Author Archives: Paul B

Penge Stream – A River Pool Tributary

As we have seen with a couple of streams in the Pool catchment, Pissarro’s Stream and Wells Park Stream, the high land above Sydenham was covered in woodland known as the Great North Wood.

Another of these streams is Penge Stream which had several sources just to the south of Crystal Palace Park. It was visible in William Faden’s map of 25 miles around London (on a Creative Commons via the Library of Congress) was surveyed in 1790 (above).

The most obvious source is high up on a street parallel to Anerley Hill, Milestone Road – a road that seems to lacks its name. This source was around a rather attractive modern block of flats which makes extensive use of glazed bricks, Stratos Heights. ‘Was’ is because there is now no obvious sign of water despite the assertions of the contour lines of a valley (streams erode the land they cross and the valley that is created has an upstream pointing notch on maps with contour lines.)

The valley tumbles down through the gardens between of Milestone Road and Anerley Hill towards Cintra Park, here the valley is clear, a pronounced dip in Cintra Park, below.

Cintra Park was also a confluence of streams, one of the other sources is close to the ridge and Belvedere Road. The branch runs almost due east, passing the blue plaqued home of Marie Stopes at 28 Cintra Park – while she made major contributions to plant palaeontology and coal classification, and was the first female academic on the faculty of the University of Manchester, she is better known for founding the first birth control clinic in Britain, despite her opposition to abortion.

Below Cintra Park there is another dip on Playdell Road and a further one on Palace View, with each terrace further down the hill, the valley flattens out a little. There is one of the several small, fluvially eroded switchbacks on Anerley Hill just below the road leading to Crystal Park station – here there would have been another small confluence with a stream that ran between houses in Waldegrave Road – it’s course is clear a little further upstream too, with a small dip in Belvedere Road (just below the junction in the picture below).

The Stream, for much of its original course, was crossing Penge Common; most of which was enclosed with the Croydon Enclosure Act of 1797 and the Penge Enclosure Acts in 1805, 1806, and 1827.

To the north of Anerley Hill, contours were slightly confused by the railway line approaching Crystal Palace station but the former course would have taken in through the former Bromley Council housing of Lullington Road – some sold under Right to Buy, the remainder owned by Clarion Housing, the current name of what was once Broomleigh, the housing association all of Bromley’s stock was transferred to.  Lullington Road (Lillington Road on the 1863 surveyed Ordnance Survey map) is on the site of Victorian housing that was developed soon after the arrival of the Crystal Palace. The mention of Battersea below it is not a cartographical error by early Ordnance Surveyors, rather, as was covered in the post of the River Wilmore, Penge was for centuries an outlier of Battersea.

Downstream the stream would have crossed the current Thicket Road before traversing the contour hugging Anerley Park (once home the the leading Victorian cyclist George Lacy Hillier). The curvature was the result of the road following the former Croydon Canal – a short stretch still remained into the 1860s. Assuming that the stream was still flowing at the time the canal was built, it may well have drained into it.

Later Ordnance Survey map  contour notches suggest another stream joining around this point – while the cartographical route is clear, it’s former route lacks clarity on the ground.

On the other side of the canal replacement service, the railway, Penge Stream crosses Oakfield Road, there is a no doubt fluvial eroded depression close to Woodbine Grove. Woodbine Grove is and was part of the Groves Estate – first built in the mid 19th century and redeveloped by Penge UDC, then London Broough of Bromley in the 1960s.

Around here, another small stream would have joined just behind the Pawlene Arms; while it’s contour lines are obvious from Ordnance Survey maps, although slightly less so on the ground – there are hints of a depression mid way along Howard Road, parallel to Maple Road, and its neighbours, but tracing it back upstream it peters out well before Anerley Road.

 

The once larger stream would have probably flowed now not so Green Lane, joining another stream flowing from the northern side of Crystal Palace Park and making a confluence with the Wilmore (also known as  Boundary Stream, Boundary Ditch and Shire Ditch) around the junction of Kent House and Parish Lanes.

The Environment Agency 100 year flood risk map,  whilst relating to surface water is helpful in tracking former streams as storm flows will often follow the courses of former or hidden watercourses due to the small valleys that have been created.  This is shown above for the entire course of Penge Stream, but potential flows become somewhat confused around Penge’s High Street.

Here, as with the rest of the course of the stream, there is no evidence of Penge Stream still flowing – at no stage was there either any water or the tell-tale sounds of water flowing under man-hole covers. While the course is clear, it seems that like many of the other streams that flowed from high up in the Great North Wood, Penge Stream is lost to changes in the water table or Victorian surface drainage (probably the former).

Ordnance Survey map credits – all are from the National Library of Scotland on Creative Commons – the top 1960s  and the bottom from 1863.

