The Past and Present of Croydon's London Road

78 London Road: Oliver Gold

25 September 2015

The current occupant of 78 London Road is Oliver Gold, an independent estate agency which opened in 2014.

Oliver Gold, 78 London Road, August 2015. Photo: author’s own.

1870s–1880s: Construction of the building, and Joseph Campbell, draper

Number 78 was built in 1873, along with its neighbour at number 76, on land which had previously formed part of the Oakfield Estate.[1] Its first occupant was Joseph Campbell, a draper, hatter, and outfitter who had previously lived and worked at 27 North End before moving his household to the newly built premises on London Road.[2]

The upper floors of 76 and 78 London Road, March 2013. Note the circular monogram (closeup here) on the lower left, and the date of 1873 in the circular detail on the lower right. Photo: author’s own.

It’s possible, in fact, that Joseph was involved in the building of these premises; a moulded monogram between the first-floor windows of number 78 shows an intertwined “J” and “C”. In any case, he gave his new home the rather grand title of Cairnsmore House, perhaps reflecting his Scottish origins. He and his wife Jane remained here until Joseph’s death in April 1890.[3]

Advertisement for Joseph Campbell in Ward’s Directory of Croydon, year unknown but possibly 1876, courtesy of the Croydon Local Studies and Archives Service.[4]

1890s–1900s: Wines and spirits

After a brief period of vacancy, number 78 was brought back into use with the arrival of distillers’ agent Donald Henry Olison. Born in Camarthenshire in the early 1840s, by 1891 Donald was married with children, living in Battersea, and working as a wine and spirits agent. He moved his family to London Road shortly after this, and remained here until around 1899, when he relocated his operations to Sutton.[5]

Donald’s replacement was Henry Frank Sare, in place by 1899. While it remains unclear whether Donald retailed his spirits directly to the public from London Road, Henry almost certainly did, being listed in Ward’s 1899 street directory as a wine & spirit merchant. He did not remain long, however, and was replaced swiftly in turn by another wine & spirit merchant known as David Neal.

By 1901, David Neal had become Neal & Co, and the shop was under the charge of Irish-born resident manager Harry R Sergeant (or perhaps Sargent). However, by 1903 all had departed and number 78 once again fell vacant.[6]

Advertisement for Neal & Co in Ward’s 1902 Directory of Croydon, courtesy of the Croydon Local Studies and Archives Service.

1910s: A H Bushell, bootmaker, and the West Croydon Social Club & Institute

The premises remained vacant for the rest of the decade, but by 1910 bootmaker A H Bushell was in place. The proprietor of the business, Isaac Henry Bushell, seems to have preferred to go by his middle name; although he included his full first name on the 1911 census, he signed it as “H Bushell”. He lived on the premises along with his wife Mary and five of their eleven children. Little information survives about his business, however, and it was gone again by 1913.[7]

Next to move in was the West Croydon Social Club & Institute, in place by 1914 but gone again by 1916. Despite the intriguing name, I have been unable to find out anything else about it, and it doesn’t appear anywhere in Croydon street directories either before or after its stint on London Road.[8] The shopfront premises then once more remained vacant for the rest of the decade.[9]

Advertisement for the Gray’s Inn Trunk Stores on page 4 of the December 1922 Croydon Shopping and Entertainment News, courtesy of the Croydon Local Studies and Archives Service. Note that 44 London Road was renumbered to 78 in 1927.

1920s: The Gray’s Inn Trunk Stores

By 1921, however, the Gray’s Inn Trunk Stores had arrived. With a head office at 7–9 Gray’s Inn Road in Holborn, by 1922 the company also had branches on Euston Road and Liverpool Street. Its trunks were “mostly of the type built of three-ply wood covered with waterproofed canvas and bound by bent-wood hoops, the corners of which [were] protected by brass fittings”, and it also offered suitcases, bags, music cases, and “General Fancy Leather Goods”.[10]

An early-1920s Gray’s Inn Trunk Stores advertising van. The body of the van is made to resemble one of the company’s trunks. Image taken from an article on page 469 of the 20 November 1923 The Commercial Motor, reproduced by permission of the Commercial Motor Archive.

