Category Archives: Lewisham History

(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

Advertisements

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.

The Sunday ‘Constitutional’ in Lee

For many working class men and often their children and sometimes their wives and girlfriends, the ‘Sunday Constitutional’ was a big part of the weekend.  The ‘Constitutional’ that we are about to follow is that of the Noble family from 49 Lampmead Road in Lee (below) in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Their life in Lee formed part of the memoirs of their second youngest child, Phyllis, who went on to become Phyllis Willmott, who trained as a Social Worker and later became a lecturer in Social Policy, frequently contributing to journals such as ‘New Society’. Running Past will return to her life and memoirs several times over the next few months.

The house was rented by Phyllis grandparents who had the large front bedroom as well two uncles and a cousin who shared the rear living room. Phyllis mother and father, Harriet and Alec, shared the smaller second floor bedroom – (based on the dimensions of rooms downstairs) it was probably 3.65 metres by  3.02 metres.  Phyllis and her brother and sister were top to tail in a single bed (1)

Sunday morning started with the smells of the night before – the chamber pot (2) containing her father’s urine from the Saturday night at one of the local pubs, often the Duke of Edinburgh (below – eBay Sept 2017). The toilet was downstairs and outside (3).

Phyllis and her her siblings were allowed briefly into her parents bed before going downstairs with her Mum whilst her Dad was allowed to sleep off some of Saturday night’s beer (4).  Whilst her grandmother cooked breakfast, the men folk gradually gathered and planned the route for the ‘Sunday Constitutional’ – there were generally two routes to the Hare and Billet – either via Lee Green and the Old and/or New Tigers Head– left and right respectively below (6).

Source eBay September 2016

While not mentioned, the route up the the penultimate watering-hole, the Hare and Billet, probably involved other stops in ‘the Village’

d0be2f21-0e8c-4820-8402-bfbee3dac1b6

The alternative route to the Heath and the Hare and Billet was via the Swan (currently Elements and before that Rambles Bar) and the Dacre Arms via what was still known then as Love Lane – now St Margaret’s Passage and Heath Lane – pictured as it would have been then (picture via Pub History)

As with the route via Lee Green, other possible stopping places were not mentioned but may well have included one of the pubs in or on the edge of the now gone old housing of Lee New Town, around Lee Church Street – on these only the Swan (top left) remains, the Greyhound (top right), the Woodman (bottom right) and the Royal Oak all having closed.

Whether the children noticed the early 18th century graffiti at their chest height en route is not known.At each of the stops, the children would have ‘liberal supplies of biscuits and lemonade’ (7). While her mother and father disapproved of other parents who left their children outside in the evenings, the Sunday morning ‘walks’ were regarded as an exception (8). However, it seems that the children were allowed to wander off from the Hare and Billet (above) and throw sticks for the the Cocker Spaniel (who also lived at 49) – if water levels are as they are now, this may have been at at Hare and Billet pond (9), rather than the suggested pond at Whitefield’s Mount (below).

The final drinking stop of the ‘Sunday Constitutional’ was described as an ex-servicemen’s club ‘beyond Whitefield’s Mount’ (22) – the most likely location was Point House Club at Point House on West Grove. The house dates from the 18th century and was once home to Grote family, responsible from Grotes Buildings, it became a hotel in Phyllis’ teens and was to become a nursing home for the Miller Hospital on Woolwich Road after World War Two. It is now flats. (11).

The were a couple of other options, both down the escarpment and off Lewisham Road – the probably linked Point House Club and Institute on the wonderfully named Mount Nod Square (roughly where Morden Mount School is). Also there was the nearby Bentley House Club and Institute on Orchard Hill.

Unlike the pubs, the children (and presumably the dog) were allowed in the club and they remained there until closing time but often had to avail themselves of other, closed, pubs toilets on the long walk back to Lampmead Road (12).