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(Probably) Lewisham’s Most Beautiful Building and its Past

4a Clarendon Rise is currently home to London Sivan Kovil, a Hindu Temple – it is arguably Lewisham’s most beautiful building and the starting point for the almost certainly most stunning parade in the borough – the Chariot Festival, held each September for the last few years. The site has an interesting past and wasn’t always this attractive.

Clarendon Rise used to be known as Clarendon Road and is one of the main roads that go through what used to be referred to as the College Park Estate, based on the land that once belonged to College Farm. Clarendon Road/Rise bridged the Quaggy, which was one boundary of the farm, to Lee High Road, with The Sultan (now Nando’s) sitting on the far bank.

What is now 4a stood opposite to the Sultan. The site was showing as empty when the Ordnance Survey cartographers visited in the mid 1890s as the top map shows. However, the reality is a little more confused than this and it seems likely that the site was in least partly occupied by a firm of boot makers, E Cooney and Sons from at least the 1891 census. Edward Cooney, was the ‘E Cooney’ a boot maker – the only son listed in 1891 and 1901 was William, listed as a shoe seller in 1901. The business and family was still there until around 1910, but there was no sign of them afterwards, in Lewisham, or anywhere else for that matter.

The next occupant of the site seems to have been a furniture dealer, Arthur Vincent Humm. Arthur was a Lewisham man, born in 1883 he’d spent some time in the Hussars, in 1911 he was listed as a cabinet maker working in his father’s furniture business at 89 Lee High Road, the family home where he had grown up. Arthur was at what was then 2 from around 1919 to at least 1928, possibly longer – there are no Kelly’s Directories for this area between 1928 and 1941 available at Lewisham Archives.

By 1941, the Road had become a Rise and the occupants of the site were a well known Lee name – Penfolds Motor Engineers. Presumably, this was before they moved to Lee Green. They were to stay at Clarendon Rise for another decade, at some stage in the not too distant future Running Past will cover Penfolds.  The site buildings at that stage are shown in the bottom map (above).

A trio of firms were there in the 1950s – Falcon Painting Works, the motor engineers, Premier Diesel Engineering Works, and Falconers Transport motor haulage contractors. Sadly, nothing more is sadly known about any of these firms, the same can be said about their successors Bylay Heliot Equipment Co, who were Machine Tool makers who occupied 4a until 1967.  There was an unsuccessful plan to build a service station, restaurant and multi-storey garage prior to Bylay Heliot moving out.

No one was listed in Kelly’s for a decade, then it was briefly home to the heating engineers Fry Pollard, who moved on at around the time that they were acquired by Norden Heating.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s 4a was the home to Glass Structural Services and Structural Roof Services. The site was bought in 1994 as a Hindu temple and remained in what were the existing warehouse structures which were still there in 2008 when StreetView (above) first passed by.  By the next time the Streetview car passed demolition of the main building was in progress in 2009 when the foundation stone was laid. At the centre of the front is a gopuram – an ornate, tapering oblong tower (see top picture) with richly decorated doors at its base – this a smaller version of a traditional Hindu design. Of the previous building, only the wall facing the Quaggy was retained, although that was much altered.

Clarendon Rise and the temple are well worth a visit in mid September each year when the annual chariot festival takes place – pictured below.

The arrival of the temple has seen a significant change in shopping on a Lee High Road with an influx of shops serving the worshipers at the Hindu Temple – including those selling saris and jewelry.

Notes and Credits

The Ordnance Survey maps published in 1897, 1916 and 1950 are on a creative from the National Library of Scotland

Census and related data is via Find My Past

Kelly’s Directory information is via Lewisham Archives

Lewisham’s 500 Year Belgian Connection

A while ago Running Past looked at the links of Lewisham to its namesake suburb of Sydney, both in the name and through transportation.  Another international link, of much longer standing, is to Belgium, more particularly the Flanders city of Ghent as the land that forms much of the current Borough was under the control of the Ghent Abbey of St Peters for several centuries.  For the sake of historical accuracy, Flanders was a self governed part of France – the County of Flanders – during the period referred we’ll look at.

The links have their origins in the late 9th century when Elfrida, or Ælfthryth  (other variants are available), born in 877 and was the youngest daughter of King Alfred  married Baldwin II, the Count or Margrave of Flanders in the 890s.

In Alfred the Great’s will he left large amounts of land in Lewisham, Greenwich and surrounding areas to Elfrida.  Baldwin died in 919 and was buried in the Abbey of St Peter in Ghent in Belgium; later the same year Elfrida gave her inheritance of “Lieuesham, Grenewic and Uulwic, with the meadows, pastures and woods” to the Abbey of St Peter for the welfare of her husband, sons and herself – and at various stages all of them were buried there  – Elfrida in 929.

The Abbey (pictured below on a Creative Commons) had been founded in the late 7th century and lasted as a monastic building until the end of the 18th century.