1920s–1950s: John D Swede, leather goods and hairdressing

Around 1924, the Gray’s Inn Trunk Stores gave way to John D Swede.[11] Initially simply trading in the same types of goods as his predecessor, by 1939 John had branched out into hairdressing too.[12] By 1947, John’s business had become a limited company known as John D Swede Ltd, and had a second branch at 21 Upper Tooting Road, SW17. It remained at 78 London Road until the early 1950s.[13]

1950s: Philip Raymond, Court Florists

A floristry business named Court Florists was next to arrive, run by a Philip (or possibly Phillip) Raymond. Documentary evidence is scarce, but it seems this may have lasted for much of the 1950s.[14]

The cover of a booklet headed “Guinness Book of Turf Records”, with a photo of a jockey on a brown horse taking up much of the rest of the cover.  Below the photo is the text “with the compliments of A. & P. Stallion Ltd.”
A & P Stallion promotional edition of the Guinness Book of Turf Records (Fifth Edition), c.1968. Image provided by Guinness Record Book Collecting, used by permission.

1960s–1970s: Don Richardson and A & P Stallion, turf accountants

By mid-1965 the use of the premises had changed yet again, with the arrival of Don Richardson, turf accountants — in other words, a betting shop. This was part of a small chain set up by Donald William Richardson in New Malden a couple of years earlier. By mid-1966, the company also had branches at 188 and 542 London Road, and by 1967 it had half a dozen branches spread across Croydon, Kingston, and New Malden.[15] However, around 1968 the London Road branches were taken over by another bookmaking firm, A & P Stallion, and Don Richardson (Croydon) Limited was dissolved as a company in November of that year.[16]

This was A & P Stallion’s first foray into Croydon, but it was well-established elsewhere in London, with at least 15 other branches in places including Charlton, Clapham, Pimlico, and Southwark, plus an administrative office on Newington Causeway.[17] Around 1972, the company moved its Broad Green branch from 188 London Road to 272 London Road, and opened a new branch at 6 Central Parade, New Addington. It continued to trade at 78 London Road until around 1974 or 1975, at 542 London Road until around 1976, and at 272 London Road until around 1977 or 1978.[18]

1970s–1990s: Moore Vaughan Maclean & Partners

Next to arrive at number 78 was a firm of consulting engineers known as Moore Vaughan Maclean & Partners. Founded in 1966 and previously located in Suffolk House on George Street, it was on London Road by mid-1977 and remained until around 1997, when it moved to Purley Way.[19]

Moore Vaughan Maclean & Partners worked on civil and structural projects, providing services including “Structural Assessments, Design of new Structures in all the commonly used materials, and Site Supervision.”[20] It seems to have felt the need for expansion during its two decades on London Road — at some point, it added a narrow, single-storey, freestanding outbuilding on the land at the back of number 78, which it used as a drafting studio.[21]

2000s–2010s: South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLaM)

By October 2000, number 78 was in the hands of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLaM), which used both the main building and the outbuilding at the back to provide community mental health services to children and adolescents.[22] Facilities on the site included a recreation room, an art room, a laundry room, and a video room, as well as meeting rooms, interview rooms, and offices.[23] SLaM sold both buildings in early 2014 — the main building in February and the outbuilding in March.[24]

2014–present: Oliver Gold

Oliver Gold estate agency opened at number 78 some time between May and October 2014. Much of its business is rentals, with a focus on South London. As of 2015, it has no other branches, but company director Junaid Mahomed told me he has hopes that the business will expand in the future.[25]

Window display at Oliver Gold, 78 London Road, September 2015. Photo: author’s own.

Thanks to: Junaid Mahomed and Shafiq Noormohammed of Oliver Gold; Martyn Tovey of Guinness Record Book Collecting; Michael Dyer of Barnes Harrild and Dyer; the Commercial Motor Archive; the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust; the Planning Technical Support Team at Croydon Council; all at the Croydon Local Studies Library; and my beta-reader Kat. Census data and London phone books consulted via Ancestry.co.uk.

