310-322 Lee High Road, a Portrait of a Shopping Parade (Part 2)

In the first part of this post we looked at the eastern end of the Victorian and Edwardian terrace of shops, leaving it at 324 Lee High Road, perhaps getting an almost appropriately numbered 321 bus towards Lewisham.

Having looked at the history of the shops at the Old Road end of the parade, we start again at 322 Lee High Road.  The first name over the window at what was initially 6 Ainsley Terrace was probably the draper, C. J. Richardson; he was certainly there in 1881. The census showed the Yorshireman Charles Richardson and his wife Catherine from Lewes were running the drapers shop with three children, the eldest of which was assisting in the shop along with another assistant and a servant. By 1891 there were four children all working at the shop. The daughters had moved out in 1901, although Laura was above their other briefly held shop at 332; 10 years later four daughters were back helping their parents who were by that stage 76.  Charles died in Lewisham in 1919.

Thomas Mace was born in 1876, probably in Dartford; in 1901 he seems to have been living in Ennersdale Road working as fishmonger.  He took over the drapery business from the family of Charles Richardson in the early 1920s.  Thomas Mace worked with his wife Emily, and the business continued in his name until around 1965, the last few of those were posthumously as Thomas died in Lewisham in 1961.  During the 1970s and beyond the shop was a series of grocers, greengrocers and mini-markets.  It has been a day nursery since 2005 (pictured below) – trading as Baby Lambs.

320 is probably the shop that has gone through most shop types in its ‘life’; it started as a bakers run by the Scot John Burns who, in 1881, was there with his wife and a pair of assistants.  They had moved on by 1895 with the same trade being carried out by Robert Williams – he was to last less than a decade.  The shop was briefly run by ‘oilman’ (a seller of lamp oil) Edward Bunyan in the mid-1890s but before the turn of the century, it was home to a cycle maker – while the name Salisbury seems to have appeared over the door, it was run by William Paisley in the 1901 census.

By the 1910 Kelly’s it was listed at a Dry Cleaners called Tindall & Co, while Martha Tindall was listed in the following year’s census – she described her business as a ‘Domestic Employment Agency and Toy and Fancy Shop Keeper’; something of a mixture!  After the War, Kelly’s listed it as a Toy Shop run by Herbert Croft.  It was a butcher for a decade or so before being empty until the Furniture Shop, Finches, used the shop in the 1950s.  There was a spell as a ‘swap shop’ in the 1960s, before it became a vacuum cleaner sales and repairs shop for over a decade.

By the mid-1980s, 320 was home to Video 100 a VHS tape rental shop – with its limited space it had a limited choice, but it had the advantage of being close to home and cheap.  It lasted into the mid-1990s but lost out to both the growth of the DVD market and the likes of Blockbuster and other bigger shops in Blackheath, Lewisham and Lee Green. For a while, early in the new millennium, it sold beauty products and currently houses both a buyer and seller of gold and a second hand record dealer (pictured above).

318 was the end of the initial parade (see map above) and had a double frontage – until the 1950s, it was that lender of last resort and scourge of the poor and those with irregular or seasonal income, the Pawnbroker.  It went through a series of owners, for the first decade or so it was run by James Aldridge, then William Tomlinson ran it from around 1890 until well into the first decade of the new century – it was a significant business – in addition to his brother, there were three assistants in the business living on site in 1891.

It seemed to be taken over a company, E Price and Co, about 1910 although it was being run by what was probably another company, Thomas Goodman, by the outbreak of World War 1 and remained that until after World War 2; its manager there, living over the shop, in the 1939 Register, Frederick Coppendale.

It became a restaurant in the early 1950s, Nobles.  By the mid-1960s, it had become a Chinese Restaurant, initially Golden State, then Tai Ting – these were the first of many non-European run businesses in the parade, predating the Chinese takeaway on Market Terrace by, perhaps, 25 years.  It became an ‘Indian’ restaurant a decade later; trading to start with as Curry Garden, although it was Tripti from around 1990 before becoming Panas Ghurkha about 2010. The ‘ghost’ of Tripti remains on the floors above.

316 is the first of the newer shops, built at around the same time as Bankwell Road and on the same parcel of land.  It was certainly empty when the census enumerators called in 1911, but from 1914 until 1936 it was ‘home’ to ‘wardrobe dealer’ Ellen Lennox.  She was not a vendor of large wooden furniture for the storage of clothes, rather it was a term used for sellers of second hand clothes.  The shop seems to have been empty until after the War, but was then used by James North, who ran an Aquarium Supplies shop for over 20 years. After briefly being a haberdashers shop in the early 1980s, the fish theme continued as it has been home to a fish and chip shop for most of the time since; while it has gone through a string of owners the illuminated sign above has been ‘The Lighthouse’ for at least the last decade – consequently always making me think of Virginia Woolf when making the short trip to buy chips.

