Tag Archives: W H Penfold

Penfold’s – A Carting and Car Firm Part 2 – World War One to 2016

The previous post on Penfolds explored their early years in Deptford and Greenwich and had seen them grow into a sizeable carting business by the beginning of World War One. The second part picks up the story when they switched from horses to motorised transport around the end the war until the last car was sold in the second decade of the 21st century.

Like many local transport businesses, including Thomas Tilling at 36 Old Road (and several other locations) and Pickfords at Lee Lodge and Manor Park Parade, Penfold’s switched from horse to motor vehicles after World War 1 and was renamed to reflect this, WH Penfold and Son, Motor Haulage Contractors. They were to remain at Clarendon Yard, where they had been since 1904, and are now the out buildings for the stunning Hindu Temple, until around 1937.

The original company was wound up that year, and a new one formed, seemingly following the death of Walter Henry Penfold (1879). He was living at 9 Heath Lane when he died.

Control of the business seems to have been with the two sons of Walter Henry Penfold, Walter Albert (1907) and Albert William (1909). In the late 1930s they were living at 14 and 12 Belmont Grove respectively – close to one part of the business that was over the railway bridge (see below). Walter was still there in the 1939 Register, married to Emily, with them was Walter H (1933), the other occupant who was redacted was probably Diana who was born in 1932. Walter was listed as a Managing Director of a Motor Garage; it was incorrectly transcribed as ‘Motor Carnage’ – although it may be appropriate given the roads from New Cross to Lee Green were some of the worst for accidents in London at the time.

Albert William had moved to Chislehurst by the time the 1939 Register was compiled and was listed as a Building & Road Material Transport Contractor (Master). There seemed to be two distinct, but interlinked, businesses – the motor sales and servicing, which we will return to later, and the transport and related activities. We’ll cover this part of the business first.

As we saw in the first part of the story – the family had its roots in carting business but also with links to refuse collection. They brought the northern part of The Cedars estate in the 1920s (1), Upper Kid Brook had flowed through this area and had been dammed to create a pair of ornamental lakes. It is possible that they had rented the area a little earlier than this (2).

Either way, the area was used for a combination of extracting sand and as a tip for building and related rubble – filling both the ornamental lakes and the pits from extraction. Initially they used the bridge from a Belmont Grove for access but their activities seem to have led to its closure (3), there is a clear difference between maps from the late 1950s and those a decade earlier. Similar activities, effectively operating as a skip hire company continued until the 1980s. The picture above is from the post war period the buildings at the back backing onto the railway. The site was sold in the 1980s for the development of St Joseph’s Vale – pictured below.

The first specific mention to the motor vehicle trade relates to 1 Lee Terrace, this was the former stables of The Cedars, a large house on Belmont Hill that still remains, just visible from the street. The stables had been sold off around 1912 to Sydney M Fry, whose business traded as Cedars Garage and was to soon move to Lee High Road – more on them another day. In the early 1920s the site was bought by the Penfold family business (4). It isn’t completely clear how long they stayed at the site (5) which remained in the motor trade until until around 2016 when Stephen James BMW sold the site for development. Originally it seemed that Stephen James were to return, but they ended up at another former Penfold’s site at 321-341 Lee High Road. The core of the stable block that Penfolds used was to remain until towards the end of the 20th century,

It may be that Penfold’s moved on around 1941, in that they appeared that year at 4a Clarendon Rise (now the Hindu temple – pictured below) noted as Penfold’s Motor Engineers. They stayed there until around 1950.

At that point Penfold’s seem to have expanded considerably taking over the shop front of 12-18 Burnt Ash Road, presumably as a showroom. The property had been the base of the drapers George Gooding for decades but had only been partially used since the beginning of World War Two – it is pictured below from the late 1970s or early 1980s.

At around the same time they acquired the site behind – 406-14 Lee High Road, presumably for servicing and repairs – they linked the two sites at the rear. The Lee High Road site had been used by a number of garages and haulage companies, latterly Falconers Transport from the end of World War 2. However, regular readers of Running Past may recall that it was a base for the builders W J Scudamore earlier in the 20th century.

