Sweet Memories (2)
Oh, the shame. There’s nothing like pronouncing upon a particular sweet shop, devoting a whole post to it, and then finding you’ve been talking about the wrong one. So, today a blushing Phantom is holding up two spectral hands and admitting that fascinating though the tuck shop on Traflagar Road I went on about on Monday may be, it’s the wrong bloomin’ one.
Huzzah for Neil Rhind who not only gently put me right, but sent me photographic evidence to rub it in. This is far more likely to have been the newsagent/tobacconist that Karen was asking about:
“When my Great Grandfather retired from the Navy, the family moved from Woolwich to Park Row, where they bought a supposedly ‘thriving’ sweet shop on the corner of what is now the car park on Park Row.”
I’d stupidly assumed all shops were on the Traf Road side of the car park, never thinking the shop was actually IN Park Row – when of course in proper olden times, genuine corner shops still sold things instead of having their windows opaqued and being turned into accommodation.
So. In order to get your bearings (it took me a moment) imagine you’re standing just outside the East Gate of the ORNC, about half way between Traf/Romney Road and the Trafalgar Quarters. you’re looking at what is now the municipal car park, up towards the crossroads. The turreted building at the end of the row is Park Row Police Station the other side of the crossroads where the flats are now. Hang on, I’ll get you a map.
Neil tells me that the shop was at Number 24 and between 1937-1940 the proprietor was a Mrs A Pyle. I am hoping this is Karen’s great grandmother? The photo, BTW, was taken by A A R Martin (1901-1974) (I’m always pleased to be able to put a name to a picture) and Neil says there is a copy in the Heritage Centre.
It’s looking at pics like this that reminds me just how damn cute Greenwich used to be (well, it’s quite cute now, but there’s less of the cute bits these days…) Of course the houses that remain on the other end of Park Row up by the park are similar, but…ah, look at those lamp posts.* Those splendid step-up entrances. Those porticos. That car…
Anyway, sorry Karen, Sorry guys. I’ll be the one in the sackcloth cloak and charming ashes tifter then…
Graham, of the fabulous Greenwich Meridian site has sent me this picture from an original postcard published by Henry Richardson (Harriet, sit up straight at the back there!) which shows a very marvellous view of pre-power station Greenwich, including Park Row from around the turn of the century. Enjoy, folks.
Sadly the sweet shop is hidden behind a chimney pot on the old Royal Naval School, but there is much else to enjoy. Trinity Almshouse’s little tower actually stands out instead of being dwarfed by the power station. The Isle of Dogs is a mass of factories, as is the peninsula. East Greenwich is pretty much uniform in height. And I’m most intrigued by the cylinders on the roof of the Royal Naval School in the foreground. Yet another pic I’ve never seen before – thanks to both Neil and Graham for cheering up a dull Friday.
*Silly question, completely off-topic, to general Londonistas – I was up in Charlotte Street the other day and outside the newish Charlotte St Hotel is the most incredible pair of ancient street lamps. They’re so fancy they don’t even look English, more like something you’d see in Paris. I don’t remember them from before – anyone know whether they’re original to the street or if they’ve been discovered in a salvage yard?
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