Lee High Road’s Lost Baptist Chapel

Over the years Running Past has covered many of the places of worship around Lee, Hither Green and Blackheath that have been lost, mostly due to World War Two damage.  These include Christ Church on Lee Park, Holy Trinity on Glenton Road, the Methodist Chapel on Hither Green Lane, the original Church of the Good Shepherd on Handen Road, as well as the Methodist Chapel in Blackheath Village and St Andrew’s in Vanburgh Park. We turn our attention to another of these, a Baptist Chapel that stood on the corner of Lee High Road and Eastdown Park

It was probably the first building on the site, while the Chapel predated the first Ordnance Survey maps by a decade, it was fields when John Rocque surveyed the 10 miles around London for his 1746 published map.

The area was rapidly developing following the arrival of the railway in Lewisham in 1849, large houses had already been developed in the narrow band between the Quaggy and Lee High Road from the second decade of the century; roads such as Marlborough (now Mercator) and Blessington were developed in the 1850s with other developments to the north of Lee High Road closer to Blackheath station.

The burgeoning population needed places of worship, St Margaret’s at the Belmont Hill/Brandram Road junction had been rebuilt in the 1840s and Christ Church on Lee Park had been carved out of the St Margaret’s in 1854.  It is not surprising then that other denominations wanted to ensure that those who had moved to the new suburbia had churches and chapels that met their spiritual needs.

The Baptist chapel at the corner of Lee High Road and Eastdown Park was probably the first in the area, predating the one built on the College Park Estate on Clarendon Rise by over a decade and the ‘tin’ tabernacle on what is now Baring Road by over 20 years.  It was completed in November 1854 (1).

The most important name in its early history was Robert Humphrey Marten who was the Minister there for almost 30 years – not quite as long as the 44 years of James Waite Davies at Baring Road, but an impressive tenure nonetheless.  Marten was born in London but prior to his arrival in Lee had been a Minister in Abingdon in Oxfordshire, where he was in 1851.

Despite being based in Abingdon, it appears that Marten seems to have been involved in the initial setting up of the chapel, including the provision of a pulpit before being persuaded to become Minister, starting his ministry there in November 1855 (2).

For most of his time in what was then referred to as Lee, he lived with his family at 53 Blessington Road.  He is listed on the Electoral Register there from 1859.  In the 1881 census he was there with his wife Rachel, two adult daughters who were both described as being a ‘gentlewoman’, plus two servants.   The house was destroyed in one of the V-1 attacks on what is now the Mercator Estate.  He was to die there in October 1885, aged 65 (3), leaving an estate of £6055, which was substantial for the time.

His successor was probably Tom Foston, who was appointed minister by 1885 and lived at 41 Blessington Road when the census enumerators called in 1891; he didn’t stay as long as he predecessor, he resigned in August 1893 (4) and was conducting his ministry in Derbyshire by the 1901 census.  The chapel is pictured from this era from slightly higher up Lee High Road with the Rose of Lee (now Dirty South) on the left and Manor Park Parade on the right, from around that time.

There is nothing obvious on-line about the history of the chapel in the early part of the 20th century.  The chapel was hit in 1941 during the Blitz and while not completely destroyed, the London County Council bomb damage maps coloured it purple – ‘damaged beyond repair’ (5).  The Sunday School building behind, previously referred to as a lecture room, seems to have been left intact.

Brick shortages after World War Two meant that, in terms of priorities, the secular needs of housing came before religious buildings. The only one of the churches destroyed locally that was rebuilt was the Church of the Good Shepherd on Handen Road, but work there wasn’t completed until 1957, when the church was re-consecrated.

It isn’t clear what happened to the congregation, there was still the Sunday School at the rear that they could have used, but in all likelihood the congregation probably dissipated, perhaps some joined the Baptist Church on Clarendon Rise with others heading to the South Lee Tabernacle. In any case, non-conformist groups, such as Baptists, were suffering a steady decline in numbers nationally in the 20th century from 2 million to 1.7 million in 1949, so maybe some contraction in the number of chapels was inevitable anyway.

As for the site, it seems to have remained empty until the early 1960s when it was taken over (and numbered 152a) by Fry’s presumably as the garage and ‘shop front’ for servicing and parts.  Fry’s main showrooms were a little further down Lee High Road into Lewisham – we’ll cover Fry’s at some stage in the future.

Fry’s were to remain there until around 1985 when the site was bought by Penfold’s Vauxhall dealership for their servicing and parts operation.  They had been previously been based at what is now the Sainsbury’s site on Burnt Ash Road.

Penfold’s continued to trade there until around 2015 when the business closed and was wound up, it is pictured above from 2008 via Google Streetview.  A planning application was approved in 2018 for a 5 storey building with 17 flats and commercial space below.  However, the site currently remains boarded up with no progress having been made, and For Sale boards are up.

Notes

  1. Kentish Mercury 24 November 1855
  2. ibid
  3. Kentish Mercury 30 October 1885
  4. Kentish Mercury 25 August 1893
  5. Laurence Ward (2015) The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps 1939-1945 p119

Credits

  • The postcard of the chapel is via eBay from April 2016 and the one including Manor Park Parade from the same source in October 2019;
  • The 2008 photograph is via Google Streetview;
  • The Kelly’s Directory data was accessed via Lewisham Archives; and
  • Census, electoral register and related data comes from Find My Past (subscription required).

VE Day in Lee and Hither Green

Friday 8 May 2020 sees the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe, VE, Day and would have been celebrated both locally and nationally if these were normal times – it was to be one of the themes of the 2020 Hither Green Festival – maybe this will be re-visited later in the year.  We’ll look at what happened that day in 1945 with a local perspective.

After Berlin was surrounded by Allied forces and Hitler committed suicide on 30 April 1945, the end of the war was quite rapid.  A week later, on 7 May 1945 Germany accepted an unconditional surrender of German Forces in most of the areas that they still occupied in the Netherlands and northwest Germany and the surrender came into effect the following day.  A further surrender document was signed with the Russians on 8 May.

Running Past has covered many of the areas of the Home Front in recent months (for the 70th anniversary of war breaking out); the winding down of the Home Front was rapid in early May – public air raid shelters were closed down, as was the air raid warning system and plans were made for the return of evacuee children and mothers by the end of May (1).