The holding of the land in Lewisham was confirmed by King Edgar the Peaceful in 964 after a request from Archbishop Dunstan who had been sheltered at the Abbey

“I, Edgar, King and Chief of the English, buy divine assistance, renouncing ever low and transitory thing as dross, make known to all that I have granted to God and St Peter, and to the Society of the Church of Gand (Ghent), a certain extent of land in a place with the rustics from ancient custom have denominated Lieuesham, with all its appurtenances, viz., Greenwich, Woolwich, Mottingham and Coomb.’

The Lewisham land was captured by one of the many Viking attacks in 1006 – despite the fortifications such as  Faesten Dic (pictured below on a Geograph Creative Commons) part of which remains in Joydens Wood on the Bexley Dartford Borders). Edward the Confessor promised to restore Lewisham to The Abbey of St Peter, but was not able to do so until he became King in 1042.  In 1044 a charter was given to the Abbot of Ghent confirming the rights granted in 964 along with a slightly wider area and rights to hold court.

The power was retained after the Norman invasion as William’s wife Mathilda was a descendant of Elfrida. The Domesday Book describes Lewisham in 1086 – the image is via Open Domesday.

Fortunately, Open Domesday translates the Medieval Latin  this into modern English – the key points about Lewisham were

  • Total population: 62 households (which was very large) made up of (households): 50 villagers. 9 smallholders, 3 slaves;
  • Total tax assessed: 2 geld units (which was quite small given the size);
  • Value: Value to lord in 1066 £16, 1070 £12 and 1086 £30;
  • Plough land: 14 plough lands. 2 lord’s plough teams. 17 men’s plough teams;
  • Other resources: 30 acres of meadow 30 acres, along with woodland supporting 50 pigs, 11 mills – value£ 8 6s; and
  • Lord in 1066 & 1086 & Tenant in Chief 1086: Abbey of Ghent (Saint-Pierre)

The Abbey of Ghent was also noted as Tenant in Chief – this denoted holding land directly from the king, rather than another nobleman, it denoted great honour, but also carried the responsibility of for providing knights and soldiers for the king’s feudal army.

The rights were extended slightly during the reign of Henry I (1100-1135) to include sole right of hunting and the right to establish a market in Greenwich, although by this stage the local possessions other than Lewisham and Greenwich seem to have been transferred to others.

During the reign of Henry I there was another invasion, rather than being from the east of the North Sea and a late Viking incursion, it was from the east of the Quaggy and the Manor of Lee.    The Lord of the Manor, Robert de Baunton seized Lewisham and Greenwich. There were a series of Papal decrees, decisions by Henry I and threats of excommunication heading towards Lee  which stressed the rights of the Abbot of St Peter’s in Ghent.

It appears then that a lease was granted to Robert de Baunton for Lewisham and Greenwich for the sum of £25 a year.  The charter for this was held in a Devon country house but this was then destroyed in a fire and there was a subsequent case two generations later that was due to be heard before King John (1199 to 1216).  It the end it was settled out of court for a payment by the Abbot to the Lord of the Manor of Lee.

The rights of the Abbot were confirmed by Henry III (1216-1272).  It appears that the land was subdivided by the Abbot into a number of Manors – Bankers, Brockley, Catford, Bellingham, Shraffolt and Sydenham – more on them at some stage in the future though.

During the Hundred Years War (1337 – 1453) various monarchs seized ‘alien Priories’ and then returned them during lulls in the fighting.  However, the seizure became a permanent one in 1414 when Henry V (pictured via Creative Commons) permanently seized all this land. So ended Belgian control of Lewisham after almost 500 years. Lewisham was only to remain in Crown ownership for a year before being transferred to the newly established Sheen Priory in 1415, the year of Agincourt.

More recently, there were links to Belgium during the First World War; Deptford was initially home to some Belgian refugees in the early stages of the War – their arrival provoked anti-German attacks there. More importantly, hundreds of young men from Lewisham served in Belgium during the War, with many never returning. Forty two young men from Lewisham, along with another 7 from the New South Wales namesake, are remembered on the Menin Gate in Ypres (pictured below on a Creative Commons).

The young men from Lewisham remembered there include

  • Arthur Lee of 26 Ardmere Road (pictured) who died on 27 October 1914 serving with King’s Royal Rifle Corps, aged just 20;
  • Albert Sims of 322 Hither Green Lane who died on 16 June 1915 serving with the Honourable Artillery Company aged only 19
  • Frederick Robus of 19 Elthruda Road who died on 16 August 1917 serving with the London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) aged just 21;

 

The final street on the list takes us almost full circle back to the original Belgian link – Elthruda is one of the variants of Elfrida who gave the Lewisham to the Abbey of St Peters in Ghent.

 

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.

 

310-322 Lee High Road, a Portrait of a Shopping Parade (Part 1)

A while ago Running Past looked at the shopping parade, Market Terrace, in this post we turn our attention to the next group of shops up – those between Bankwell Road and the eastern end of Old Road.  Like Market Terrace they are some of my local shops.