This amalgamated site was to be the base of the firm for around 35 years. For much of that time it was a Vauxhall and other General Motors companies plus the still then independent DAF Trucks. The advert below with the gifted Vauxhall Cavalier GLS was probably from 1981 and no doubt coincided with Alan Mullery’s arrival at The Valley, more interestingly it shows the spread of Penfold’s with several related operations around south east London.

They added the portfolio in the 1970s the triangular site on Lee High Road next to the Quaggy, just down from the Old Tigers Head – this was initially used for second hand car sales (pictured below from 2008). When the blog covered Burnt Ash Road site in early 2020, there were lots of fond memories of time spent working there, it seemed to be a good place to work.

It seems though that in putting together a large site at Lee Green that there were others who could see potential there and the business shut up shop there in early 1985 selling the site to Sainsbury’s. It wasn’t the end of the business though – three smaller sites were acquired, all ones that have been covered in Running Past.

The car sales was from a site at the corner of Bankwell Road and Lee High Road, it had originally been built as a cinema but had gone through a variety of motor based businesses, notably Wittals, but before Penfold’s moved in it was home to Land Carriage Co. who sold caravans.

The servicing was carried out from 152a Lee High Road, on the corner of Eastdown Park – the site had been originally a Baptist Chapel, largely destroyed in the Blitz. The site was developed by Fry’s Ford in the 1960s as the garage and ‘shop front’ for servicing and parts.  Fry’s main showrooms were a little further down Lee High Road into Lewisham.

The crash repairs were carried out from 36 Old Road, a site with a rich history that started (in that site footprint at least) as stables for Thomas Tilling’s buses.

After acquiring the trio of sites around 1985, Penfold’s continued to operate them until around 2006.  Their accounts noted that employment levels fluctuated a lot though – between 62 and almost hundred at one point.  The accounts also note that latterly the sites weren’t owned by them, rather by a separate company, Henry Walters Ltd who had the same Directors, Penfold’s paid rent for the sites from around 2001; there is nothing particularly unusual in this sort of relationship.

The first to be sold was the site on the corner of Lee High Road and Bankwell Road, a combination of red route parking in Lee High Road and one of the early Residents Parking schemes (triggered by the volume of Penfold cars that street parked) led to a decision to join the new and second hand car sales together at 321-41 Lee High Road which they had retained.  The showrooms were replaced by a block of flats.

Car sales were badly impacted by the recession that followed the banking crisis of 2008. There were some signs of recovery for Penfold’s by 2013 when their accounts noted improved trading and the firm expected to ‘maintain an impressive trend (on sales and profit) in a highly competitive market.’  The operating profit was only £90K though, with a loss of £33k the year before – not much in the context of the value of the land. Like a lot of car showrooms and associated businesses in the area, Penfold’s wound up the business in 2016, although the process started earlier. 

There seemed to have been a Vauxhall dealership of theirs that remained in Elmers End, certainly that was the final resting place of the business legally before it was wound up. That site continues as a Vauxhall Dealership.

Penfold’s were not on there own in shutting up shop – other car showrooms locally have gone the same way. The Ford dealer, Frys, latterly Trimoco, closed at around the same point and while Bellamy’s on Burnt Ash Hill survived a bit longer, it closed in 2019 after a brief attempt to trade without the, latterly, Citroen, dealership.

36 Old Road was sold to developers, Old Manor Homes, which had the same Directors as Henry Walters Ltd. and was set up in 2015. Development started around 2016 but stopped midway through the building and company went into administration in 2019. The site was bought by Purelake and the development is currently being finished off.

At the time of writing, in the autumn of 2020, Henry Walters Ltd too were being wound up. 321-41 Lee High Road was sold during 2020 and bought by DCMS Holdings, who rent the site to Stephen James BMW (previously of 1 Lee Terrace, see above); provision in the sale makes it less likely that the site will be developed until after 2028 due to a percentage of profits going back to Henry Walters Directors. 152a Lee High Road has planning permission, and is still owned Henry Walters but will be sold on the open market.

Notes

  1. Neil Rhind (forthcoming) Blackheath and Its Environs Volume 3
  2. I am sure I have seen earlier newspaper references to earlier rental, although have been unable to locate them
  3. Rhind op cit
  4. ibid
  5. More work in a post COVID era is needed on the exact timings of their stay at 1 Lee Terrace, this requires time in archives looking at Kelly’s Directories.