Over a million people took to the streets on 8 May in celebration throughout Great Britain to mark the end of the European part of the war.  Many massed in central London, particularly in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace as featured in the video footage (the sound levels are a bit variable, so beware!)

Many celebrated locally though; South Park Crescent (above and below) had been built as part of the Verdant Lane estate in the early 1930s and was the scene of a large party.  No doubt the celebrations were tempered there though by memories of 5 children from there and neighbouring streets who were amongst 38 children and 5 teachers who died at Sandhurst Road School.  There had also been a V-1 flying bomb that hit the junction of South Park and Further Green Road less than a year before at 16:48 on 12 July 1944 which injured 15 (3) –  several houses were destroyed and lots damaged – perhaps including the roofs of those pictured below).

In and around Hither Green, there were several other street parties including ones in The Woodlands and neighbouring Blashford Street.

Lee too saw several street parties, mainly in the working class streets.  Taunton Road had seen a lot of damage in the Blitz with several lives lost.  There was a posed picture probably taken close to the park entrance, the road in the background is Wantage Road.

Just around the corner in Brightfield Road (below) there was another street party in the part of the street that was built by John Pound and had originally been called Robertson Street.  As can be seen from the photograph, the party wasn’t  held there until early June 1945. 

Brightfield Road had seen some damage from the V-1 flying bomb that hit the junction of Lenham and Lampmead Roads.  In addition, there was Blitz damage to houses close to the bridge over the Quaggy, with several destroyed and several seriously damaged; along with three houses on the southern side of the bend which were damaged beyond repair (3).  The houses destroyed in Brightfield Road were never rebuilt, a new entrance to Manor House Gardens was created in their stead and those damaged beyond repair suffered a similar fate – they were to become an entrance to, what became after the war, Northbrook School and is now Holy Trinity

The street scene is now markedly different – the attractive bank buildings at the end of the street were lost after the war either to Penfold’s or Sainsbury’s expansion – more on the building another day, as there is an interesting story behind it.

While there were dozens of parties, as Lewis Blake noted, ‘for all the public display, it may be assumed that a majority of people stayed quietly at home.’ (4)

In addition to the celebration of the end of hostilities, there will have been a relief that bombing and rocket attacks were over – roads like Springbank, Taunton and Aislibie Roads had been badly affected by the Blitz, with V-1s hitting lots of local streets – including Nightingale Grove, (pictured below) Fernbrook Road, between Springbank and Wellmeadow Roads along with Leahurst Road, and as we’ve mentioned the Lenham/Lampmead junction.

A couple of days after VE Day, Lewisham was visited by the King and Queen who stopped in a packed town centre to survey the damage caused by the V-1 flying bomb from 10 months before (it’s at about 4:10 into the film, which is sadly silent).

Other than the rebuilding which was to continue for the best part of 20 years, the other element of wartime privations that was to linger on for almost another decade was rationing, which didn’t officially end for meat until 1954.

If you have personal or family local VE Day memories, please do post them either in the Facebook thread you reached this post from or in the comments below, if you haven’t commented here before, it may take a few hours for your comment to be approved.  I will hopefully add some of the comments into the main post.

In early May 2020 we don’t have the potential for street parties, but oddly, despite the lock down, we are probably contacting and seeing more of our neighbours than any of the generations since the end of World War Two. Every Thursday evening with the #ClapforCareWorkers most of our small street come out to clap and bang pots and pans; if we are typical, people often stay out in the street to chat, keeping social distancing, of course.  Neighbours are checking in with each other by phone with shopping bought for those having to stay at home.  Perhaps, for now at least, this is the World War Two type spirit we should embrace and celebrate, the parties will have to wait.

Notes

  1. Lewis Blake (1995) How We Went To War – Deptford & Lewisham 1939 -1945 p62
  2. From ARP Logs held at Lewisham Archives
  3. Laurence Ward (2015) The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps 1939-1945 p119
  4. Blake, op cit p66

Credits and Thanks

  • Thank you to Andy Wakeman and Clive Andrews for allowing the use of their family photographs of the South Park Road party – the photographs remain their families’ copyright;
  • The photgrpahs of Brightfield Road and Taunton Road are part of the collection of the Lewisham Archives, they are used with their permission and remain their copyright;
  • The photograph of the destruction on Nightingale Grove is from the collection of the Imperial War Museum – it is used here on a Non-Commercial Licence

2 – 30 Burnt Ash Road – the Story of a Shopping Parade Part 2

Last week’s post looked at the evolution of the shopping parade, which now forms Sainsbury’s frontage onto Burnt Ash Road, from fields to upmarket housing and what seemed to be a thriving shopping parade at the outbreak of World Ward 1.

We turn now to the time after World War 1, looking how the parade changed. While some of the businesses had expanded, there appear to have been some ‘footprint changes’ indicating rebuilding – this was most noticeable with George Gooding’s large drapery. This was probably post 1919 but the timing of Ordnance Survey map releases (1863, 1895 and 1948)  makes it difficult to be absolutely certain.

We’ll look at the individual shops before turning to Penfold’s and then Sainsbury’s who have dominated this part of Burnt Ash Road for 60 years. The numbering used will be that that applied until the 1970s, what was a hall on the corner with Lee High Road was redeveloped around 1940 as Burnt Ash Parade, became 2 to 10 in 1975.

2-4 Burnt Ash Road

Before World War 1, 2-6 had been the home to William Brown’s coal and corn selling business. 2 and 4 seem to have been down the still remaining alley and 6, the first of the parade proper. The corn element disappeared with the rise of the internal combustion engine. The new occupants were G & F Burton, mineral water manufacturers – presumably some sort of carbonated drinks. They were to remain until the mid-1930s when Groom and Fyson took over the business. The shop was empty in 1950 and had been taken over by Penfold’s by 1960.

6 Burnt Ash Road

As noted in relation to 2-4, William Brown had run a coal business at 2-6; he’d been one of the first tenants of the Parade. The coal element was taken over by Paul Edward during World War 1.

Around 1930, the Post Office that had been based at 10 since the 1880s, moved to number 6. It was run by Ernest Russell who combined it with being a confectioner. It remained a Post Office into the 1950s before becoming the second phase of Penfold’s takeover of the parade.

8 Burnt Ash Road

Before World War 1, John Devenish was running a fruit shop, he seems to have gone into partnership with Charles Highgate by 1920. Highgate may well have had no experience in the business, there was a man of the same name listed in the 1911 census as a general labourer over the road. However, he was on his own by 1925 as Devenish moved on; he was living in Croydon carrying out the same trade in the 1939 Register.