314 Lee High Road had the second longest period of any in the terrace in the hands of the same person, only Frank Dunk at 328 lasted longer.  It is though a tale of changing trades and shopping patterns through one owner.  James John Jacobs was the first occupant when the shops opened around 1910, in the Kelly’s Directory the shop was listed as a boot repairer, and it stayed in a similar line of work until 1930.  Born in Greenwich in 1877, he grew up in Deptford and then New Cross after his father died; in 1901 he was still at the family home working as a commercial clerk  He then spent a bit of time in East Dulwich en route to Lee High Road as two of his children with his wife, Jessie, were born there..  Despite his Kelly’s listing, he described his line of work as ‘Motor Cab Driver’ in the 1911 census –   By 1930 James had diversified and added Radio Sales and Service to the business, the boot repairing was replaced by an estate agency.  James tried his hand at being tobacconist from just after World War 2, still running the Radio Sales and Service until his death at 78 in 1956.  He’d run the businesses from 314 for an impressive 46 years.

While there may have been short periods when there were businesses being carried out, the shop was empty every time I checked for this research for the period up until the 1980s.  The currently business, ‘Julia’, a women’s hairdresser has probably been there since around the millennium.

312 was a newsagent, confectioner and tobacconist for much of its life – run initially by William Allen, then by John Hudson from around the outbreak of World War 1 until the early 1930s, with Leslie Harrison’s name appearing over the window until the early 1940s. For around 15 years after the War it was Lee Furnishers, then a car battery supplier.  By the late 1980s, it became a florist which remained open until around 2003, latterly expanding into 310 taking advantage of the corner plot and yard access to sell summer bedding plants and Christmas trees. A short-lived computer repair shop was followed by an even shorter-lived vintage clothes and alterations shop before becoming another women’s hair stylist in 2016, Ilayda.

310, on the corner of Bankwell Road, was a diary for much of its early life, run by Robert Bowyer from around 1914 to 1936.  Despite its prominent corner location though it was often empty, or at least not mentioned in Kelly’s post war, although it was an aquarium supplies shop – ‘Our Corner’ in the 1960s and 1970s, although why a small parade of shops needed two aquarium suppliers, goodness only knows.  Afterwards, it was used for a while as a shop by Witalls Motor Sales whose showrooms were on the opposite corner of Bankwell Road, for accessories and spare parts – a presumably much earlier ‘ghost sign’ appears on the side of the building (see above). It was then briefly a video recorder repair shop and then invaded by 312. It has been a blinds shop, Homestyle, for over a decade – oddly its window display has remained the same every time the StreetView cameras passed by for at least 6 years!

Like their later counterparts, at Market Terrace, this parade is a microcosm of changing shopping patterns – the traditional, single product type of shop such as the draper, the butcher, the pawnbroker and fruiter remaining beyond World War Two eventually making way for more modern and specialist uses.  The changes also reflected changes in technology – lamp oil and VHS cassettes were both lost to history.

Some shopkeepers, such as James Jacobs, stayed for decades but others clearly found it a struggle – some shops changed hands frequently, and there were usually empty fronts when Kelly’s were compiling their Directory – a trend that has continued into the 21st century.

The ‘story’ of the 310-322 Lee High Road has been pieced together using Kelly’s Directories held by the Lewisham Archives – generally looking at every 5th year since the parade opened for business around 1877.  These Directories go up to the mid-1980s.  More recent jogging of my own memories has been via the ‘back catalogue’ of Google’s StreetView which has passed Market Terrace several times since 2008. If you think that I have got anything wrong or have memories of any of the shops please use the comments field below or in Facebook thread or Twitter post you reached here from. I’ll include some of them when I update the post.

Thanks and Credits

Thank you to the always helpful Lewisham Archives, particularly Julie Robinson, for access to the Kelly’s Directories.  More recent jogging of memories has been via the ‘back catalogue’ of Google’s StreetView which has passed Market Terrace several times since 2008.

Census and related data comes via Find my Past

The Ordnance Survey map is courtesy of the National Library of Scotland on a Creative Commons.

 

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4 thoughts on “310-322 Lee High Road, a Portrait of a Shopping Parade (Part 2)

  1. Alison

    My school friend’s mother used to run a fish and chip shop in Lee High Road late 1960s. AmonG her customers…. the Rolling Stones!

    Reply
    1. Paul B Post author

      What a great story! It wouldn’t have been The Lighthouse though as that opened quite a lot later. More recently, Paul McCartney used the garage almost opposite about 10 years ago.

      Reply
  2. Sarah Orrin

    I used to work in a pet shop as a Saturday girl called Lizzies Pet Shop in the 1980’s which was in Lee High Road

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Arts & Crafts Housing on Old Road | Running Past

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