Tag Archives: Penfolds (Vauxhall)

Lee High Road’s Lost Baptist Chapel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes

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

Credits

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

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

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

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

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

2-4 Burnt Ash Road

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

6 Burnt Ash Road

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

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

8 Burnt Ash Road

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

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

10 Burnt Ash Road

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

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

12-18 Burnt Ash Road

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

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

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

20 Burnt Ash Road

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

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

22 Burnt Ash Road

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

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

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

24-26 Burnt Ash Road

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

28 Burnt Ash Road

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

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

30 Burnt Ash Road

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

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

Penfold’s Showrooms

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

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

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

Sainsbury’s

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

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

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

Credits

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

(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

36 Old Road – A Story of Buses, Toffee, Crash Repairs and the Lord Mayors Show

Next to the Old Road entrance to Manor House Gardens, more or less opposite Bankwell Road, is a nondescript gateway; currently it is to a building site where work has been paused for a couple of years. Before that, for 25 years or so, it had been home to the crash repair workshop of Penfolds Vauxhall dealership. It is a site with a varied history which will be explored here.

The site had been part of the estate of one of the large country houses of Lee, Cedar House, which was on what is now the north western corner of Aislibie Road. It originally had an estate that the covered the western side of Aislibie Road, down to the Quaggy. James Halliburton Young, had lived there from 1841, perhaps a few years earlier, probably until his death in Ceylon in 1883; he had largely merged the estate with that of the neighbouring Lee House. Apart from the area around the Cedar House itself, the rest of the combined estate was sold for development in the 1880s.

The rump of the estate of Cedar House was itself sold for development in the early 1890s, while the House was still standing in the 1891 census, but marked as unoccupied. The houses on the eastern side of northern end of Aislibie Road and the southern side of the eastern end of Old Road were built by a Surbiton based builder. There remained a small area behind it which was used by a variety of industrial uses – it is shown below as the grey area to the south of Old Road (on a Creative Commons via the National Library of Scotland)

The first occupants appear to have been Thomas Tilling’s bus company, they seem to have moved into 36 Old Road soon after Cedar House had been sold. This was around 1901, or perhaps slightly before, when the use was listed as omnibus stables in Kelly’s Directory.

Thomas Tilling was a large pre-nationalisation bus company which had its roots in horse drawn carriages in the 1850s.  Within a few years of moving to Old Road they had 7000 horses in around 500 stables, of which Old Road was just one. In the Lewisham, Lee and Blackheath area they had bases in

  • Grotes Place, Shooters Hill Road and Tranquil Vale in Blackheath;
  • The Salisbury Yard in Lewisham; and
  • Brandram Road, Carsten Mews, Lee Road, Lee Green as well as Old Road in Lee.

Source – eBay November 2018

They expanded into motor buses from 1904, which rapidly replaced horse drawn transport; horses only lasted another 10 years, when the remaining ones on a route from Honor Oak to Peckham were conscripted. Many of sites used by the firm were sold or relinquished as the need for stables disappeared. The Shooters Hill Road site has been given up by 1914 (1).

Old Road was retained though, changing from a stables to a small coach works. The other main local site at the time was Salisbury Yard, behind the Sailsbury pub on the High Street which was the main local garage until Tillings took over Catford Bus Garage in 1920. Salisbury Yard, became a bus factory, known as Obelisk Works. Tillings stayed in Old Road until the late 1920s. The remains of the stables though were visible until the housing started to be developed around 2015, they are pictured to the right in the Planning Application for the site.

After Tillings moved out the new occupants from 1929 were J Whitehouse and Co, who were Confectionery Contractors. Sadly, little is known about the company, they certainly weren’t a well known brand and presumably made either for others or loose, unbranded chocolates and sweets.

One local memory of the factory was of a neighbour in Aislibie Road, when the former neighbour was a child they recalled being given free toffee through a now bricked up doorway.

Whitehouse and Co remained in Old Road for almost 30 years, they were still listed in the 1948 Kelly’s Directory, but had gone the following year.  The reasons for their departure aren’t certain. However, like all sweet manufacturers they are likely to have struggled during and after World War 2. Sweets and chocolates were rationed, with allowances varying between 16oz (454g) and 8oz (227g) per month from 1942 during the war, and 12oz (340g) after 1945.

The site seems to have been empty for several years but was then taken over by John Edgington and Co Marquee Manufacturers. Unlike their predecessor, it is a company that has a well documented history. The roots of the company go back to the early 19th century – there were three linked companies all carrying out a similar business in relation to marquees, tents, flags and related products. It started with two brothers Benjamin and Thomas who set up a partnership around 1805; the partnership was dissolved in 1823 but the trade continued in two separate companies.

John Farncombe Edgington was the second son of Thomas, his older brother, also Thomas started his own, business which John assisted with.  John was born in February 1817, his father had been working in Tooley Street in the canvas trade since 1805. By 1832 Thomas’ business was operating from 108 Old Kent Road – a location where the firm traded from until the Bricklayers Arms flyover was built in the late 1960s.

Business grew rapidly with the opening of railways and the use of tarpaulins on trucks. They had high profile clients for their tents in the the shape of Dr. David Livingstone’s first expedition.

Thomas (Jnr) died of an unintentional poisoning in 1852 and his father five years later. This led to John taking control of and merging both the businesses by 1862. John Edgington only lived for another 8 years, he died of pneumonia and exhaustion in 1870. The name though was to live on for another century. The firm was run subsequently by the Hilton family, who were business partners of John Edgington – they supplied Scott’s ill fated expedition to the Antarctic.

From the late 19th century there was a rather macabre part to their business – suppliers of the rope used hangmen. Adverts for their camping equipment appeared in the trade press, including this one in the 1929 British Industries Fair catalogue (via Grace’s Guide on a Creative Commons).

In October 1976 the firm indirectly reformed the single company set up by Thomas and Benjamin in 1805. Benjamin’s firm had been bought out by the camping firm Black’s to form Black and Edgington in 1967. The successor of Thomas, John Edgington and Co merged with Black and Edgington in 1976.

The partial move to Old Road was around 1955; the site seems to have been empty since 1949 (there are no entries in the Kelly’s Directories for the intervening years. ) In the early years it was listed as “John Edgington and Co Marquee Manufacturers”, presumably carrying out some part of the core business. Oddly, they weren’t mentioned in 1960 and when the listing reappeared in 1965 it was listed as a workshop for John Edgington (Exhibitions) Ltd. Their work included making floats for the Lord Mayors Shows. The footage from 1980 may well include floats constructed in Old Road.

The exhibitions section had been set up in 1851, a centenary was celebrated in 1951, oddly with a horse brass (source eBay September 2018).

Edgington’s remained in Old Road until the late 1980s when, Penfolds Motors who had sold their site at Lee Green to Sainsburys, bought a series of sites in the area – including this one for crash repairs, and, 100 metres away a showroom on the corner of Bankwell Road and Lee High Road.  Running Past will return to Penfolds at some point in the future, but if the pause button is ever taken off the housing development, this is what it will look like (Source – Planning Application).

Note

  1. Neil Rhind (1983) Blackheath Village and its Environs , Volume 2 p 401

Census and related data come via Find My Past

Kelly’s Directorys were accessed via the always helpful Lewisham Archives