Highgate didn’t last long on his own, with Thomas McLean running the business by 1930. The descendants of George Gooding, the drapers centred at 16, tried their hand at being a fruiterer by 1935, although the name had disappeared by 1940 with Burnt Ash Fruit Stores taking over. It remained until around 1950 before becoming part of the Penfold’s plot.

10 Burnt Ash Road

The name Teesdale (sometimes Teasdale) Walbank had been over the Sub-Post Office since around 1905 and despite his death in 1913, it remained until the late 1920s. With the demise of the name came to move of the Post Office to 6 Burnt Ash Road.

The new occupants were stationers and newsagents, the Cuttings,Nellie and William. Initially it was in William’s name, but it continued in Nellie’s after he died, she was living in Middle Park Avenue in Eltham in 1939. Daisy May Byles had taken over by the end of the War followed by John Crawthorn in 1950. It was then empty before being taken over in the first expansion of Penfolds by 1960.

12-18 Burnt Ash Road

By the time World War 1 broke out, the drapery empire of George Gooding had straddled four shops along with a hosier at 28 (it is pictured above, probably from around 1905). George died in 1917 but the business continued in his name, probably run by his brother William and his widow Jessie who married in 1924.

At some point it seems that the units may have been rebuilt, the footprint was very different in 1948 to what it had been at the beginning of the century.

While Jessie lived on until 1958, William died in 1933 and it seems that this may have triggered the winding up of the business. There was a ladies’ outfitter, Jancy, using part of the premises, a contractor using another part of it in 1940 and it was referred to as Burnt Ash Hall in 1945. By 1950 Penfold’s had moved in.

20 Burnt Ash Road

As the Parade came out of World War 1, 20 was a bakers run by Frederick Andrew, who hailed from St Neot’s and his wife, Georgina. Frederick seems to have retired by the late 1920s with his wife taking over the bakery.

Frederick died in 1937, and in 1939 sons Osborne (45), Frederick (41) and Stanley (39) were all there assisting Georgina in 1939, all listed as ‘Baker and Pastry Cook.’ The family were unusual in that they remained living behind the shop. Georgina died in 1955, after which the shop became part of the empire of Penfold’s. The Andrew name had been above the window of number 20 for well over 50 years.

22 Burnt Ash Road

William Whittle who had been running the shop as a boot makers at the end of World War 1 and was to remain until around 1925.  A. Head & Co took over the business which was still going when war broke out again. While the rest of the parade just appears to have suffered from general blast damage which didn’t prevent trading for any lengthy period, 22 seems to have fared worse and was empty in 1945.

When it reopened around 1950, it was as Carpenters a furniture dealer. The shop was lost to the expansion of Penfolds around 1960.

The shop front seems to have been split in 1925 by William Whittle, with George Galloway taking over 22a as a tobacconist. It continued as the same type of business until it was damaged in the Blitz, under the names of Arthur Harwood and then the appropriately named for the location, Burnt Ash Cigar Stores.

24-26 Burnt Ash Road

The former butcher’s shop at 26 was empty in 1920 but the grocers, Frederick Roberts, whose name had been over the door at 24 since the mid-1890s expanded into the empty shop. As noted in the first post on the parade, Frederick Roberts proved difficult to track down through census and related information. The name was to remain until the 1950s when it became an off licence, initially trading as Theydon & Tresanton and then Bentfield Stores until around 1965. The shop was either empty or got subsumed into the expanding Penfold’s after that.

28 Burnt Ash Road

The shop came out of World War 1 still an outpost of George Gooding – a hosier linked to the drapers centred around number 16. This part of the business was sold as a going concern around 1925 to Mann and Dodwell.

By the outbreak of World War 2 it was a men’s outfitter William Morley Cheesewright, like many clothes shops it probably struggled with rationing and had closed by 1945, with the shop empty. The new business from 1950 was a women’s clothing shop, Phyllis which was to become Elizabeth Manion a few years later. It was a business that continued until the mid-1970s, presumably lost to the final expansion of Penfold’s.

30 Burnt Ash Road

Edwards and Co., a chain of dairy shops with a base at Burnt Ash Farm had been running the business on the corner of Taunton Road since before World War 1 broke out (it is pictured above, from a decade or so earlier) they were to continue until around 1927 when United Dairies bought the farm. They were to remain there into World War 2, although the shop was empty in 1945.

A new business arrived by 1950 – the cycle dealer F A Lycett and Co.  A cycle shop run by Francis Lycett had been operating for several decades on Lee Road; Francis had died in 1950, but the business continued in his name, perhaps run by his son Albert or one of his nephews. It was last mentioned in Kelly’s Directories in the mid-1970s, presumably pedal power was lost to the expansion of the empire of internal combustion. It is to Penfolds that we now turn.

Penfold’s Showrooms

Penfold’s is a name that has cropped up a few times over the years, in relation to sites at 36 Old Road, the current site of the stunning Hindu Temple and the former cinema on Lee High Road that they used for showrooms. At some stage we’ll do a post on Penfold’s, but for now we’ll look at their showrooms.

Around 1950 they took over 12-18 Burnt Ash Road from George Gooding, presumably as a showroom. At around the same time they acquired the site behind at 406-14 Lee High Road, presumably for servicing and repairs. It had been used by a number of garages and haulage companies, latterly Falconers Transport from the end of World War 2; but regular readers of Running Past May recall that it was a base for the builders W J Scudamore earlier in the century.

By 1960 most of the rest of the parade had been acquired up to and including 22 Burnt Ash Road and the site was redeveloped.  The remaining shops were acquired but seem not to have been demolished – the former dairy and cycle shop at 30 was used as storage.  Latterly, at least, they sold Vauxhall and Bedford vehicles – the site is pictured above, probably from the late 1970s or early 1980s (the variant of the VW Polo driving past was on sale from 1979).

Sainsbury’s

The site was sold to Sainsburys in 1985, closing to the public in February and Penfold’s business was dispersed around the neighbourhood (more on that another day) with separate sites for servicing, sales and crash repairs .  It wasn’t the first Sainsbury’s shop at Lee Green, there had been a grocery at 145 Lee Road (between the two current entrance to Osborn Terrace) from around the outbreak of World War 1 until the early 1960s.  Sainsbury’s acquired a lot of neighbouring buildings – including some very attractive bank buildings on the corner of Brightfield Road and Lee High Road, along with the Pullman Cinema.  Planning permission was for the redevelopment was granted in July 1985, where the attractive shopping parade of the Victorian period had been a brick wall topped with railings was built.