The Noble and, no doubt noble, women stayed at home to cook the Sunday roast, oddly this was done separately in the two parts of the household – Phyllis’ immediate family ate upstairs (13). After dinner, the children went to Sunday school at what was referred to as Boone’s chapel on Lee High Road at the far end of Lampmead Road (14), presumably whilst the menfolk slept off their drink and late lunch. Phyllis recalled her Dad having to be woken up with tea before the men again went to the pub when it reopened (15) – the final session of a ‘heavy’ weekend.

Notes

  1. Phyllis Willmott (1979) Growing Up in a London Village p12
  2. ibid p17
  3. ibid p18
  4. ibid p18
  5. ibid p20
  6. ibid p20
  7. ibid p20
  8. ibid p21
  9. ibid p21
  10. ibid p22
  11. Neil Rhind (1987) The Heath p71
  12. Willmott, op cit, p22
  13. ibid p23
  14. ibid p23
  15. ibid p25

Market Terrace – The History of a 1930s Shopping Parade

Market Terrace is a 1930s shopping parade which seems slightly out of place in an area where Victorian and Edwardian housing still predominates, it is Arts and Crafts in style with its mock Tudor beams.  The reason for this seemingly suburban outlier on the SE12/13 borders was that the land it was built on remained an orchard and kitchen garden for one of the larger houses in the area Pentland House until sold by Goldsmiths College in the early 1930s.

In addition to the black and white painted first floors, one of the other features of the parade is the fancy wrought iron brackets from which signs are displayed at right angles to the pavement.  There are now quite a few ‘ghosts’ of departed shops.

The Terrace has been my local shopping parade for the best part of three decades, in that time there has been a gradual evolution, changes often not noticed, unless it was a business that I used regularly. The ‘bookends’ of the Launderette and Lee Green Glass remained constants but much has changed in between.  This post explores not only the changes that I have seen but over the period since Market Terrace was built in the mid-1930s.

As we’ll see, for much of its life Market Terrace was the home to traditional shop types – butcher, baker (alas, there was no candlestick maker), grocer, greengrocer and hairdressers.  As was found in the post on Staplehurst Road shops it wasn’t really until the 1970s that this changed significantly.

C91F57AE-6486-46CD-8924-8138564FCE3D

The launderette is at the Old Road end; oddly it isn’t the long term feature that I had envisaged.  It had only been there a few years when we arrived – If it had coincided with the release of ‘My Beautiful Launderette’ around 1985, it was probably co-incidental.  More likely it was a move of an existing launderette from a little further up Lee High Road towards Lee Green which was there from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s – initially called McClary Easy Self Service Laundry, but latterly, more prosaically, Coin Laundry.

For its first 30 years, the current launderette site was a bakers, initially run by the Fyson family – for most of it was named ‘Bertram Fyson’.    While the name was kept on, Lewisham born Bertrand Fyson had died serving in the RAF in 1942, he had received the Distinguished Flying Cross. From the mid-1960s, it was a second hand car showroom, going through different incarnations each time the Kelly’s Directory was checked.  Before the launderette it seems to have briefly been a Motorcycle showroom – Myers.

272 next door saw only limited variety in its shop types until the early 21st century. It seems to have opened as a confectioner run by a Mrs Wilson until the early 1940s. It became a newsagent just after World War 2 but was listed then listed as a tobacconist until 1980 run by a steady flow of proprietors, none seeming to stay for more than a few years.  This changed in the late 1970s when the shop was taken over by J C Amin, who almost certainly renamed it ‘Jit’s News’ by 1985.  It was probably the first of several Asian-run businesses on the parade, predating the various take-away food shops by perhaps a decade.

It is where we bought our papers (other than an interlude with a shop in Brandram Road which promised to deliver, but frequently didn’t). They were a pleasant couple that ran the shop expanding the sweets, cigarettes and newspapers to the standard local convenience shop fayre. They sold up early in the new millennium, maybe they felt the days of the paper shop were limited; certainly by that stage our reading habits had changed – cutting out local and mid-week papers and a little later moving on line.  Our change in habits was no doubt mirrored by many others, pressure too came from the revamped petrol station over the road which started to sell newspapers and Marks & Spencer branded convenience food.

