Lee High Road has shops and businesses around half the way from the town centre towards Lee Green. Manor Park Parade is the last of these, and, as its name suggests, a shopping parade named after the road opposite at its eastern end.
It was built later than the shops closer to Lewisham; it is on a narrow strip of land that had previously been the frontage onto the main road of Lee Lodge – one of a pair of large Victorian houses that stood back from Lee High Road. The first mentions of the shops were in the 1896 Kelly’s Directory –Lee Lodge behind was to stay for another 20 years when it was demolished by Pickford’s. More on them in Part 2.
Like the other posts on shopping in Lee and Hither Green – 1930s Market Terrace, 310 to 332 Lee High Road, and the Edwardian Staplehurst Road, the shops are something of a microcosm of changing patterns of shopping – the traditional, single product type of shop such as the draper, the tobacconist and fruiter remaining beyond World War Two, eventually making way for more modern and specialist uses. Some shopkeepers, as we’ll see, stayed for decades but others clearly found it a struggle – some shops changed hands frequently.
Unlike other groups of shops and houses, its original name of Manor Park Parade has been retained – 318 to 332 Lee High Road was originally 1-8 Ainsley Terrace, but despite some numbering changes around 1907 the Parade’s name was kept.
1 Manor Park Parade – Like all of the shops, there is a three storey building at the rear, with a separate entrance and a single storey shop front which declined in depth further up the parade. In the first Kelly’s Directory that the Parade was mentioned, 1896, number 1 was vacant; but by 1901 it was a dairy being run by Mary Walker, the cobbled lane to the back, presumably to allow loading, is still there.
Mary oddly described herself as ‘he’ when offering to wait on families of Lee three times a day (1). The dairy was taken over around 1905 by Joseph and Laura Gatcombe who hailed from Berkshire; they were assisted by a bookkeeper Ada Fairman who also lived over the shop. They seem to have shared stables with Pickfords behind at what remained of Lee Lodge – a horse and cart were stolen in 1905 (2).
The Gatcombes were to remain at No 1 until the early to mid-1920s they sold out to Edwards and Sons. Edwards and Sons were a relatively large scale dairy enterprise with 60 shops around south east London, including another on the current Sainsbury’s site on Burnt Ash Road. By this stage, the family owned business ran Burnt Ash Farm which was on the corner of St Mildred’s and Baring Roads. Edwards sold out to United Dairies in 1927 and the latter were running the shop well into the 1930s.
The shop front was home to the hairdresser Albert Elliott during World War Two, but was empty in 1945. By 1950 the name over the window was Grant & Partners, who were a building firm; they remained there until the early to mid-1980s when the shop front was used for a few years by a firm of estate agents – The House Shop.
Like the other businesses and shop fronts, there is a gap in knowledge as to who was there into the early 2000s. It was vacant when the Streetview cars passed in 2008 and 2012, but has been Wood Fires, a Caribbean takeaway for most of the period since.
2 Manor Park Parade started its life as a butcher’s shop although it was a business that clearly struggled as in the early years there were regular changes in proprietor – the first name over the window in 1896 was Henry Drew, but by 1900 it was being run by Joseph Grozzett, although when the census enumerators called in 1901 it was run by Samuel Grant who hailed from Essex. The shop was empty by 1905 and seems to have been until just after World War 1, even the maisonette above wasn’t used when the census was conducted in 1911.
While struggling as a butcher, in the inter-war years, No. 2 seems to have thrived under the stewardship of Frank Feltham who was listed variously as a florist, fruiterer and greengrocer, first appearing in Kelly’s around 1920. Oddly, Frank seems to have largely passed under the radar in terms of official records of his life and death – he was certainly in Lewisham in 1910 when his son Douglas was born, and his was at No. 10 in 1939 (his name incorrectly recorded) – a widower aged 70. Douglas may have been running the business as war broke out in 1939 – but more on him later when we get to No 9.
After the Felthams moved out the shop was empty for a while, but after the war it was home to some French Polishers and Furniture shop run by Ted Eden who stayed there until 1958. During the 1960s the shopfront was used by hardware dealers, initially A & L James and then J R Dawson until around 1970. It then became a ‘Gift Shop’ – presumably trinkets for presents, rather than souvenirs of Lewisham, for around 15 years. In the 2000s and beyond it was the home to Mayfair (and then Tom’s) barbers. The current usage is as an ‘Asian Massage & Beauty Salon.’