Other References and Credits

  • The accounts and related information for Penfolds, Henry Walters Ltd and Old Manor Homes are all in the public domain via Companies House
  • Kelly’s Directory information comes via Southwark and Lewisham Archives
  • The photograph of the pits and rubbish dumping at what is now St Joseph’s Vale is via Lewisham Archives, it is used with their permission but remains their copyright
  • I can’t remember where the press cutting of Alan Mullery came from, I must have copied at some stage from social media – if it’s yours let me know and I’ll credit you!
  • The 2008 photographs of the various sites are via Google Streetview
  • The photograph of the former showrooms is on a creative commons Ken Roe

Many thanks to Neil Rhind for sending me a pre publication draft of the Lee part of his forthcoming third volume and allowing me to quote from it here.

Finally, if there have been any errors in telling the story of the firm, they are entirely mine. My only defence is that the history of the family has been somewhat confusing as they seem to have used a very narrow range of names for male offspring – Walter, Arthur, Henry and William, although mainly the first two. Census and other data not always picking up second names and birth years amongst cousins were similar; Kelly’s Directories often only referred to initials.

Penfold’s – A Carting and Car Firm Part 1 – 1850s to World War One

We have covered Penfold’s Motors on several occasions, most recently in relation to their showroom on Burnt Ash Road. They were a family firm that evolved from Victorian carting to the sale of 21st century cars, but in the latter decades they have left an indelible mark on the Lee landscape through the development and sales of the land they had previously used.

This first part will look at the origins of the firm in Deptford, Greenwich and Lewisham up until just after the First World War; the second part focusing on the years after until the firm was finally wound up in 2016.

The family links to the haulage and carting trade seem to go back to Walter George Penfold who was born in Deptford in 1852, his father was a ‘dust collector’ in 1861 – in more modern parlance a refuse collector or bin man – a typical picture of Victorian dust collectors is below. The family was living in Knotts Terrace, a small street that once ran off Tanners Hill. Walter (1852) was the youngest of six children at home.

Walter (1852) was working as a builder’s labourer in 1871 living with his widowed mother and an older sister, still in Knotts Terrace. By 1881 though he had married Amelia (nee Gosling) were living in Charles Street in Deptford working as a coal porter, this was presumably working on the nearby Thames waterfront. They had two children, imaginatively Amelia (1878) and Walter Henry (1879). Like Knotts Place, the street is no longer there, it is at the northerly end of Margaret McMillan Park (pictured below).

A decade later, in 1891, the family was in Ffinch Street, off Deptford High Street, and Walter (1852) and Amelia now had six children, with Walter listed as a Carman – generally a driver of a horse and cart, although it could be the hire or any combination of driver, horse and cart. This was the beginning of the business that was to eventually become motor traders. It was a small house, close to the railway which survived the Blitz but not post war slum clearance, it is now a neglected bit of ground with several seemingly abandoned cars dumped on it.

By 1893 they had a yard at Greenwich Wharf (at the end of Pelton Street) and successfully tendered for providing an unspecified number of carts, horses and drivers for the local authority (1).  The Wharf was lost to housing a few years ago, having been a behind corrugated iron fencing for years before that.

By 1901 the family had moved to 64 Banning Street in Greenwich, Walter George (1852) was listed as a Cartage Contractor with Walter Henry (1879) and Arthur (1881) listed in the census as a Contractors Journeyman, Carman.

Banning Street was built in various stages during the nineteenth century and like other streets between the river and Blackwall Lane was ‘infilled with small workshops …. all sorts of “back street” industries in among the houses.’ The Penfold house and yard were towards the northern end of the street. Little changed in later decades – it was still marked as a ‘transport yard’ just after World War 2. In the last decade or so, the urban landscape of that area has completely altered – it is a block of flats, aimed at very different sorts of households than the Penfolds were in 1901 with a local supermarket below.

The younger Walter was arrested for being drunk and disorderly in late 1902 and fined 10/- or 7 days in prison (2).

The yard at 64 Banning Street wasn’t the only premises that the rapidly expanding firm was operating from. A trawl through Kelly’s Directories finds several other locations; notable amongst these was Clarendon Yard, 12a Lee High Road, which they used from around 1904. It was down a narrow alley next to the Sultan (now Nando’s), crossing a bridge over the Quaggy – it is the small gap between two buildings just before the Coal Office on the right of the photograph.