272 then was home to Gibneys, who stocked similar lines to their predecessors, but they seem to have moved on and by 2012, probably a few years earlier, it was a Polski Sklep – Polish Shop. As it had been over 30 years before, the shop was something of a bellwether, reflecting changes in Lewisham. Since the enlargement of the European Union in 2004 lots of Poles had moved to the Borough, by 2011 there were 4347 Poles here, with Polish the second most frequently spoken language in Lewisham.  While Lee wasn’t one of the major concentrations of Poles, it is not surprising that shops started to open catering to a significant group. During 2018, what appears to be the same shop has been re-branded.

Next door at 274, the shop was a butcher for much of its life – Stendt and Linton, pre-World War 2, R C Hamnett after the end of hostilities – the latter had moved from the next parade of shops up the road at 324 (nearer Lee Green)  where they had been selling meat since 1930.  Hamnetts were part of the Dewhurst Group and remained at 274 until the late 1960s, when it became another butcher, ‘Good Enuf.’  By 1985, possibly a year or two before, the shop front had been split,one side was to become Canton Kitchen – a business that still remains.  The other ‘side’ was a minicab office, Cars of Lee, for many years.  In recent years, though, it has gone through several incarnations – a barber (2012), an international food shop (2014/16) and a beauty salon since then.

No out of town centre shopping parade in South London is now complete without a Southern-US-State Fried Chicken shop of some variety, Market Terrace doesn’t buck this trend.  The first seems to have been one of the south London pioneers of this, Morley’s, set up by a Sri Lankan ‘ex pat’ who lived in Brockley. It may well have been a franchise as it was quickly re-branded as Taste of Tennessee, which it has been there for around a decade.

The shop had started life as a grocer – run initially by the inappropriately named Stanley Butcher, then presumably his son Edgar after World War 2; it changed hands several times after Edgar’s death in the early 1950s.

One of the longstanding shops in the parade was Homesales at 278, the shop had not had tenants for much of its early years but Homesales moved in around 1951, initially trading as furniture dealers, before moving into domestic appliance sales by the mid-1960s and then heating and plumbing. They moved out around the end of the 2000s, their linked building business continued a little further up Lee High Road, on the corner of Lampmead Road until around 2017.

By 2012, probably a little earlier, and the shop front was taken over by Ikinci Adres, a private Turkish club. Behind its black facade it is difficult to know whether the club is still operational.

Next door on the Terrace, 280, started life as what seems to have been a fish and chip shop, in 1936 it had the wonderful name Crusoe’s Modern Fish Buffets, run by the Allaways in 1939, after the war while the fish theme continued it was just as a fishmonger. The trend of supplying cold-blooded animals that live in water, breathe with gills and usually have fins and scales continued into the late 1960s as the shop became Lee Corn Stores. While it isn’t totally clear from the name, it was a pet shop which according to a neighbour who lived above; they described it as ‘very smelly’. While the name continued, Kelly’s Directories from the mid-1970s referred to it as hardware stores.

280 was an off-licence for a while in the 1980s but had become a café by the early 1990s.  It initially traded as Sonny’s Burger hut – from the outside, at least, this seemed to be a bright traditional café – when a café was a caff rather than a purveyor of skinny lattes. It had changed hands by 2012 and had become the ‘Greedy Pig’ although the current signage of ‘Awesome Café’ was there by 2014.

It its early days, 282 was a greengrocer, run by Alice Flanagan who was a 64 year old widow when the 1939 Register was complied. After the war, and probably Alice’s death in 1950, the shop front became a cleaners trading for a while as Kwik Lee Kleaners.  After a short period as car accessories shop, it was taken over by the next door neighbours, Lee Corn Stores.

It was probably separated when 280 became a café and for a while was home to a small supermarkets or convenience store, similar to Jits News lower down, but replacing newspapers for vegetables which were displayed outside the shop – it traded as Grants for much of that time. After being empty for several years it became a seemingly only patchily used gym – Evolve.