The new shop opened in 1987 (pictured above soon after), it had been expected that additional shopping footfall from Sainsbury’s would have a positive knock on effect on the Leegate Centre.  Alas, this has not been the case and Leegate has been badged the ‘worst in the country’ as footfall fell and shops closed – we’ll return to Leegate at some point.

The ‘story’ of the parade has been pieced together using Kelly’s Directories held by Southwark & Lewisham Archives – generally looking at every 5th year since the parade opened for business from 1884.

Credits

  • The black and white pictures of the parade and the 1970s car showrooms are from the collection of Lewisham Archives, they are used with their permission and remain their copyright
  • The Kelly’s Directory data was accessed via a combination of Lewisham and Southwark Archives
  • The picture from the Leegate Centre looking over Sainsburys is from the fascinating Sainsburys Archive, and remains their copyright.
  • Census and related data comes from Find My Past (subscription required)
  • The Ordnance Survey maps come from the collection of the National Library of Scotland on a Creative Commons and are from 1863, 1895 and 1948

2 – 30 Burnt Ash Road – the Story of a Shopping Parade Part 1

When we looked at Lee Manor Farm a few months ago, there was a pattern of small fields edging Burnt Ash Road – pictured below (Lee Green is in the bottom right hand corner).  The northern most of these is now occupied by Sainsbury’s, which is the latest in a series of retail establishments.  A two part blog post explores the changes, the first one takes us from the farm that Thomas Postans knew in 1843 to the end of World War 1.

The first non-rural occupants of the site was housing known as Thornhill Grove which was probably built in the late 1850s or very early 1860s. They were sat back from the main road ( as the left map below shows), with a gap for the Taunton Road that was to come.   In 1861 the occupants of the first five houses were a senior Court Clerk, a bookseller, a household of siblings between 17 and 27, perhaps parents had recently died, along with two builders, one of which was retired.  Perhaps it was one of them, either George Gates or William Bond, who had built the houses.

The houses seem to have been very short-lived in their original form, as they seem to have been altered and extended into shops between the late 1870s and early 1880s. It is clear that some of the new shops were occupied when the census enumerators called in 1881, but there was no numbering and the shops were referred to by their trades. Several shops were referred to by there previous house names in 1881.

1-14 Thornhill Grove on what was then called Burnt Ash Lane was almost entirely occupied when the 1884 Kelly’s Directory was compiled, presumably during 1883. The change to 2- 30 Burnt Ash Road came a few years later and to avoid confusion I’ll refer to the shops by this variant.

 

2 – 6 Burnt Ash Road

William Brown from Rotherhithe was listed at the first shop, merely referred to as ‘Fruiterer’ in 1881, with his wife Anne who hailed from Montgomeryshire, two of his adult children helped in the shop. It is not clear how many of the shop units that Brown had in 1881, but by the 1884 Kelly’s Directory he was running a business that included the strange bedfellows of selling coal, corn (and presumably oats for horses) as well as fruit. 2 and 4 seem to have been down the still remaining alley and 6, the first of the parade proper.

By 1891 the family was living over the road at 23 Burnt Ash Road, now with a servant; the accommodation attached to the shop was home to Charles Barlow and Alfred Lock – car men, drivers of horse and carts for the corn business – living at 2 and 4 respectively, with 6 empty when the census enumerators called.

William had retired by 1901, but his name was still above the door and his son Arthur (1867) was managing the business, although they had dropped the fruit selling. The name continued at the business and address until around the outbreak of World War One. It isn’t clear what happened to the family after 1901 but any business based around selling oats was going to go into decline with the rise of motorised transport. Lots of local supply outlets such as Thomas Tilling stables has all but disappeared by the end of the war.

8 Burnt Ash Road

In the 1881 census, there was a grocers shop, probably based at what was to become number 8. It was run by Albert Care who was a local lad. It didn’t seem to last long as it appeared to be vacant in 1884.

It seems to have been briefly taken on as an extension to William Brown’s empire by 1888, but by 1894 it had switched to being an extension to the smaller Martin empire based at the Post Office at number 10. The shop type that it was used for was the original trade of William Brown – a fruiterer, something that Brown had given up on by this stage.

More on Martin Martin when we turn to the Post Office, but the fruiterer was to stay in his name until around 1900. It was taken over by then by John Devenish, who appropriately came from Devon, and was to run the business into the 1920s. Like many on the parade he didn’t use the accommodation behind the shop, and like several of the others lived in large houses over the road, Devenish was at 21 in 1911 with wife, Elizabeth, a young son and a servant.

Devenish had a run in with the law in 1903 after being seen mistreating his delivery horse by kicking it Effingham Road. He was fined £1 with 7/- costs, or 14 days hard labour (1).

10 Burnt Ash Road

A Post Office was one the first retail outlets on the parade – run by Martin James Martin, who hailed from Woolwich, although he was away on census night in 1881 at what was to become number 10 was his wife, daughter, a visitor and a servant. The Martins were still living behind the shop in 1891. The role was a varied one, as well as the Post Office, it was a stationers and Registrar of Births and Deaths.

It seems that Martin Martin focussed on the later role, perhaps taking it on for the Borough of Lewisham and was listed at 2 Effingham Road in 1901 and 1911 as Registrar Of Births And Deaths, with seven children and a servant, along with his wife, Emily.

The new Sub-Postmaster was 1901 another man whose name suggested a geographical connection – Teesdale (sometimes referred to as Teasdale) Walbank – from Bingley in Yorkshire who was 61 in 1901; with him were his family which included his wife, Maria and 4 grown up daughters who assisted at the post office. He was from a family of weavers but unlike the rest of his siblings had not followed that line of work and had become a teacher in Bingley (1861), spending time and increasing the size of his family in Sedgefield (1871), Nenthead in Cumbria (1878) and near Southport (1881). It is not clear why he changed profession or moved to Lee around 1899, the first time he appeared on the electoral register).

Walbank died in May 1913 and was buried at Hither Green cemetery although his name lived on above shop until 1920s.

