Friday, 7 July 2017

Shopping on Well Hall Road in the summer of 1907

Well Hall Parade in 1907
Now I am back with two more from Greenwich’s collection of old photographs.

They are both of Well Hall Road and are separated by just eight years.

Of the two the first offers up much more detail of what this row of shops looked like just over a century ago.

And it is a world away from today.

It starts with those ornate lamps protruding from the shop fronts which may have been lit by oil but I suspect will have been gas.

The chemist,  the fancy draper and the watchmaker, 1907
Then there are the large windows  with their iron frames which have just a hint of ornate decoration, which are topped by the names of the owners some of which will have been painted but others might have been etched on glass.

And finally there are the shop displays some of which adhere to that old Edwardian maxim of pile them high and sell them cheap.

Now I rather think it must either be a Sunday or early one morning as most of the shops have their blinds down, even though some have opened their large canopies.

On balance I would go for a Sunday afternoon sometime in the summer judging by the number of  pedestrians and the way the light is falling.

And for those with an even keener eye for detail there are no tram lines and of course a total absence of traffic bar the solitary horse and cart.

The caption says 1907 and assuming that there hasn’t ben a rapid turn over of shop keepers the shop on the corner with Greenvale Road opposite the Co-op was Mr William’s who was a cycle maker and seems to have left his shop signs propped up outside.

Little change in 1915 on Well Hall Road
And using the same street directory for 1908 it is possible to identify all the shops and their owners up to the chemists run by the London Drug Company.

Nor has much changed in the eight years that takes us up to the second picture taken in 1915.

By then the tram has arrived, there is a little more traffic which might just be explained by the fact that the shops are open and there are a fair few people about.

It is easy to forget that our parade of shops would have been as colourful as those of today and each would have displayed their names on the awnings which on this sunny day were pretty much all down.

Picture; Well Hall Road in 1907, GRW 378, and 1915, GWR380 http://boroughphotos.org/greenwich/ courtesy of Greenwich Heritage Centre, http://www.greenwichheritage.org/site/index.php

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