Gambling had been illegal on the ‘High Street’ until 1961, and while the change in legislation sounded the death knell for local greyhound tracks such as Charlton and New Cross, betting shops  started to appeared on shopping parades quite quickly.  A firm called Billy White moved into Market Terrace at 284 but the shop was soon taken over by E Coombes, who remained there until around 2011, when they sold some of their more profitable shops to Jennings, who still run the shop.

When 286 first opened, it was a tailor, Reg Collins.  After the Second World War and a brief period as a private lending library, Lee Surplus Stores, an army surplus and camping supplies shop opened in the early to mid-1950s.  It was briefly a foam shop and then a showroom for Young’s Cycles (see below) for a few years.  By the early 1990s, it had become an angling supplies shop which has traded under several names including Lee Angling, Mat’s Angling and currently South London Angling – all have also sold fireworks in the autumn both for those celebrating Bonfire Night and, more recently, Diwali and around the New Year.

One of the longest lasting shops on the parade was the cycle shop opened by Ernie (E. H.)Young in the early 1950s.  Ernie, a keen cyclist, had been operating out of split shopfront at 248 Lee High Road (now Billy Vee) since 1946, when  he was 16,; the shop had been funded by a £20 loan from his father. The shop that he moved into, 290, seems to have been empty for much of its life before – although a greengrocer, Charles Hayden, was there in 1951.

Ernie’s brothers George and Ray became involved in the business and shops were soon opened in Southend Lane, Lower Sydenham, and two locations in Trafalgar Road in Greenwich.  All the shops specialised in lightweight racing bike frames, some built by the brothers.

Ernie expanded into 288 in the early 1960s, that shop had been a ladies hairdresser for virtually all of its previous existence – run in the 1930s by ‘Lynn’ and then Charles Forte and latterly Charles and Lenore.  In the 1980s they also used 286, mainly as a showroom, but I don’t recall it being still there in the early 1990s. The other shops seem to have closed down by the 1980s although they took over a shop in Coney Hall on the Croydon/Bromley borders.

The shop became a well-known part of the community, offering a wide range of cycles, not just the lightweight racing bikes that they started with but children’s bikes (my first contact with Ernie), second-hand bikes, servicing and accessories.  On days that I didn’t run to work, I would often see Ernie cycling in the opposite direction down Verdant Lane, heading towards the shop.  The business was passed onto his son who sold it on in the late 1990s to Bob Donnington who had worked for another well-known local cycling name, Holdsworth.  The Young’s name lived on until the early 2000s, when it was renamed The Bike Shop. It is still a cycle shop, Pedal It, who still tries to emulate the business ethos that Ernie created, although has retreated back into a single shop front – 288 was used briefly as a printers but opened at the end of 2018 as a hair and beauty salon.

Ernie died in 2015 but the ‘ghost’ of the original shop lived on until late 2018, until then, there was the small sign of a departed shopkeeper hanging from a wrought iron bracket .  The name lives on too in Coney Hall, although the business is no longer in the family,

The last shop on the parade is currently Lee Green Glass which has been there since the early 1980s, along with workshops behind.  It had started life as a wallpaper retailer, Lilias, that had evolved into an ironmonger then a builder’s merchant by the mid-1950s.  It was then Crawford’s Domestic Stores for two decades before Lee Green Glass took over.  While not picked up during the trawls through the Kelly’s Directories, it appears that latterly Crawfords was a skateboard shop.

The ‘story’ of the Market Terrace 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 1936.  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.

Thanks and Credits

Thank you to Peter Underwood from the Classic Lightweights cycling website for the use of the early photograph of Ernie Young’s shop– if you want to know more about Ernie Young, and more particularly the bikes he built- it is a fascinating read. But more generally is an interesting site about racing cycling brands and shops from that era.

Thank you to the always helpful Lewisham Archives, particularly Julie Robinson, for access to the Kelly’s Directories.

Census, 1939 Register  and related data comes via Find my Past