Footnotes and references

  1. See my article on 76 London Road for more information on the break-up of Oakfield Estate and the construction of numbers 76 and 78.
  2. The 1874 Post Office Surrey directory lists Joseph Campbell on London Road. Ward’s directories list Joseph Campbell, Cairnsmore House, from 1876 to 1890 inclusive, initially as a draper “&c” [etc.], then as a draper and outfitter, and finally as an outfitter. An advertisement in Ward’s directory (reproduced here; year unknown but possibly 1876) describes him as a draper, hatter, and clothier, and confirms that he was previously at 27 North End.
  3. See my close-up photo of the monogram on number 78. The 1881 census gives Joseph’s age as 55 and his birthplace as the rather non-specific “Scotland”, and also lists his wife Jane (age 56), daughters Sarah (22) and Esther (19), son Robert (15), grandson John (2), and four servants. Two of the servants are listed with the profession of “Traveller”, so were presumably connected with the business in some way. Joseph’s date of death is taken from the GOV.UK “Find a will” search; this also shows that Jane survived him, as she is listed as “Jane Campbell Widow the Relict”.
  4. This advertisement is bound into an 1893 copy of Ward’s Directory viewed at the Croydon Local Studies and Archives Service. However, this page has almost certainly come astray from an earlier edition and been bound into this volume by mistake during restoration. The colour of the paper is different from the rest of the volume, and the heading is also different — it reads “Ward’s Croydon Directory.—Advertisements.” whereas the rest of the advertisement pages in this volume simply read “Ward’s Croydon Directory.” Moreover, none of the businesses on either side of this page appear in the 1893 volume’s index of advertisers. Finally, Joseph Campbell died in 1890, a couple of years before this volume came out. He arrived on London Road around 1874–1876, and Ward’s 1874 still lists him on North End, so it’s likely the page originally came from an 1876 volume (there is no 1875 edition).
  5. Ward's 1891 directory and the 1891 census both list the property as vacant. Donald Henry Olison is listed in Ward's editions from 1892 to 1898 inclusive (with no profession initially, and as a distillers’ agent from 1893 onwards).

    Donald’s age is given as 48 in the 1891 census, 50-something or 60-something in the 1901 census, and 68 in the 1911 census. His birthplace is hard to read, but appears to be something like “Slanbri Carmarthen” in 1891, “Carmarthenshire Llynbri” in 1901, and “Carmarthen Wales” in 1911. “Slanbri” is very unlikely as a Welsh name, and so the initial “S” is probably a transcription error for “L”. This might be the village of Llanybri, or it might be another settlement that has since vanished. He is living in Battersea in 1891, Sutton in 1901, and Great Yarmouth in 1911. All three of these censuses include Donald’s wife, Mary, and children. (I haven’t been able to find him in earlier censuses.)

    A notice on page 5 of the 1 April 1899 Sussex Agricultural Express states that “Off-licenses for the sale of wines and spirits were granted to Donald Henry Olison, of 156, High-street, Sutton [and another unrelated person]” (viewed online at the British Newspaper Archive; requires subscription).

  6. Ward’s directories list Henry Frank Sare, wine & spirit merchant, in 1899; David Neal, B.S.T.A., wine & spirit merchant, in 1900; Neal & Co, wine & spirit merchants, and Harry R Sargent [sic] in 1901 and 1902; and “Unoccupied” from 1903 onwards. The 1901 census lists Harry R Sergeant [sic], age 58, born in Ireland, wine & spirit merchant, along with his widowed housekeeper Emily Hayward (37) and her 7-year-old son Edgar.
  7. Ward’s directories list the property as unoccupied from 1903 to 1909 inclusive; A H Bushell, bootmaker, in 1910, 1911, and 1912; and unoccupied in 1913. The 1911 census (which was filled in by householders rather than census-takers) lists Isaac H Bushell, aged 62, boot and shoe dealer; his wife Mary, aged 60; and five children, all single, aged between 17 and 37. Maude, the eldest of the latter, was listed as an assistant in the boot trade, perhaps working with her father. The census form also states that the Bushells had been married for 39 years at this point, and had 13 children born alive and 11 still living.

    In regard to what the “H” stood for, the Isaac H Bushell in this census (1911) is a good match in terms of age, birthplace, profession, wife, and children to the Isaac Hy [Henry] Bushell living in Penge in the 1901 census; and a good match in terms of age, birthplace, and possibly profession to the Isaac Heny [Henry] Bushell living in lodgings in Newington in the 1871 census. His profession in the 1871 census is given as “Clicker”, which according to the Hall Genealogy Website could have meant someone involved with either the printing or the shoemaking trade. I don’t know why the business was called A H Bushell rather than I H Bushell.