Penfolds also had depots at

  • Brayards Road railway arches in Peckham and Christchurch Street in Greenwich from 1907;
  • Creek Street (also known as Copperas Street) in Deptford from 1910; and
  • A site in Sydenham from 1911.

While William George Penfold (1852) was to remain at Banning Street in 1911; Albert had moved out and was a Wharfinger (an owner of a wharf), contractor and carman who was an employer. He was living at 4 Creek St (Copperas Street) Deptford – this may well have been the base previously used by his father’s firm or the firm had been split. The likely site was being developed when the ‘fieldwork’ was done during lockdown, the hoardings had some rather poignant artwork painted by Sam Kerridge at the time.

William Henry Penfold (1879) listed as living at 4 Clarendon Rise, just around the corner from the Clarendon Yard depot in 1911. He had married Frances Overy in Lewisham in 1906 and the census listed his trade as a Cartage Contractors son, assisting in the business. They had two sons Walter Albert (9 April 1907) and Albert William (1909). The house still stands.

One of the organisations that the now father and son business supplied horses to was the Borough of Lewisham, they had been doing this since around the time the Borough was formed in 1900. In 1918 there was a court case, heard at the Old Bailey where the father and son were accused of conspiring with a council official to overcharge the council by falsifying records to the tune of £774 (3) worth around £37,000 in 2020 terms. Had they been found guilty this would probably have been the end of the story, they weren’t though (4).

Walter George (1852) died in 1923, still living in Banning Street, he had a large estate of nearly £19,000 left to his widow Amelia and two former employees; presumably the ownership of the business had been transferred to Walter (1879) by this stage.

One issue worth exploring at this point was grazing – a business that uses a large number of horses needs land to graze them. Lewisham was towards the edge of the city in the early part of the 20th century – there were farms such as, Horn Park and Burnt Ash just beyond Lee Green. There was also some grazing on the Greenwich Peninsula too (see note from Mary Mills). However, it is possible that they rented land at The Cedars from around World War 2 (5) which was north of the railway, they were to buy it along with the stables in the 1920s (6).

The land bought included a pair of ornamental lakes, constructed by damming Upper Kid Brook before the railway took over its valley in 1849. A bridge connecting it to the house, from what is now Belmont Grove, was built at the same time as the railway (7). The lakes were filled in – the easterly one between the wars and the westerly one soon after the Second World War.

We’ll leave the firm at this point – returning after World War One when they switched from horses to motor vehicles. This seems to have been the same for many local transport businesses, including Thomas Tilling at 36 Old Road (and several other locations) and Pickfords at Lee Lodge and Manor Park Parade.

Notes

  1. Woolwich Gazette 07 April 1893
  2. Kentish Independent 05 December 1902
  3. Westminster Gazette 28 October 1918
  4. Pall Mall Gazette 27 November 1918
  5. As we will see later they bought parts of the Cedars estate from the late 1920s, I am sure I have seen earlier newspaper references to earlier rental, although have been unable to locate them
  6. Neil Rhind (forthcoming) Blackheath and Its Envions Volume 3
  7. John Coulter & Barry Olley (1995) Images of London – Lewisham p40

Credits

  • The picture of dust cart is from A Victorian Dictionary via the fascinating Victorian London website
  • The photograph from Lee Bridge towards Clarendon Yard Is part of the collection of Lewisham Archives and is their copyright and used with their permission
  • Kelly’s Directory data is via a combination of the University of Leicester on-line records,  Lewisham and Southwark Archives
  • Census and related data comes via Find My Past (subscription required)
  • Many thanks to Neil Rhind for sending me a pre-publication draft of the Lee part of his forthcoming third volume and allowing me to quote from it here.
    Finally, if there have been any errors in telling the story of the firm, they are entirely mine. My only defence is that the history of the family has been somewhat confusing as they seem to have used a very narrow range of names for male offspring – Walter, Arthur, Henry and William, although mainly the first two. Census and other data does not always pick up second names and birth years which amongst cousins were similar; Kelly’s Directories often only referred to
    initials.

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