Monday, 1 July 2013

Corrie A-Z: K is for Kabin

Of all Corrie scenes, the Kabin ones top the lot for me – most are humorous and usually involve residents gossiping. And of course it’s where my favourite character Rita works and used to own.

This year, the Kabin as we know it celebrates its ruby anniversary. So a late happy birthday! Len Fairclough bought the newsagents from Walter Biddulph in 1973. Originally called Biddulph’s, it consisted of the main shop, a lending library and a café and was situated on Rosamund Street. Upon becoming owner, Len re-christened it The Kabin and installed his girlfriend Rita Littlewood as manageress, with a little flat above the shop for her. And for 40 years, Rita and the Kabin have been inseparable – only Betty’s 42 years stint as Rovers barmaid beats Rita’s long tenure behind the counter.
When Rita accepted her managerial post, she insisted on having an assistant to lighten the load. Despite an interview marred with hiccups, dithering and timid spinster Mavis Riley was taken on. Rita and Mavis would work together for 24 years. Rita had married Len in 1977 and when Len was killed in a car crash in 1983, Rita took over the ownership of the business.

Over the years, the ‘original’ Kabin saw many changes. The café closed in 1978 when baker Joe Dawson opened a café next door (that was later bought by Jim Sedgewick in 1980 and renamed Jim’s Café) and the lending library in time turned into a record library and then a video library which was run by Rita’s boyfriend Alan Bradley in the late 1980s.
In 1990, sensing it was time for a change Rita re-located the business to new premises on Coronation Street and moved into the flat above the shop. Now, the Kabin was central to street life and wasn’t in ‘nowhere land’ as ex-producer David Liddiment once said. The shop was still the same as Rita and Mavis were still behind the counter. The only difference was there was more floor space and they could sell more stock. During its early years, the ‘new’ Kabin was often robbed and Rita felt very vulnerable. A knight in shining armour came in the form of sweet salesman Ted Sullivan who Rita soon married but the marriage ended shortly due to Ted having an incurable brain tumour.
Mavis left her assistant post in 1997 when she became widowed and moved to the Lake District. Rita struggled alone in the shop and hired various assistants like Leanne Battersby, Blanche Hunt and Sharon Gaskell (who briefly owned the Kabin!).

Rita finally found her perfect assistant in the shape of nosy Norris Cole and they have now worked together for over 12 years. Like Mavis before him, Norris often gets on Rita’s wick but they care deeply about each other, with Norris even proposing marriage in 2007 – Rita gently declined. I don’t think Norris has ever forgiven her for that! In 2006, Rita made Norris a partner in the shop and in 2009 she sold the business to him when she decided to retire and went on a world cruise. But when she returned, she admitted that retirement wasn’t for  her and she’s returned to be behind the counter but as Norris’ assistant. But she still rules the roost.

The Kabin was refurbished in 2000 and a sub-post office was installed but rarely got used. When the shop was damaged in the tram crash in 2010 the post office sign was removed and the Kabin returned to just being a newsagents and tobacconists.

Over the years, many people have done stints behind the counter including Lucille Hewitt, Deirdre Langton, Emily Bishop, Ken Barlow, Audrey Roberts, Judy Mallett, Derek Wilton, Sally Webster, Tina McIntyre, Mary Taylor and Dennis Tanner. Paperboys have included Chesney Brown, Keith Appleyard and Ramsay Clegg.
Who’s your favourite Kabin double act? Rita and Mavis or Rita and Norris? Vote below!

And if you haven't yet, you can vote for your favourite gossip here. Voting closes at midnight.

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njblas said...

Blanche's short stint 'assisting' Rita was hilarious!!

Anonymous said...

My favourite post!! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Great post

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