  8. The street-by-street section of Ward’s directories lists the West Croydon Social Club & Institute at 44 London Road (modern 78) in 1914 and 1915. The alphabetical “Professionals and Tradesmen” section in these directories lists the Club in 1914 and 1915, but not in 1912, 1913, 1916, or 1917.
  9. Ward’s directories list number 44 (modern number 78) as unoccupied from 1916 to 1919 inclusive. There are people listed at 44a, 44b, and 44c during this time, but with no professions included; they were almost certainly private residents on the upper floors. Ward’s 1920 gathers all residents under number 44, but specifically lists “Shop unoccupied”.
  10. Ward’s directories list the Gray’s Inn Trunk Stores from 1921 to 1924 inclusive. Details of head office and branches taken from an advertisement on page 4 of the December 1922 Croydon Shopping and Entertainment News, reproduced here. Quotation with details of trunks taken from an article on page 469 of the 20 November 1923 The Commercial Motor, viewed online at the publication’s archive. Details of other items taken from Ward’s directories and the Croydon Shopping and Entertainment News advertisement; the quotation of “General Fancy Leather Goods” is from Ward’s.
  11. Ward’s directories list the Gray’s Inn Trunk Stores up to and including 1924, and J D Swede thereafter. Kelly’s 1927 directory gives J D Swede’s full first name of John. The Gray’s Inn Trunk Stores remained in business in Holborn for at least a couple of years afterwards, according to London phone books.
  12. Ward’s directories initially list J D Swede as dealing in “Suit Cases, Trunks, Bags and General Fancy Leather Goods”, exactly the same as the Gray’s Inn Trunk Stores. The 1934 and 1937 editions have him as doing simply leather goods, and the 1939 edition lists him as offering hairdressing and leather goods.
  13. London phone books list J D Swede up to and including 1946, and John D Swede Ltd from 1947 to 1952 inclusive. 1947 is also the first appearance of the Tooting branch. The 1953 and 1954 editions list only the Tooting branch (note: the 1953 London edition covers both Croydon and Tooting, while in 1954 it’s the Outer London: Surrey edition for Croydon and the London edition for Tooting — I checked both).
  14. Kent’s 1955 and 1956 directories list Phillip Raymond, Court Florists. From having made many cross-comparisons of these directories with other sources, I suspect that their data may have been gathered a couple of years earlier than their nominal dates. A planning application for an illuminated fascia sign granted on 17 June 1957 includes a diagram for a sign which appears to read “Philip Raymond” (ref A1451, viewed on microfiche at Croydon Council Offices — though the microfiche version is very faint and hard to read). Heath’s 1960 directory lists Philip Raymond, florist (with no mention of Court Florists). I haven’t been able to find either Philip Raymond or Court Florists in contemporary phone books.
  15. Phone books list Don Richardson, Turf Acctnts, at 201 Burlington Road, New Malden, from December 1961 to May 1964 inclusive; at 78 London Road and 201 Burlington Road in August 1965; at 78, 188, and 542 London Road, 201 Burlington Road, and 414 Richmond Road, Kingston, in June 1966; at 78, 188, and 542 London Rod and 195 Lower Addiscombe Road in August 1967 (Croydon edition, so not covering Kingston or New Malden), and at 78, 188, and 542 London Road, 199 [sic] Burlington Road, 414 Richmond Road, and 195 Lower Addiscombe Road in April 1968 (Outer London: Kent/Surrey editions up to and including May 1964, and Outer London: North East Surrey editions thereafter unless otherwise specified). A bankruptcy adjudication notice on page 3367 of the 14 March 1974 London Gazette gives Don Richardson’s full name and also confirms that the abovementioned branches were the only places he traded.
  16. A handwritten note in the records of a January 1968 planning application by A & P Stallion Ltd for continued use of 78 London Road as a betting shop states that “This is an existing betting shop, but has now changed hands.” (ref 68/20/101, viewed on microfiche at Croydon Council Offices). See page 12679 of the 26 November 1968 London Gazette for the notice of dissolution of Don Richardson (Croydon) Limited. A & P Stallion, Turf Acctnts, is listed at 78 and 188 London Road in the September 1968 Croydon phone book, and at 78, 188, and 542 London Road in the August 1969 Croydon phone book. Note that the September 1968 Croydon phone book still lists Don Richardson at 542 London Road; I don’t know why.
  17. A & P Stallion doesn’t appear anywhere in the April 1968 Outer London: North East Surrey phone book, but the February 1968 London phone book lists the abovementioned 15 branches plus administrative office. It also had at least one branch outside the London area; according to Judy Middleton’s history of Hove, it was at 56 Boundary Road, Hove, in 1974.
  18. Phone books list A & P Stallion at 78, 188, and 542 London Road in September 1969 and July 1971; at 78, 188, and 542 London Road and 6 Central Parade, New Addington, in February 1972; at 78, 272, and 542 London Road and 6 Central Parade in March 1973 and July 1974; at 272 and 542 London Road and 6 Central Parade in January 1976; and at 272 London Road in July 1977 (Outer London: North East Surrey editions in 1969 and 1971, and Croydon editions thereafter). The company doesn’t appear at all in the January 1979 Croydon phone book. It does seem to have carried on to some extent elsewhere, though; the January 1980 London phone book lists it at 170 Great Suffolk Street, SE1. This phone book also lists the possibly-related P Stallion Ltd, Turf Acctnts, with 13 branches stretching from Clapham to East Ham.
  19. Founding date of Moore Vaughan Maclean & Partners is taken from the 2001 Old Rendcombian Society Newsletter (PDF), which states that David Charles Vaughan left the firm Mouchel & Partners in 1960 “to practice independently as a consulting civil and structural engineer until in 1966, he became one of three founding partners of Moore, Vaughan, Maclean & Partners, Consulting Civil and Structural Engineers. On his retirement as partner in 1982 he continued as a consultant to the company until 1985.”

