Guernsey

Guernsey Victorian shop manager quits over adding barcodes

Elizabeth Lihou at the shop till.
Image caption Elizabeth Lihou said the shop was "one of the few old places" where visitors are able to see "how Guernsey was"

The manager of a Victorian sweet shop in Guernsey has stepped down following a dispute over efforts to put barcodes on the shop's wares.

Elizabeth Lihou, who managed the Victorian Shop and Parlour for 11 years, described the National Trust of Guernsey's (NT) decision as "so wrong".

Mrs Lihou said it was a shame to modernise the "beautiful" shop, which was "kept right through the war".

"For [the items] to become barcoded, I couldn't do it," she added.

Image caption The Guernsey National Trust said the shop will be closed for months in order to conduct a "total refurbishment"

The NT said the tourist attraction in St Peter Port would be closed for "some months" in order to conduct a "complete refurbishment".

The trust said the business could be reopened in the summer but the work might not be finished until the end of 2020.

'How Guernsey was'

Mrs Lihou, who described herself as the shop's "manageress", said her role for more than a decade had covered everything from "clearing the shop in the morning to doing the banking at the end of the week".

"I wouldn't be leaving except for the fact [the NT] have decided they wanted to have everything barcoded," she said.

"I think in a Victorian shop that is so wrong."

Image caption Mrs Lihou managed the shop for 11 years

Mrs Lihou said everyone she had given the news to, including visitors and the shop's volunteers, "felt the same".

"This is one of the few old places in town where [visitors] can see how Guernsey was," she added.

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President of the National Trust Tony Spruce said the decision to modernise its operation would not be noticeable.

Mr Spruce said the trust wanted to keep the "ethos" of the shop intact and he was "disappointed" by Mrs Lihou's decision to step down.

"The simple fact is we do need to control our stock, to know what we're selling and what we're banking," he added.

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