12 Burnt Ash Road

Samuel Brunning, a boot maker from Suffolk, seems to have lived in one the houses of Thornhill Grove before the shops were built, he and wife wife Mahala were listed in the censuses of 1871 and 1881 at a property described as Eagle Cottage. He is listed at 12 in the 1884 Kelly’s, where he was to remain until the late 1890s, although by that stage Samuel had been widowed and remarried.

Samuel had gone by the turn of the century and the new occupant was the draper, George Gooding who was expanding his business from number 16. We’ll cover him there, and it was a business that was present until around 1935.

14 Burnt Ash Road

Number 14’s history is a relatively short one as it was to become part of the Gooding ‘empire’ at 16; the first tenant in 1884 seems to have been George Lambley, a hairdresser from Gloucestershire. He’d been living in Lee since at least the 1870s, carrying out his trade in Lee High Road in 1881. The business had changed by the early 1890s and was a chemist, Frost and Harrison before being taken over by the Goodings around 1905.

16 Burnt Ash Road

There had been a milliner, Alfred Tyler, at 5 Thornhill Grove in 1881; he is not listed at any of the shops on the parade in 1884, so it may have been a business that was lost in the redevelopment for houses to shops. By 1884, 16 Burnt Ash Road was run by George Gooding who hailed from Debenham, near Stowmarket in Suffolk and was a Draper and was around 22. It was a business that seemed to thrive and George and his wife Jessie (32) George were doing well enough to be able to employ a couple of servants.

By 1894 the business had expanded into 18, the first of what were to be three expansions into adjacent properties. By 1901, they were living over the road at 21 in 1901, with the housing above/behind the shop empty or more likely being used for stock and by 1911 had moved to the still suburban Grove Park. George died in 1917 but the business continued in his name, probably run by his brother, William.  The latter had been living with the family in Grove Park in 1911, he was to marry George’s widow, Jessie, in 1924.

18 Burnt Ash Road

Like number 14, its independent history is a short one, empty in 1884, by 1888 it was a fishmongers run by John Woodward – his 1891 census record describes his trade as ‘Master Mariner, Fishmonger at Present Time’ and he was living over the road at 11. He didn’t last long, perhaps returning to his former trade as George Gooding had expanded into 18 by 1894. The accommodation behind it featured in the 1901 and 1911 censuses as it seemed be being used as a boarding houses for Drapery Assistants, with 6 listed as living there along with a housekeeper.

20 Burnt Ash

From early in this existence, 20 Burnt Ash Road was a bakers, initially called Home Made Bread; it was then taken over by the Yorkshire Bread Company who regularly advertised their produce in the local press (2). The ownership changed a couple of times  – latterly a Mr Woods who expanded into number 22.

Woods, seems to have had to sell at auction in May 1899, it was a 21 year lease, with 10 years remaining and an annual rent of £135 (3).

The purchaser was almost certainly Frederick Andrew, who hailed from St Neots, he and his wife, Georgina, had been running a smaller bakery in Brightfield Road from at least 1891. They were able to afford a servant in the 1901 census to help with the four young children. It was to become one of the longest lasting businesses on the parade, retaining Frederick’s name over the window until the late-1920s,

22 Burnt Ash Road

In its early days, the shop went through a number of businesses – in 1884, it was ‘home’ to builders, Kennard Bros., before being briefly a sales outlet for Singer Sewing Machines. By 1893, it was home to Charles Hopper who offered everything for the pianoforte enthusiast, from tuning to sales to lessons (4).

Hopper had departed by 1900, probably carrying out his business from 38 Burnt Ash Road, one of the large houses further up the street. The new occupant was a dyer/laundry although the occupant wasn’t new to the parade – Samuel Brunning, previously a boot maker at number 12 with the firm to stay there until the end of the first decade of the century.

A boot maker, William Whittle was the next occupant who stayed there until the mid-1920s, he lived just around the corner at 4 Taunton Road. He was a widower who lived with 2 children, an assistant at the shop and a live-in housekeeper. He’d moved from a shop just around the corner on Lee High Road, next to the Prince Arthur, where he’d been in 1901.

24 Burnt Ash Road

Frederick Roberts name was above the door at 24 Burnt Ash Road from around 1894, probably taking over the lease from William May Smith who had been there from early in the Parade’s life. He name was to remain until the early 1950s, expanding into 26 during the 1920s. He had taken on an additional shop at 69 Old Dover Road near Blackheath Standard by the outbreak of World War 1. Sadly, this is all that is known about him – as he never seems to have lived behind the shop nothing has been gleaned about where he came from, his family and the ownership of the shop – he could have been there for the entire 60 years his name was over the window, but it is perhaps unlikely.

26 Burnt Ash Road

There was a butchers shop in the parade in 1881, the exact location wasn’t clear but given what was to come in this shop front in this location it may have been here. The proprietor was Caroline Cook, from St George in the East in East London, who ran the business with her son. Some of her staff also lived ‘over the shop.’

Caroline Cook’s business didn’t last that long, her name was replaced with one that did had considerable longevity, another butcher John B Rolfe who was there from 1884. Unlike some of the neighbouring businesses there is no evidence that he ever lived above/behind the shop – in 1891 it was occupied by an accounts clerk, Annie Firkins, and it 1901 by four staff employed in the shop, along with the family of one of them.

Based on electoral registers, John Rolfe and his wife, Emily, were living at 12 Cambridge Drive from 1897, probably earlier. They were both from Northamptonshire and in 1901 were living at 3 Handen Road with 7 children under 10; plus three servants. The name remained until around the end of World War 1, but the shop was empty in 1920 and John died in Lewisham in 1922.

28 Burnt Ash Road

The shop front started as a carver and guilder, initially in the name of Louis Holcombe in 1884, but by 1900 the same business was being run by Wilhelm (listed in Kelly’s as William) Fellger, a German who lived around the corner at 88 Taunton Road. Carving and gilding is not a business type that really exists now – much of it seemed to relate to picture frames. He advertised this extensively in the local press (5) – noting his links to the Arts Club in Blackheath. However, he’d gone by 1905 possibly the result of local competition in a small market – there was another guilder and carver on Lee Road, Frederick Stimpson.

By 1905 the shop front was being used by watch maker Henry Ward from Cheltenham lived at 100 Taunton Road; who had moved his business from Lee High Road, close to the Duke of Edinburgh. He had gone by 1911 and was living on the last bits of the Corbett Estate to be completed, Duncrievie Road and no doubt carrying his business out somewhere else.