The shops were developed in two phases, those at the Old Road end were probably built in the late 1870s with those at the Bankwell Road end are more recent, dating from around 1907.  The reason for this goes back to the 1820s, when Lee Place was demolished and its estate was sold in lots, the area bounded by Lee High Road and Old Road was split into three (as shown on the 1897  published Ordnance Survey map below).

  • The eastern end, nearer Lee Green;
  • A middle section which Bankwell Road now runs down the centre of; and
  • The western end which is now edged by the 1930s housing along Old Road and Market Terrace.

The middle section may have been developed by James Watt – he certainly built the cinema that used to be sited on the corner of Bankwell Road, but nothing has yet been found to confirm who built the houses and shops.  What are now 310 to 316 Lee High Road would have been part of the Bankwell Road plot – the buildings are noticeably different to those higher up the road.  To avoid confusion, the post will refer to the current numbering, the shops at the eastern end have gone through three variants – initially they were called 1-8 Ainsley Terrace, then 176 to 190 and, from around 1907, 318 to 332.

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.  Some shopkeepers, as we’ll see, 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.

As the oldest shops are at the eastern end, this is where we’ll start, following the numbering down.  This is appropriate because this post had its roots in a ghost sign of an Electrical Wholesaler, Stonor, which briefly appeared during the refurbishment of the exterior of the current relatively long term occupants of 332, a shop run by the charity Emmaus, in April 2018.

As for all the shops at this end of the terrace, the earliest record found of 332 was the 1881 census.  The shops may have been open a few years at that point – the Lee Working Men’s Institution, which was part of the same plot (and is marked on the map) had opened its doors behind in 1877. The shop was a drapers in its early years, run by Edwin Deighton in 1881, his wife Mary, two shop assistants and a servant lived ‘over the shop.’  There were five children, a mother-in-law, an apprentice and an extra servant added to the 1881 occupants by 1891.  The Yorshireman Charles Richardson and his wife Catherine from Lewes were running the shop by 1899 – although this seems to have been largely as an extension to 322 which they ran from at least 1881, their daughter, Laura, was living over the shop when the census enumerators called in 1901.

The shop had passed on to Leonard Charles by 1905, still as a draper; but was to soon become Corn Merchants, Kinnear and Co.  After a period empty at the end of the Great War, the shop was taken over by William Findlay, initially it seems to be as a wholesale tobacconist but by the outbreak of the Second World War it was a retail tobacconist and confectioner.  In the 1939 Register there appeared to be William, his wife Daisy, three married daughters and a son, also William all working at the shop.  The shop continued with the same name until at least 1960 when Stonor took over, they were an electrical wholesaler which traded until around 1970 before going bankrupt.  The shop was bought by R & B Star another electrical wholesaler, the initials coming from the owners Bill Robertson and Ray Trull, who were certainly there until the early 1980s when they moved onto bigger premises.  After being empty for a while the shop seems to have taken over by the Greenwich based Homeless Charity, Emmaus.

The occupant of 330 (middle of picture above) in 1881 was Joseph Holbrooke, while the shop was listed as a stationer; Joseph’s ‘trade’ in the census was listed as a watchmaker.  By 1891 the stationers was being run by Alice Simpson, although Kelly’s listed her as running a Fancy Goods Repository. After a short period empty, by 1901 the shop was being run as a fruitier by Ellen and John Hutchens from Berkshire and Cornwall respectively. They were still there in 1911 although John had then trained as an accountant and their son Herbert was working in the shop.  After another period empty, the shop re-opened as a confectioner in 1919 which it remained until the outbreak of World War 2, although no one stayed running it for more than 5 years.

After the war 330 was ’home’ to Teebo Supplies who were model engineers, before becoming the shop front from Lewisham Auto Electrics, their workshops and garage was behind.  They sold car radios and the like from the mid-1960s, they were to move next door to 328 from the mid-1980s.  The shop appears to have been empty for several years, with net curtains in the window having previously have short-lived businesses as Computer Printer Supplies, then a supermarket, La Congolese and briefly a ‘tattoo studio’.  It currently seems to be being used as storage for Sey Appliances at 328.

328 Lee High Road (the right end of the photograph above) was a hairdresser for much of its life – the first was Walter Samuel Bloxham from Faversham, he was at Ainsley Terrace in 1881.   He was married to Anne and they lived around Sittingbourne until the early 1870s.  Two of his sons Herbert and Percy also trained as hairdressers – they were still there in 1891 but had moved out by 1901 – Percy had a hairdressing business in Foots Cray, Herbert moved back to Sittingbourne to run a similar shop front.  So when Walter died in 1907 after 30 years at the shop, the business moved out of the family to Frank Dunk, although Frank kept the ‘W S Bloxham’ name for a while.