3 Manor Park Parade – As was the case at No 2, No 3 went through a steady flow of traders – empty in 1896, the fruitier was being run by A E Walter & Co, William King and G F Bull in 1900, 1901 and 1905 respectively. By 1911 Janet Wood’s name was over the window – Kelly’s lists her as a tobacconist; however, that year’s census suggests that she was a ‘Stationer and Newsagent’ – Kelly’s had caught up with this by 1925. She was helped, in 1911 at least, by her brother and sister. While there was a new name over the window by 1930, Albert Fennell, the business was the same; Albert was there with his wife Ethel when the 1939 Register was conducted. The business continued in his name until the 1950s.
There was a steady flow of people trying their hand at being a newsagent, no one staying more than a few years Eric Doyle (1960), TC Brush (1965), J & F Rogers (1970) and Mrs TW Grindlay (1975). R K Patel bucked this trend and was there for some time from around 1980. As we will see, they also had a convenience store at the other end of the Parade at 16-17.
After a brief interlude as a tattoo parlour, it became a small convenience store for about decade, Aliyah, and has been run as an off licence for the last few years – currently High Road Bottles, a purveyor of bottled craft beer.
4 Manor Park Parade – Arthur Ash was the first shopkeeper in 1900; alas, he was not a tobacconist (or tennis player for that matter) but a confectioner. He had died by the time the census enumerators called in 1901, and the business was being run by his widow Catherine who was living above the shop with 10 mainly grown up children. By 1905, Jane Pierce had taken over the reins of the business although her reign had ended by 1911 as James Eddows was the name over the window. It may have been a posthumous mention as in the census listed over the shop were the Hoddinotts – their Daughter Ella was listed as a shop assistant in a confectioners, as was Edith Eddows who was listed as a step daughter.
The shop remained a confectioner after Edward Gilbey took over in the early 1920s and remained a sweet shop under the stewardship of the Bristows from around 1930; initially James, then briefly John and for many years Alice. It wasn’t listed in 1945 along with most of premises at the western end of the Parade – this may have related to the rationing of sugar during the war.
Alice seems to have kept the business going until close to her death in 1967; No 4 was then home to short-lived occupants – a builders merchants and an osteopath, before becoming the base for South Eastern School of Motoring. For at least a decade, it has been home to the gentlemen’s hairdresser Barber DJ – undergoing a refurbishment when pictured.
5 Manor Park Parade
Thomas Harris moved into the parade around 1896 and was originally an ‘oilman’ a seller of lamp oil, it was a trade that was already on the wane at that point, and by the time the 1901 census was taken he was listed as selling china and glass. He has gone by 1905 and the shop was empty for much of the next two decades.
It had short-lived milliners, drapers and cycle shops before becoming home to W Goddard, Rubber Stamp manufacturers after World War 2. They were a fixture on the Parade until around the late 1980s. Like many businesses they suffered as a result of the 1968 Lewisham floods, when their basement was flooded. They moved to Bromley and survived until around 2006 when the company was dissolved – no doubt a victim of changing working practices and digitisation.
More recently, the shop has been home to a series of tattoo studios – the current variant notable for the zebra being stalked by a tiger on its roof.
6 Manor Park Parade – Like Arthur Ash at No 4, Richard Macintosh at 6 Manor Park Parade was another who failed to live up to his name; in 1901 the man from Warwickshire he was running a toy shop. It appears to have been a short-lived business though as he was working as a postman in Lambeth in 1911. The shop was empty in 1911 too; it had been since at least 1905. The toy shop wasn’t the first business as, while empty in 1896, there was a short-lived electric platers business at No 6 from around 1897, S R Bonner.
By 1916 the shop was in competition with No 4 as George McStocker was running a confectioners; the sweet shop changed hands several times with Evelyn Green running the shop by 1920 and Arthur Wheeler in 1925. By the mid-1930s, the Jacobs, Frederick and Doris, were proprietors, they were there when the 1939 Register was compiled.
Like many of the shops on the parade the shop was empty by the end of the war, there had been no serious bomb damage to the Parade but rationing of sugar will no doubt have led to closures of confectioners. It remained empty until the mid-1950s when the Royal Arsenal Co-operative butchers arrived – they were to be a feature on the Parade for two decades.
During the 1980s the shop front was home to initially a carpet shop, Plan Flooring, and then a walkie-talkie supplier. Since 2000 it has been a money transfer bureau and food and a cosmetic shop, and is currently a shoe repairer.
