Kilburn businessman Hensley Airey owner of one of the first 24-hour shops dies
- Credit: Archant
A pioneering businessman who opened one of the country’s first 24 hour off-licence and food stores in Kilburn has died aged 87.
Hensley Euton Airey, best known for selling Jamaican patties and alcohol around the clock from his shop Airey Bargain Stores in Willesden Lane, passed away from lung cancer.
Mr Airey discovered a loophole that allowed him to open all hours during the 1970s and 1980s.
The canny shop owner would close one minute before midnight and reopen at 12.01am which allowed him to adhere to the legally permitted trading hours at that time.
Queues would quickly form and grow outside the shop whilst people from all corners of London came to buy from the store.
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Mr Airey came to Britain from Jamaica in the 1950’s where he met and married his first wife Evelyn Henry with whom he had six children.
His daughter Delores Airey, 59, who went on holiday with him every year, said: “It didn’t take him long to become a husband to his first wife, father and a successful business man.
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“With the odds against him, from working in a factory, being bullied, having his packed lunch wrestled away from him by gangs on his way to work in the mornings to the banks refusing him a business loan undeterred, he set off on his own in the 1960’s to succeed in the drapery business for a few years before he diversified to a food shop entitled, Airey’s Bargain Stores.”
“His work went beyond his store as he regularly helped members of the community with funds, supported local businesses and ran a Christmas club savings scheme for his customers.
She added: “He loved travelling and was a man of great warmth, love, care and trustworthiness.
“He will be sorely missed.”
Hensley is survived by his second wife Monica, five children, six step-children, 12 grandchildren, and 14 great-grand children..
He died on February 28 and was laid to rest in Kensal Green Cemetery last month.
His family are hoping to install a plaque on the site of his shop, which closed in the early 2000s, in his memory.