Beasconsfield Terrace (2)

Westcombe folks will remember last week’s foray into the shops that have lined the little terrace to the South of Westcombe Park Station for the past hundred-odd years. I gaily ransacked Neil Rhind’s splendid History of Blackheath and Environs II for the information, but noticed that there wasn’t anything in the book on the teeny-tiny Station Crescent for me to plunder.

But ask and ye shall receive. I am delighted to be able to give you, in Neil’s own words, the little bit that got missed out from the book all those years ago.

Neil says:

“Never sure why I left out Station Road, Westcombe Park from Volume II. Probably exhaustion. After all, it ran to nigh on 500 pages, all typewriter clack-clack-clack and not word-processed in those days.
Herewith a quick catch up:

Station Road, sometimes Station Crescent and sometimes Beaconsfield Terrace. All on north-west side. More bootmakers than you could shake a stick at.

No 1: 1890. A grocery shop, run by Edward Pogson Barker and always known as Barker’s Stores until 1940

No 2: 1890. Greengrocery for ever. Started by John Cooper, then Zaccheus Harris, a widower, but Zaccheus and Elsie up until the late 1930s.

No 3: All sorts from 1891, starting as an estate agency, then a bakery and a builders’ merchants and from 1896 to 1940 toys, fancy goods, stationery and tobacco products sold by Joseph Allison Sole, then his widow, Isobel.

No 4: From1891 William James Jones, a bootmaker, then the Carter family in the same trade, but from 1905 oilman, hardware shop, and decorator, in the ownership and management of James Caleb Banks, or Caleb James Banks, or Cyril James Banks. Until at least the last (1939-1945) war.

A tiny shop nearer the station was variously a coal merchant’s order office, estate agency, builder, sweet shop, saddler, milliner, bootmakers, draper, ladies outfitter and an upholstery works, and a florist’s stall on the side.

Opposite, a small slip of a shop best known in recent years as the local Post Office (since 1915, closed a few years back) but a dozen or more trades from floristry to yet more bootmaking over the years.”

So, there you have it. Sadly there aren’t any current plans to reprint Volume II in its current form, but keep buying Volume I and Neil’s other book on the bit in the middle, The Heath and we might just show the publishers enough interest to get a revised reprint. In the meanwhile there are some rather fabulous new books to look out for, which I’m itching to get my sticky paws on.

In time for Christmas, we can expect the release of Neil’s latest work, a detailed history of the Paragon and South Row, as well as a couple of ‘fat pamphlets’ he’s been working on with some exciting other historians, one on the Pagoda & Montague House, the other on a rather amazing panorama that was rediscovered a few years ago. More on that at another date.

A History of Blackheath and Environs Volume III is scheduled for Spring.


BTW – apologies to Neil for filing him under ‘mostly’ accurate history. Being a Phantom of errors I simply do not have a section for ‘accurate’ history…

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