Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Dennett's Road, SE14 ................ another story from Chris Taylor

In the 1950s, Dennett's Road ran continuously from its then junction with Queen's Road, southwards and parallel with Lausanne Road, to Mona Road and on up to Arbuthnot Road.  I say “up” because of the slight incline leading towards the increasingly steep Telegraph Hill beyond.

Dennett's Road, 1953
It was a residential street of Victorian terraced houses as far as I can recall, except that halfway “up” on the left hand (eastern) side lay a sweet shop and a barber's shop.

The sweet shop had a central door leading into a small interior and the customary counter across.  Behind, on shelves, was the stock of sweets in big glass screw-top jars from which they would be weighed out by the shopkeeper onto manual scales.

You might buy 2oz (two ounces) or a 'quarter' (of a pound) of the sweets of your choice.  For modern metric folk, there were 16 ounces to one pound (1lb) being 453.6g.  Typically, there were Dolly Mixtures, Jelly Babies, Cough Candy, Buttered Brazils, Murray Mints, Mint Imperials, and so on and so forth, all served to you loose in a white paper bag.  The unwrapped sticky sweets were a problem when they congealed together or with the bag itself so that you prized them apart and teased or sucked off the paper as necessary.  Rowntree's fruit gums and pastilles, Polo Mints and suchlike were packaged in proper rolls.

This shop also sold bottles of soft drink (fizzy pop), notably the reddish “Tizer” (the Appetizer) and R White's “Cream Soda” and “Lemonade”.  When you returned the empty bottle you'd get back 3d ('thruppence').  However, out of your pocket money you could be poured a penny (1d) or tuppenny (2d) glass of pop.  The glasses were rinsed out after use and placed back on a tray on the counter ready to be charged again.  So refreshing after a day of lessons at school.

The barber's shop would place a stout board across the arms of the adult chair to raise small boys up to a convenient height for hair cutting with hand-operated clippers and scissors.  Brylcream appealed as a slick finish to one's hair but was discouraged by my sensible mother.   Another barber's shop was to be found in Besson Street, towards New Cross Gate.

The Rising Sun, 2014
On the corner with Rutt's Terrace (cul-de-sac) was “The Rising Sun” PH.

Laying back on a wide pavement from the junction of Dennett's Road with Mona Road, before Dennett's Grove and behind a public telephone box - I think it must have been a dairy (possibly a Welsh dairy?), that is to say a shop selling milk, dairy products and groceries.  In particular, I remember its delicious cheese straws.

The next turning south, Walsham Road led to an entrance to Edmund Waller Primary School (infant school end), before the end of Dennett's Road at Arbuthnot Road.

Text © Chris Taylor, 2016

Pictures; detail of Dennett’s Road, 1953, historical map extract courtesy of Southwark Council at Historical map extract courtesy of Southwark Council at http://maps.southwark.gov.uk/connect/southwark.jsp?mapcfg=Historical_Selection&style=historical&banner=historical.
 with mapping provided by Landmark Information Group and   the Rising Sun, Dennett’s Road, 2014, courtesy of Transpontine, http://transpont.blogspot.co.uk/?m

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