Frank Dunk may have been working for Walter; he was certainly in the trade, in 1901 he was living in an overcrowded house in the recently built Abernethy Road (part of the Firs Estate), described as a ‘Hairdresser and Ornamental Hair Worker.’ He was born in Hastings in 1878 and by the next time the census enumerators called he had married Elizabeth in 1902 and had a son, Leslie born in 1905 and were living above, the shop.  They were still all there in 1939.

Frank remained at the shop until the late 1950s – a tenure of around 50 years, he died in 1960 in Lewisham in his early 80s.  After this the shop was empty for a while and then became briefly an estate agent, an insurance broker and then was used by Lewisham Auto Electrics.  Since around 2008 it has been ‘home’ to a second hand white goods shop – Sey Appliances.

There was an Employments Agency which supplied drivers from the mid-1960s and later a Fancy Dress shop, it isn’t clear whether 328a was a split front or these were businesses carried out from the first floor.

For much of its life 326 Lee High Road (left of picture below) was part of the Victoria Wine chain – it was there in 1881 and their tenure remained until the early 1960s – although there was a different manager there in each of the early censuses; in 1939 the tied accommodation above was occupied by the appropriately named Frank Porter. The chain was certainly in operation from the 1860s but was taken over in the 1920s by, what was to become, Allied Breweries. The shop front was to become a laundrette afterwards, initially, the wonderfully named McClary Easy Self-Service Laundry, but in its latter years, in the mid-1980s, the more prosaic Coin Laundry.  It had probably moved to the corner of Market Terrace in the late 1980s, I certainly don’t recall it being there in the 1990s. In recent years it was a café called Women of Destiny (whose canopy is still there), then a signage free second hand shop and more recently a series of knitting supplies and a vintage clothes and alterations shops.

For its early life 324 was a butcher’s shop – in 1881 it was run by James Hall who hailed from Portsmouth and his wife Annie; they had retired by 1890 and the business had been taken over by Charles Lintott.  Lintott didn’t last long there with the business run for most of that decade by Louis Dyer but Herbert Collingwood was there when the census enumerators called in 1901.

From 1911 until the mid-1920s it was owned by Thoroughgood and Co and by the late 1920s it had been bought out or sold to another chain of around 130 butcher’s shops across southern England and London, R C Hammett, who by that stage was owned by the Dewhurst Group.  They had moved just down the road to 274 by 1951.

324 became a greengrocer in the 1950s and 1960s, run by Thomas Stevens and then Frank Tuckey. From the early 1970s it was a family run DIY shop (pictured above in 2008) – iit was run by a mother and son and latterly the son on his own. There was the wonderfully overpowering smell of freshly cut wood when going into the shop which emanated from the cellar where it was stored and brought up through a trap door.  The shop was crammed with almost everything that would be needed for a DIY project and for ‘trades.’  It would be the first point of contact for most home improvement tasks – the man who ran it friendly, knowledgeable and helpful; it was an ‘old school’ shop where customers genuinely seemed to matter.

Despite the growth of DIY superstores in the area, the shop continued although from the early 2000s the range deteriorated a little but the harbinger of death proved to be Red Routes – the passing ‘trade’ trade was unable to stop during peak hours and the level of stock that could be carried reduced.  My forays there tended to be less successful than they had been and by 2011 the shop had gone. After a year or two empty, the business was taken over by Lewisham Pharmacy around 2014, while the trade is different, the customer ethos of the predecessors has continued.

We’ll leave the parade here until the next post, which will cover the shops at the Bankwell Road end of the terrace.

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.

The photographs of 324 are screen grabs from Streetview in 2008 and 2018.

Olive Llewhellin – A Lewisham Suffragette Activist

During 2018, in the centenary of (some) women getting the vote, Running Past celebrated the militant Lewisham branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union.  The name of Olive Llewhellin was mentioned in several posts, including a section within a post on activities in Lee and Hither Green.  Her significance though was a little understated, largely due to an error in court and newspaper reporting where she was incorrectly referred to as Margaret.   This post corrects this and tells Olive’s story.

Olive was one of many suffragettes who refused to register in the 1911 census; she was living at 114 Burnt Ash Hill – where the only occupants listed were her mother Sarah Jane and her sister Daisy. Olive’s activity was a mixture of militancy and organisation. She was arrested at least three times– the first time was with fellow Lewisham branch member Clara Lambert in late January 1913 after the smashing of the windows of the Hamburg American Line in Cockspur Street off Trafalgar Square. While Olive was remanded in custody, unlike Clara, she was later discharged (1).  One of her arrests may well be pictured below; it is a picture in her adopted family’s collection, they believe it to be Olive.

She was arrested in Downing Street in the spring of 1913 for smashing the window of the Chief Whip at number 12 (2).  In all the press reports, she was listed as ‘Margaret.’  Later editions of ‘The Suffragette’ corrected the mistake reporting the date that she was due to be released from Holloway in late April 1913 (3). Olive is listed in the roll of imprisoned suffragettes.

