The Dovehouse parade of shops, where Dovehouse Lane meets the Warwick Rd in Solihull, may be the most complete parade of independent businesses in the whole city. From babywear, drycleaners, chemist, rugs, chip-shop, Chinese takeaway and Indian restaurant to hairdressers, off-license, boutiques and funeral directors, all of life’s necessities are covered. There’s even a bakery, Sonya’s Bakehouse, but to be honest I don’t much like the bread there. For an independent bakery they don’t half make their bread taste bland and slightly mass-produced. They’re going strong though so their customers must be happy. Maybe bland, safe bread suits the Solihull palate!

The real wonder of this packed parade is that there is an actual fishmonger in amongst it. Yes a fishmonger, you remember those, they’re like a butcher but they sell fish. Vickerstaff fishmonger is tucked into the back of Cornucopia which is an amalgamation of three businesses. The front of the shop is split between a greengrocer/florist (the Cornucopia bit) and Dovehouse Butchers (nice hogroast at the weekends). Vickerstaff never seems to have much fish on display, maybe a few pairs of kipper or some salmon steaks. But it’s one of those places where with some notice they can get you anything you want. So make friends with them because they may be the last fishmonger outside of the Indoor Market (and supermarkets of course). At the time of writing I believe it’s the only one out there, and you thought high street butchers were becoming a rarity.

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