30 Burnt Ash Road

Throughout all of its early life 30 was a dairy; from 1888 to 1905 it was called Clay Farm Dairy in Kelly’s Directories, it is pictured in one of the early photographs of the parade.. There doesn’t seem to have been a local farm of this name, however, it may well have been a shortened version of Clay Pit Farm which was roughly on what is now Marvels Lane in Grove Park. By the time World War 1 broke out the name on the door was Edwards and Co, they were a large dairy firm based at Burnt Ash Farm.

At the outbreak of World War 1, it seemed a thriving parade, empty shops seemed a rarity, much more so than those local ones we have covered before – notably in Manor Park Parade and 310- 332 Lee High Road.  There was probably a good reason for this, in that along with the shops opposite, on Eltham Road and on Lee Road,  they would be able to supply all food shopping needs of local households.  We will return to the parade in 1919 next week, there were to be a lot of changes in the decades that followed.

The ‘story’ of the parade has been pieced together using Kelly’s Directories held by Southwark Archives – generally looking at every 5th year since the parade opened for business from 1884.

Credits

  • The 1843 map and the black and white postcards of the parade are from the collection of Lewisham Archives, they are used with their permission and remain their copyright
  • The Kelly’s Directory data was accessed via Southwark Archives
  • Census and related data comes from Find My Past (subscription required)
  • The Ordnance Survey maps come from the collection of the National Library of Scotland on a Creative Commons and are from 1863, 1895 and 1948

Notes

  1. Woolwich Gazette 17 April 1903
  2. Kentish Mercury 3 May 1889
  3. Kentish Mercury 23 May 1899
  4. Kentish Mercury 17 November 1893
  5. Kentish Mercury 27 January 1893

The Almshouses of Lee Part 2

A few months ago Running Past covered the two Boone’s Chapels on Lee High Road, both chapels had almshouses attached to them and in a recent post last week we looked at the almshouses themselves. Behind the Grade I listed Boone’s Chapel, set back from Lee High Road, are the best known some of the best known almshouses in South East London, Merchant Taylors’ Almshouses.

Like much of the area around Old Road, the land currently used by the Merchant Taylors’ Almshouses on Brandram Road, has its roots in the piecemeal sell off of the land that was once belonged to Lee Place in 1824. Several of the plots were bought by the Worshipful Company of the Merchant Taylors’ for almshouses.

The Company was one of the livery companies of the City of London; as the name implies it was first an association of tailors, but this connection had virtually ended by the close of the 17th century and it had become a philanthropic and social association.

The almshouses built in 1826 were the third generation of almshouses – the first had been built next door to Merchant Taylors’ Hall in Threadneedle Street, and dated from the mid 14th century. The second edition was close to Tower Hill on land occupied by the railway into Fenchurch Street and DLR into Tower Hill.

The 1826 almshouses were designed by William Jupp, the Younger, who was the architect and surveyor to the Merchant Taylors’ Company. His uncle was Richard Jupp, who designed Lee Manor House.

The 34 almshouses, two behind each door, are Grade II listed and described by Cherry and Pevsner (1) as:

Large, on three sides of an open quadrangle, stock brick, sparsely classical, with a central feature emphasised by a pediment and cupola.

The almshouses have a walled garden with a lawn sloping down to a small dip which once contained the original course of Mid Kid Brook which was dammed around the border with Brandram Road to form a boating lake – latterly known as the Mirror of Lee. It is surrounded by mature trees and shrubs which make photography difficult.  The impressive gatehouse (pictured below) was added in the 1850s.

Having looked at the Merchant Taylors’ Almshouses, we return to the Boone’s almshouses, as was noted in the previous post, the second version of them was replaced in 1963 in Belmont Park and known as Christopher Boone’s Almshouses. The area around there had been devastated by a pair of V-1 flying bombs, and the land to the north and east was covered with a large concentration of prefab bungalows. A slightly larger area was cleared for what became the Mercator Estate, which included an old people’s home. The almshouses site saw demolition of Victorian houses, which had suffered some damage in the Blitz. They are pictured in the bottom right hand corner of the aerial photograph from 1939 (just above the Patterson Edwards factory).

The number of almshouses increased from the 12 on Lee High Road to 29 one-bedroom houses and bungalows along with two staff units, originally for a matron and a gardener. The selection criteria for residents were less onerous than those of Trinity Hospital in Greenwich, requiring applicants to have lived for at least five years in the Borough of Lewisham or Greenwich; preference was given though to applicants from the former parish of Lee.  

The high walled development had an attractive gatehouse and, from the outside at least, looked a pleasant development. However, unlike the other variants of the Merchant Taylors’ managed almshouses in Lee, their life was a relatively short one – the relatively steeply sloping site proved to be a struggle for an ageing population with increasing mobility issues and letting the almshouses became problematic.

Plans were submitted in 2010 for the demolition of the 1963 site to be replaced by a much denser development – the 29 homes have become 62, with 32 being returned to The Merchant Taylors’ Boone’s Charity (the two charities merged in 2010). The remainder were sold to cross subsidise the re-provision of ‘state-of-the-art, fully-accessible and fully-adaptable almshouses;’ since 2010 there has been little grant funding for social housing and sales were, at the time, the only way to make this type of development ‘work’ financially.

To qualify for a home there the allocations criteria you would need to be …

• a peaceful, considerate person committted to getting on well with your neighbours
• in need of high quality housing in Lewisham
• aged at least 57
• capable of independent living; and
• can’t afford to buy

So what of the 1826 version? The residents were relocated to the new Blessington Road site with the Grade II listed buildings struggling to cope with those with reduced mobility who may require wheelchairs or motorised buggies. They currently stand empty and from the Brandram Road side look rather dilapidated; they are occupied by property guardians – with a notice on the listed entrance. Planning permission was granted in 2010 to build 5 houses, either side of the the southern most block, immediately behind Boone’s Chapel. In 2015 further permission was granted to reduce the number of almshouses – largely by knocking the ‘pairs’ behind each front door together. Both of these Planning Permissions will have lapsed at the time of writing in spring 2020, with no new permissions having been sought. The intention though presumably remains the refurbishment and sale of the Merchant Taylors’ Almshouses on a long leasehold basis – part of the cross subsidisation of the ‘state of the art’ version.