The severity of Olive’s sentence  was raised by Keir Hardie in the House of Commons in relation to the proportionality of the fine and whether there was an instruction to treat suffragettes differently to male defendants convicted of similar ‘crimes’.  Olive was still incorrectly referred to as ‘Margaret.’  He pointed out that a Mr E W Hills  who smashed windows valued at 2s 6d (12½p) at the WSPU Offices at Lincoln’s Inn House, was fined 5s (25p) or 7 days imprisonment.  Olive was fined £2, had £2 2s costs awarded against her, and had to pay for the window, also valued at 2s 6d, a total of £4 4s 6d – over 33 times the total penalty of the male defendant.

If there was any doubt as to her time in Holloway, her ‘adopted’ family still have the lovely portcullis brooch given to imprisoned suffragettes.

Olive was also arrested as part of protest by the Cymric Suffrage Union, which she was also a member of, due to her Welsh ancestry, when Lloyd George refused to see a deputation later in 1913 (4).

Olive was the driving force behind the Lewisham WSPU banner, above, (5) – she had designed a well-received poster for the office window in 1912 (6). This seems to have led to her designing the banner (7) and being in charge of the fundraising for it (8).  She is pictured bottom right below, with Caroline Townsend to her left; above her to the left is Clara Lambert and a Miss Warwick to the right (9).

Olive was Branch Treasurer from early 1913 (10) and briefly acted as Branch Secretary in mid-1913 (11). She was an occasional speaker at the public meetings held most Sunday evenings at 7:00 in Lewisham Market – such as on Sunday 21 September when she spoke with Eugenia Bouvier (12).

Olive had been born on 8 October 1888, in Lewisham, and lived at 114 Burnt Ash Hill (a house probably built by John Pound) from around 1899 – her father appeared on the electoral register there from that year. She is pictured below aged 7.

Her parents were Arthur Jones Llewhellin, the mother was Sarah Jane (nee Thomas) – both were from Pembroke Dock in south west Wales, where they married in 1873. Arthur worked for the Inland Revenue and the family moved around a lot with children being born in Dublin, the Potteries, Malvern, Greenwich and Lewisham (Olive).

In terms of the local WSPU branch, both Sarah, Olive and her elder sister Ethel were active members – they were included in the branch photograph probably taken in mid-1913 at 3 Ravensbourne Park.  Sarah is second from the left on the back row, Ethel is on the front row with her niece on her lap, and Olive is to the right of her (13).  There is detail on the rest of group in the post on the Lewisham WSPU Branch.

Sarah was widowed in 1906 and listed as living on her own means in the 1911 census; times obviously became harder for the family after Arthur died in early 1911. 114 was the first house in that part of Burnt Ash Hill to be split between two households – all the others had gone the same way be the time the 1920 Electoral Register was complied though. Sarah was mentioned several times in ‘The Suffragette’ for donations, producing food for sale and catering, including for the Annual Branch meeting in 1912 (14).

Olive and the rest of the family had moved on by the time the women were able to vote in Parliamentary elections in Lewisham.  By 1927 she was living in the Stockwell/Camberwell borders at Dover House on Cormont Road – she registered from there as a teacher and also corresponded with Chrisatbel Pankhurst, following the death of Emmeline in 1928 (see above). Dover House is a large Victorian mansion block on an estate created by a family of Protestants fleeing religious persecution in France in the 17th century centering on Myatt’s Fields.

She was living in Poole in Dorset in 1939, she later returned to London –she died in Wandsworth in 1972 – she is photographed below in her later years.

Notes

  1. The Suffragette 31 January 1913
  2. The Suffragette 04 April 1913
  3. The Suffragette 25 April 1913
  4. The Suffragette 13 October 1913
  5. The banner is part of the collection of the Museum of London, as is the photograph, the Museum allows its use for non-commercial research such as this – add exact link
  6. The Suffragette 25 October 1912
  7. The Suffragette 4 July 1913
  8. The Suffragette 20 December 1912
  9. The photograph of the Lewisham Banner is part of the collection of the Museum of London who allow its use for non-commercial research such as this
  10. The Suffragette 24 January 1913
  11. The Suffragette 1 August 1913
  12. The Suffragette 19 September 1913
  13. The branch photograph is part of the collection of the Museum of London, who allow its use for non-commercial research such as this
  14. The Suffragette 25 October 1912

I am indebted to Ruth Knapton for this post; Olive was ‘adopted’ as family by one of her friends; her photographs and some papers relating to her WSPU activity have been passed down within that adopted family to Ruth.   The photographs that are used here are done so with Ruth’s permission but remain her copyright.

Census and related data comes via Find My Past; the Electoral Register information comes through the always helpful Lewisham Archives.