    Croydon phone books list Moore Vaughan Maclean & Partners, “Conslt Engs”, at Suffolk House, George Street, in January 1976; at 78 London Road from July 1977 to July 1996 inclusive; and at Airport House, Purley Way, from January 1998 onwards. (Suffolk House is on the south side of George Street, between Wellesley Road and Dingwall Road.) I don't have access to Goad plans prior to 1983 (aside from 1974), but later editions show Moore Vaughan Maclean & Partners at 76-78 London Road in March 1983 and March 1984, and 78 London Road from March 1985 to May 1997 inclusive (this brief expansion into number 76 is described further in my article on number 76).

  20. Quotation and information on the firm working on civil and structural projects is taken from an advert for Moore Vaughan Maclean & Partners on page 67 of Into The 1990s, a publication “Originated by Croydon Council’s Press & Public Relations Unit”.
  21. Michael Dyer of Barnes Harrild and Dyer, next door at number 76, told me that this outbuilding was constructed for Moore Vaughan Maclean & Partners and that the firm used to do its drafting in there (interviewed at Barnes Harrild & Dyer’s offices, 29 July 2015).
  22. The South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLaM) is now known as the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, having gained NHS Foundation Trust status in 2006 (see their website for details). The following information was all provided by SLaM via email (25 August 2015). The earliest property records that the Trust holds for 78 London Road are from October 2000, though it may have owned and occupied the property earlier than this. It used both the main premises and the annex (outbuilding) at the back to provide community mental health services. During some or possibly all of the Trust’s ownership of these buildings, they were occupied by Croydon CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service).
  23. Details of facilities taken from floor plans supplied by SLaM (via email, 25 August 2015).
  24. Information on date of sale provided by SLaM (via email, 25 August 2015).
  25. Opening date of Oliver Gold is from personal observation. Other information provided by Junaid Mahomed of Oliver Gold (in-person conversation, 6 August 2015). It should be noted however that according to a planning application submitted in January 2015, use of the ground floor of number 78 as an estate agency has been permitted only on a temporary basis (ref 15/00357/P, viewed online on the Croydon Council website; see in particular paragraph 5.6 of the Development Management report [PDF]).

    Junaid told me when we first spoke that the company was named after its company director, Oliver Gold, and that said director was closely involved with the day-to-day running of the business. However, a Companies House search in August 2015 revealed that the only registered companies in Croydon with the name of “Oliver Gold” were Oliver Gold Estate Agents Ltd, Oliver Gold Management Ltd, and Oliver Gold Ltd, all of which had only one company director: Junaid himself. When I went back and asked Junaid about this, he admitted to being the company director and said that actually the company was named after a client of his, Mr Gold, and a childhood friend, Oliver (in-person conversation, 15 September 2015). It’s unclear how much credence one can put on this new story.

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