s Church, Brockholes.