87 Old Road – From Lee Working Men’s Institution to Chiesmans & Flats

A while ago Running Past covered the Lee Centre – originally a hall and meeting place built in the late 1880s originally known as the Lee Institute ‘For the use and benefit of the men and lads of Lee.’   There was similar organisation and building less than 50 metres away when it was built – it was known as Lee Working Men’s Institution.   The building and its successor, which was a warehouse for Chiesmans store, have an interesting history.

With the words  ‘working men’ is in the name one could be forgiven for thinking that Lee Working Men’s Institution was, perhaps, akin to a working men’s club – somewhere for the working class of Lee to meet.  It was nothing of the sort; it was very much the preserve of the wealthy of the parish – although this wasn’t how they saw themselves.

The original venue for the Institute was in Boone Street, numberless, but between 9 and 11 in the 1870 Kelly’s Directory, its likely location is shown below.   It opened its doors in September 1854 – to a packed room, with a number outside, its chairman, a Mr Bennett of Blackheath suggested that members should ‘recognise no class – the corded jacket should have as much respect as the black coat.’  It was seen as a means of sharing knowledge through lectures and the printed word – a lending and reference library and reading room books and newspapers (1).  Unlike equivalent halls elsewhere, there was to be no popular entertainment – musical hall type acts or the like.

The original plan was for members to deliver lectures on their trades so that others could learn from them (2).  In practice though most of the lectures seem to have been given by Dr William Carr, the local GP – who gave talks on subjects ranging from ‘Low Prices and How to Profit from Them’ (3) to ‘Life in Russia’ (4).  A recurring theme though was poverty, drunkenness and overcrowding amongst the poor in the neighbourhood – Carr lecturing on this in 1864 and ‘gave great satisfaction’ to a ‘large attendance’ (in the small hall) (5); it was a subject that he returned to in 1871 (6).

Other lectures in 1868 were noted to include the dwellings of the poor, Trades Unions (7).

The Institution was home to a variety of other meetings, including Deptford and Greenwich Unemployment Relief Fund in 1866 (8) as well as the Lee and Blackheath Horticultural Society.  A frequent speaker there was  also Dr Carr, who on  New Year’s Eve 1868 gave the 3rd in a series of, no doubt, riveting lectures on ‘The food of plants and the sources from whence it is derived: the absorption and circulation of fluids and respiration.’ There is no report as to the numbers attending and the impact that it had on the trade of the neighbouring pubs, notably the Woodman (9).

By 1866 they had started to look for larger premises than their small room in Boone Street and were looking at a site around the junction of what is now Kinsgwood Place and Dacre Park – ‘the very centre of Lee’ (10).  By this stage they had around 500 members and included a temperance society ‘which found a home within their walls’ as they recognised that ‘their great rival’ was the public house (11).  This temperance society seems to have become part of the national Band of Hope by 1871 (12).

By 1868 the land had been bought and there was a fund of £400 that had been put aside for the building work (13), which was added to later that year by a bazaar which was held in the grounds of Blackheath College (now Blackheath Hospital) in Lee Terrace and took over £400 on the first of 3 days (14). The Institution ran ‘benefit clubs’ for the poor along with a ‘coal club’ too (15).

The move from Boone Street took until 1877 to happen though – there seem to have been problems with the site on Dacre Park and then issues with permissions from the local Board of Works, these delays seem to have cost the Institution as, by 1875, despite the regular fetes and bazaars they had only £600 in the bank towards the likely costs of £1100.  A contract was signed though with Messrs Gates of Lee and Eltham to build on a new site in Old Road, on what is now behind shops on Lee High Road (16).

It took another two years for the Institute to open in October 1877 – it was described as

comprising a library and reading room on the ground floor, with club and committee rooms above and in (the) rear a hall, well lighted, with seats for 400 persons; there is a library of 800 volumes and the reading room is well supplied with daily and weekly newspapers and periodicals.

Similar fayre continued in the new home for the Institution, although without the inimitable Dr Carr who died in 1877.  This included a winter series of ‘penny readings’ where members recited poems, gave readings and sang relatively serious songs, ending with the National Anthem (17) .  With a larger venue, classical chamber music began to be offered to the locals of Lee (18) – although sometimes with ‘moderate’ audiences (19) and also it became a venue for amateur dramatics (20) The Horticultural Society continued to meet there and put up a lean to enable the growing of peaches (20).

The move seemed to be a success with 1000 members reported in 1880, with popular life assurance and sickness benefit schemes, the coal club continued and the Lewisham, Lee and Blackheath Buidling Society, formed in 1877, was based there. There was still a debt on the building but this was being paid off (22).  In some ways the Institution was becoming the very model of self-help suggested by the eminent Granville Park resident Samuel Smiles.

