Friday, 20 January 2017

What's in a name? Pound Place by Eltham High Street in the summer of 1909

Looking south into Pound Place, 1909
“Pound Place is the name of the street on the side of the High Street opposite the Public Library.  

It derives its name from the fact that the old Pound occupied the spot where Mr Cook’s shop now stands at the corner near the High-street.  

The latest Pound was at Eltham Green.”

Most villages had a pound or pinfold.  Any animal left to wander could do a lot of damage and so strays were confined in the pound and the fine to release it matched the seriousness of the offence.

This amounted to 1s [5p] which was paid to the parish constable.   The owner would also be expected to pay for any damage the animal had incurred.

If the animal was not collected in three days it was sold to defray expenses.   Anyone attempting to release the animal without paying was liable to either a fine or imprisonment.

Some of the cottages
All of which is a reminder that names do not come from the minds of city planners or rich landowners intent on lasting posterity but from the experiences of ordinary people.

In the village I now live in the junction of the four main roads was once known as Kemp’s Corner because Harry Kemp set up a chemist shop on one side.

It remained the unofficial name for over half a century and was a recognised meeting place.

And today long after Mr Kemp has all but been forgotten it is now referred to as the Four Banks or Four Banks Corner which is a practical name for a place which does indeed have a bank on each corner and pretty much pushed the official Corporation name of Chorlton Cross into the long grass.

I like this picture which shows Pound Place looking south from the Library.  It is one of two in the collection and dates from 1909. Judging from the leaves on the trees and the shadows this was taken on a summers afternoon and already a small crowd has gathered to witness the photographer capure the moment.

And as ever amongs the adults there are the curious children drawn by the camera.

Sadly we can not make out the detail on the newspaper posters which would pin down the day and confirm that we are sometime in the symmer or early autumn.

The houses were there well before the middle of the 19th century and there was quite a large community living there including Richard White and his family.  Mr White is someone I have featured already.**  He was the village school master and responsible for the collection of the census returns for part of Eltham in 1841.

Mr Cook's shop, 1909
Now I am no romantic and rarely indulge in idle speculation, but I rather think he would have known these cottages and may even have lived in one.

And that is about it although I will go off and hunt down Mr Cook who sold papers from his shop on the corner of Pound Place.

Picture; Pound Place, 1909,   from The story of Royal Eltham, R.R.C. Gregory, 1909 and published on The story of Royal Eltham, by Roy Ayers,

*R.R.C. Gregory, the Story of Royal Eltham, 1909


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