Notes

  1. Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner (1983) The Buildings of England – London 2: South p426

 

Credits

  • The 1939 aerial photograph is via the fantastic Britain from Above, its use is allowed in non-commercial blogs such as Running Past, it remains their copyright
  • The photograph of the 1963 scheme is via Google Streetview

The Almshouses of Lee – The Boone’s Almshouses

A while ago Running Past looked at the two Boone’s Chapels on Lee High Road. Both remain, but the better known one is a Grade I building opposite the western end of Old Road.
Both had almshouses attached to them, with the second chapel being built when the original almshouses were re-provided close to what is now the junction of Lampmead and Lee High Roads.
Christopher Boone was a wool merchant who lived at Lee Place which was located in the area currently bordered by Bankwell Road, Old Road and Lee High Road’s Market Terrace. The site for the almshouses on Lee High Road between Boone’s Chapel and Brandram Road was given to Masters and Wardens of the Merchant Taylors’ Company in a deed of 1683. They were known as Boone’s Almshouses and predated the beautiful ones behind, known as Merchant Taylors Almshouses by 140 years.
He built his four almshouses for the poor here on the north side of Lee High Road, three shared by 6 residents, the fourth a school for 12 poor children of the parish.
In order to qualify for a place, prospective residents had to undergo a number of religious tests, which included reciting the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles Creed and the Ten Commandments by heart. Any failure to do so within 2 months could lead to expulsion, and the residents were expected to attend chapel services. There were many similarities with rules applied to residents of Trinity Hospital in Greenwich, which was partially funded by the College Farms in Lee and Lewisham.
In the 1871 census, the almshouses were all shared between in No 1, there was a couple and a seemingly unrelated widower; No 2 was home to 3 single women and at No 3 was a husband and wife, along with a 70 year old servant Alice Simms. There was a separate household which wasn’t numbered, this may have meant that the school was no more – this was another couple with a servant who was 70. Whilst the servants were listed, they were probably providing some form of care to other residents either in their almshouse or more generally in the scheme.
Most were local and had been born in Lee or neighbouring parishes. Given the changes in the area that the railways had brought, this is perhaps surprising but no doubt reflected an allocations policy that gave preference to those with some form of local connection.
All were good ages for the era – all 69 or older and with an average age of 75.
It isn’t clear what led to the decision to move the almshouses; the homes were 250 years old and maybe hadn’t stood the test of time. The new almshouses were 250 metres up Lee High Road on land that had been part of the estate of the late Georgian Lee House. The estate was bounded by Lee High Road, the Quaggy, what is now Aislibie Road and Old Road.
The owner, James Halliburton Young, who lived at Cedar House next door originally seems to have tried to sell the estate as a single lot in the early 1870s. However, this seem to have failed and instead he sold off a narrow tract of land along Lee High Road in several lots, while at least two were for housing but the two plots nearest to Lee Green were allocated to the Bible Christian Chapel and Boone’s Chapel and Almshouses.
The only sign of the first incarnation of the Boone’s Almshouses is the very weathered looking red brick wall that replaced them – eroded both by the elements and World War Two shrapnel.
The second version of the almshouses were designed by the same architect as the chapel, Edward Blakeway I’Anson and in a similar Gothic style (1).
1881 was the first census after move to what is now the corner of Lampmead – a local connection still seemed important, in an age where migration due to the railways was common, most were from no further than Kent. Two of the occupants were the same as a decade before of the corner of Brandram Road – including Alice Sims who at 80 was still carrying out the duties as a servant.  Unlike a decade earlier no one was sharing their home, five of the almshouses were home to couples.
When the 1939 Register was compiled, of the 12 almshouses. three were empty. The occupants were all single people with six women three men the oldest 93, with a care; the youngest 60 with an average just shy of 79 with no couples.
As we saw when we looked at the two Boone’s Chapels, the congregation on the second version of the chapel dispersed in the early 1950s. The almshouses lasted slightly longer as a going concern but they too were replaced at Belmont Park in 1963, something we’ll return to in the next post.
However, this isn’t the end of the story. The almshouses, along with the church, were acquired around 1975 by was was to become the ‘Assemblies of God Emmanuel Pentecostal Church.’ While the almshouses were locally listed in 2012, sadly, this didn’t offer them much protection (as was the case with the gas holders at Bell Green) and the church demolished them without planning permission, seemingly to provide extra car parking for worshippers. One almshouse does remain though; it is not immediately recognisable, with its red brick painted ‘brilliant’ white. The inappropriate look pails into insignificance when compared with the painting of the formerly elegant Kentish ragstone church next door a very bright grey and cream by the Lee New Testament Church of God (just visible above).
In the final instalment of Lee’s almshouses we’ll look at both the Merchant Taylor’s Almshouses of 1826 and their 20th and 21st century replacements.
Notes
  1. Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner (1983) The Buildings of England – London 2: South p426

Credits

  1. The census and related information comes from Find My Past (subscription required)
  2. The black and white photograph of the 1875 variant of the almshouse is part of the collection of Lewisham Archives, it remains their copyright and is used with their permission
  3. The photograph of the original Boone’s Chapel and almshouses is from The Proceedings of the Lewisham Antiquarian Society 1908 on a Creative Commons
  4. The photograph of the almshouses being demolished is via the Newsshopper, 24 February 2014

 

Corona Road – The History of a Lee Street

The word ‘Corona’ with the suffix of ‘virus’ is currently striking fear into the population of much of the world.  In a leafier part of Lee, just off Burnt Ash Hill, there is a street with the name which pre-dates the virus by 140 years and has a much more benign meaning – ‘something suggesting a crown.’  This post looks at some of the history of the street and the neighbouring area.

The land to the east of Burnt Ash Hill in Lee had been probably been in the ownership of the Crown since 1305 as part of the estate of the Eltham Palace which was originally used for hunting.  The area has been covered several times by Running Past in relation to two of the farms on the land, Horn Park and Melrose Farms, as well is in passing in relation to pubs linked to John Pound – including The Crown.

As the city expanded with coming of the railways, they arrived in Lee 1866, the Crown began to sell off fields for housing and related activities.  One of these sales was land for a brick works on the corner of Burnt Ash Hill and what would become Winn Road – a hundred metres or so down the road from another of Lee’s farms, College Farm.  By the 1850s these were, at least partially, owned by John Pound – one of the more significant builders of the Northbrook estate (generally to the west of Burnt Ash Road and Hill) who, as mentioned, also built a quartet of pubs plus a public hall for popular entertainment.