Political meetings started to happen by the mid-1880s in a way that would have been perhaps frowned upon by those who set up the Institute, with meetings in opposition to what became the Local Government act of 1884 which would have impacted on the power of many of the leading lights of the Institute, Liberal Party hosting held there during the 1885 General Election (23) as did the sitting Conservative MP, Viscount Lewisham (24)

Children’s entertainment had been added to the repertoire of the Institute by 1885 including the dissolving view entertainment – a form of magic lantern (26).  Around the same time quadrille classes started to be offered – perhaps the salsa of its day (27).

It is clear that there were issues with the structure from an early stage – it was noted in an unrelated newspaper report that the building had suffered from structural problems, leading to a decision not to renew a musical licence in 1886. (28)

During the 1880s it seems that any pretensions of this being a working men’s club had disappeared and it was more commonly known as the Lee Institute. Penny readings continued into the 1890s (29).  The structural problems that had led to the decision not to renew the musical licence appeared to have been sorted out as the Kentish Mercury reported in early 1895 that the Institute was ‘now available for concerts and kindred entertainments.’ (30)  This was to include several variety hall type evenings, which the original founders would no doubt have frowned upon and would have been more akin to the entertainment offered at the Lee Public Halls 15 years before (31).

Kelly’s’ Directory noted the continued presence of the Lee and Blackheath Building Society from 1890, as well as Tax Offices in the 1901 edition.  However, by 1906 there was no mention of the building, with the Building Society having switched its operations to the opposite side of the road in the St Margaret’s Parish Rooms.  What had happened isn’t clear, whether the previous structural problems had remerged, tastes and expectations had changed or whether a small area couldn’t support two similar type buildings (the church hall of Holy Trinity, Glenton Road, now called Lochaber Hall, was being planned too).

There was no mention of the site in the Kelly’s Directory until 1914 when 87 Old Road was again home to the Building Society and, more importantly, Chiesmans ‘depositary and warehouse.’

It was to be used by Chiesmans (their shop in Lewisham is pictured above) for many years despite being seriously bomb damaged in World War Two, with the Ordnance Survey cartographers describing it as a ‘ruin’ in 1950 (see below).  It was listed in the 1942 Kelly’s Directory but had gone by 1943.

In the years after the war there were various applications to refurbish and extend the building, including the building of an additional storey on the front of the building for use as a piano store.  These were refused by the post war planners and in the end rebuilding to a uniform height of three storeys was approved in 1951.

Presumably the brick shortages after the war meant that it took a while to be rebuilt – the first post war listing as Chiesmans was in 1959, their usage of the building continued until the mi-1980s.  By that stage the firm had been bought out by House of Fraser who rebadged it as Army and Navy.  It didn’t last long the repository had closed by 1985, with the Army and Navy store in Lewisham closing its doors for the last time in 1997. On the shop site is now ‘probably’ the largest police station in Europe.

In the recent past it has had long periods empty (see above from Streetview in 2008), has been squatted, there were attempts to set up a indoor combat venue and was used as an auction house.  Planning permission was eventually given for flats in 2014, although the actually building work has stuttered a lot with periods of activity followed by months of inactivity.  The ‘stunning warehouse conversion’ properties were marketed for rent only in early 2019 with the 4 bed at £3,995 a month, 2 bed at £2,150 or £1,900 and the 1 bedroom flats at £1,650.

Notes

  1. Kentish Mercury 30 September 1854
  2. Ibid
  3. Kentish Mercury 17 October 1874
  4. Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser 19 December 1868
  5. Kentish Independent 06 February 1864
  6. Kentish Mercury 11 November 1871
  7. Kentish Mercury 04 April 1868
  8. London Evening Standard 20 November 1866
  9. Kentish Mercury 26 December 1868
  10. Kentish Mercury 03 August 1866
  11. Kentish Mercury 09 March 1867
  12. Woolwich Gazette 05 August 1871
  13. Kentish Mercury 04 April 1868
  14. Pall Mall Gazette 04 June 1868
  15. Kentish Mercury 04 April 1868
  16. Kentish Mercury 21 August 1875
  17. Kentish Mercury 08 November 1879
  18. Kentish Mercury 25 December 1880
  19. Kentish Mercury 27 April 1883
  20. Kentish Mercury 05 November 1881
  21. Kentish Mercury 02 August 1889
  22. Kentish Mercury 24 April 1880
  23. Kentish Mercury 13 November 1885
  24. Kentish Mercury 25 September 1885
  25. Woolwich Gazette 11 July 1884
  26. Kentish Mercury 18 December 1885
  27. Kentish Mercury 09 October 1885
  28. Kentish Mercury 19 November 1886
  29. Kentish Mercury 11 March 1892
  30. Kentish Mercury 08 February 1895
  31. Woolwich Gazette 25 December 1896

Credits

  • The maps is via the National Library of Scotland on a Creative Commons
  • The picture of Chiesmans shop in Lewisham is via e Bay in June 2016
  • Kellys Directoy information is via the always helpful Lewisham Archives