7 Manor Park Parade – like several other shops on the Parade No 7 was empty when first listed in Kelly’s Directory. The first name over the window seems to have been the draper, Grace Lambert, who was there by 1900; her tenure was a short one as the shop was empty when the census was carried out in 1901. By 1905 the furniture dealer William Allen was trading from No 7, but like his predecessor he didn’t last long as the shop and maisonette behind were missing from the 1911 census and Kelly’s of the same year.
By 1916 though the cycle makers Brown and Son were there; their business evolved with changing transport and by 1925 they had become motor engineers. It was a business taken over by Stanley Grey around 1930 – no doubt taking advantage of Lee High Road being based on one of the more accident prone streets in London.
By 1939 though boot repairer Arthur Ackerman there along with his wife, brother and sister in law. Despite clothing, including shoes and boots being rationed, it wasn’t a business that lasted until the end of the War – the shop was empty in 1945. After a brief interlude as a builder’s merchants, W & H Supplies, in the 1950s; number 7 became home a series of purveyors of car batteries – the name over the window changing several times although was ‘Speed Batteries’ from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s and beyond. In the 2000s it has been home to hair salons – latterly called Porters.
8 Manor Park Parade – while empty when Kelly’s Directory was produced in 1896, by 1898 (see advert above (3)) John Davidson (then 58), a tailor born in Ireland was there – he was to remain there until his death, probably in 1916. A couple of different costumiers were there in the late 1920s and early 1930s, but other than that the shop seems to have been empty for much of the time until 1960. The maisonette behind was home to mechanic George Clark in 1939.
Around 1960 George Green opened a fishmongers shop, although he didn’t stay long as M Salih was carrying out the same trade 5 years later. Fresh fish was turned into fried fish by D Ahmed by 1970, although the ‘churn’ rate continued and ‘George’ was running the shop in 1975.
Presumably after a deep clean to remove the smell and a refit, No 8 became Ann’s Hair Creations for at least a decade from 1980. By the new century it was a Money Transfer bureau for a while although most recently it is a shop specialising in computer repairs.
9 Manor Park Parade started life as grocers – initially it seems to have been a partnership between Messrs Lewis and Orr, then William Lewis on his own; William died in 1907 and was succeeded by his widow, Susanna. It was a shop that may well have been not too dissimilar to more recent convenience stores as they had a wine and spirits licence, although were refused a beer licence (4).
The shop was empty during World War 1 but by the mid-1920s James Walker, a cabinet maker was there, he was still there, living over the shop. when war broke out in 1939, married to Ethel. He was to stay there until the late 1940s.
Douglas Feltham was mentioned earlier as possibly taking over Frank Feltham’s business at No 2 by the time war broke out; presumably Frank was Douglas’ father but could have been a different relative. In the 1939 Register, Douglas was listed as a ‘Greengrocer, Fruiterer and Florists Shop Keeper’ – he was living in the then suburbia of Brockman Rise (behind the Green Man in Southend) with his wife Dorothy, a hairdresser – perhaps she worked for Albert Elliott who briefly ran the salon at No 1, next door to Frank’s business? Also in the house were Dorothy’s mother and her sister, the latter who was a shop assistant for a newsagent and stationer – perhaps working for Albert Fennell at No 3? Douglas had moved to number 10 by 1945 but before the decade was out he had moved the business next door to No 9 initially listed as a florist but from the early 1950s listed as a ‘fruiterer.’
The business was to stay there until the late 1970s as Douglas had moved on by 1980, probably retiring – he lived until 1994 and is buried at Eltham Cemetery. The family had run businesses in three shops on the Parade for around 60 years.
After a period empty, it became No 9 became the shop front for a printing firm, Realprint before becoming a Mini Cab office in the new millennium, latterly Delta Cars. It seems to have been empty for the last 6 or 7 years.
The ‘story’ of the Manor Park Parade has been pieced together using Kelly’s Directories held by the Lewisham and Southwark Archives – generally looking at every 5th year since the Parade opened for business around 1896. These Directories go up to the mid-1980s. More recent jogging of 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.
Next week’s post will cover the rest of the Parade.
- Kentish Mercury 16 September 1898
- Kentish Independent 08 September 1905
- Kentish Mercury 07 January 1898
- Woolwich Gazette 01 October 1897
Picture & Other Credits
- The photograph of the flooded Eastdown Park and Goddards Rubber Stamps is from the collection of Lewisham Archives, it remains their copyright and it use with their consent;
- The Kelly’s Directory data is courtesy of a mixture of Lewisham and Southwark Archives
- Census, 1939 Register and related data is via Find My Past (subscription required)