It appears that the brick works was bought by William Winn by 1874 as he had made an application soon after to build what was to become The Crown pub (above) on land which was formerly part of the brick works; in the application he was described as a lighterman and barge owner living at 16 St Stephen’s Road in Bow (1).  Despite being married to Elizabeth, he was living there separately as a lodger, something that was still the case in 1881.   There was another William Winn who was the bailiff at Burnt Ash Farm in the 1850s and early 1860s of a similar age both from East London; however, unless William Winn had two families, it wasn’t him.

In addition to Corona Road, the roads developed by Winn were the eponymous Winn Road and Guibal Road, along with some houses on the eastern side of Burnt Ash Hill.  The early press reports for what was initially called the Burnt Ash Hill Estate are silent on the builder.  However, William Baker who was based at 43 Ronver Road in the 1881 census and employing 12 men, was mentioned in the second phase of the development of the street applying for permission to build 5 homes on the north (2) and 5 on the south side of Corona Road.  So it is quite possible that he built the entire estate.  The houses were substantial ones at the edge of Victorian suburbia – beyond and to the back was rural Kent – as the Ordnance Survey map from 1897 shows.

While the Board of works provided four gas street lights in 1881 (3), it wasn’t until 1889 that they adopted the street and planted lime trees (4); the Board had previously refused to do this, despite complaints from residents, until the builder brought it up to an acceptable standard (5).

It isn’t known how much the houses were sold for but the annual rent was 55 Guineas (£55.25) in 1882, applications could be made at 15 Corona Road which was perhaps being used as a show house for the second phase of houses (6).  This house, now numbered 61, is the only remaining one from the 1880s – it is the left of the two above..

Four years later number 5 was for rent and was described as (7) being in a

Rural situation, on high ground with bracing air.  Near station, shops and tennis ground. Kent £60

The tennis ground was in the apex of Corona Road and Guibal Road and was probably lost in the 1930s as the southern section of Woodyates Road was developed – it isn’t clear whether this was part of the same development as the northern part of the road which was covered a while ago in Running Past.

So who lived there?  A few of the houses were occupied and sold or rented out by the time the census enumerators called in 1881 – in Corona Road itself, only 9 was let or sold, it was home to the Powells – Harry was a senior Civil Servant.  Several on the wider Burnt Ash Hill Estate were the temporary homes to those working for the builders.  Archibald Harrison who was living in one of the houses on Corona Road ‘Burgoyne Cottage;’ he was described as ‘Builder and Decorator, Master’ in the census – it is possible that he may have built some of the estate, or have been a subcontractor for William Baker.

Next to The Crown, on the corner of Corona Road, at Corona Villa, was Elizabeth Winn the seemingly estranged wife of William, their two adult children including William (born 1859) and three servants.  It is worth pausing on the middle one of these, which given the issues that have brought the street name to the fore in 2020, her name seems depressingly apt – Mary Le Fever (see above).  This is almost certainly an enumerator mangling the relatively common French name for an ironworker or smith – Lefèvre.

By the time the census enumerators called again in 1891 Corona Road was an established community. Archibald Harrison, the builder and decorator was still there. The rest of the street clearly oozed wealth an included several were living on their own means, with inherited wealth or had retired with a sizeable income; there was an East India Merchant, a Shipowner and broker, an Accountant, a Civil Engineer and a Chemical Manufacturer. Virtually all had servants, most had more than one.  Elizabeth Winn was still thereon the corner of the street but marked as a widow, with her daughter Maria who was also a widow.

A decade later Archibald Harrison remained and the ‘class’ of occupant was much the same and included a grain merchant, a confectioner, a hardware merchant, a wholesale bookseller, a couple of living on their own means, a shopkeeper, a retired engineer, a solicitor and an accountant. There was also a Mantle manufacturer, George Smith, perhaps the supplier for Alexander Aitken’s shop next to the Lee Green fire station. Again virtually all had servants.

By 1911, not that much had changed, the households were still relatively small in the large houses, almost all with a servant – amongst the occupants was still George Smith, his neighbours included a retired builder, an artist (living on her own means), another living on own means, a ship broker, a company secretary, a bookseller, and a bank cashier.

The 1939 Register was compiled soon after war broke out. A lot had changed since the 1911 census, only one, quite old household had a servant and the household incomes sources and occupations had changed dramatically – jobs now included a teacher, a municipal accountant, office maintenance worker

Corona Road, more particularly the northern side of it fared badly in World War 2, the London County Council maps show much of that side destroyed or damaged beyond repair (8). By 1948 when the Ordnance Survey surveyors mapped the post war urban landscape, that side of the road was full prefab bungalows, no doubt not dissimilar to those that are still present (spring 2020) on the Excalibur Estate a mile to the west.

From the exterior of the current blocks and houses the prefabs were probably replaced in the late 1950s or early 1960s by Lewisham Council.

On the opposite side of the road while the bomb damage maps had marked the land as less badly damaged, the site seems to have been cleared by 1948.  This was presumably for the blocks of Elwyn Gardens, which look as though they may have been built soon after the war.

The housing at the western end of Corona Road is newer, perhaps from the early 1980s, following the demolition on the houses facing Burnt Ash Hill.  Like the rest of the estate, where homes have not been sold under right to buy, it is now owned and managed by a housing association L&Q.

Either side of the only house from the 1880s (pictured above), there are a few what look like 1930s houses, but almost certainly date from the 1950s given the wartime destruction.

Notes

  1. Kentish Mercury – 29 August 1874
  2. Woolwich Gazette – 02 October 1880
  3. Kentish Independent – 10 December 1881
  4. Woolwich Gazette -27 September 1889
  5. Kentish Independent -13 November 1886
  6. 22 September 1882 – Kentish Mercury
  7. 26 February 1886 – London Daily News
  8. Laurence Ward(2015) ‘The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps 1939-1945’

 

Credits

  • A massive thank you to Pat Chappelle who made the link of Corona Road to the correct William Winn – any subsequent errors are, of course, mine.
  • The 1881 census image is via Find My Past as are all the other census, 1939 Register and related references – subscription required
  • The Ordnance Survey maps from 1897 and 1948 are via the National Library of Scotland on a Non-Commercial Licence