The Past and Present of Croydon's London Road

76 London Road: Barnes Harrild & Dyer

28 August 2015

Barnes Harrild & Dyer, a firm of solicitors specialising in immigration law, has been established at 76 London Road for over three decades now.

76–78 London Road, August 2015. Photo: author’s own.

1873: Construction of the building

The building was constructed in 1873 on land which had previously formed part of the Oakfield Estate. The last owner of the estate, Richard Sterry, died in February 1865, and although his house — Oakfield Lodge — was retained, and later became Croydon General Hospital, most of the grounds were divided up and auctioned off in small lots. Of the plots fronting on London Road, the first to be developed was the one which became numbers 60–62, built in 1866 or 1867. Next came number 68, in place by 1872, and then numbers 76 and 78, built in 1873.[1]

Plans excerpted from Oakfield Estate sales particulars from October 1866. “Up” is roughly east, and Oakfield Lodge is in the centre. Lot 1 towards the right-hand side is the location of numbers 72 and 74, and Lot 2 the location of numbers 76 and 78. Reproduced courtesy of the Croydon Local Studies Library and Archives Service.[2]

1870s–1890s: Henry Horsley’s surgery

The first occupant of number 76 was a surgeon and general practitioner named Henry Horsley. Born in Kennington in 1838, he trained at Guy’s Hospital and qualified as MRCS (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons) and LSA (Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries) in 1859.[3] By the mid-1860s he was living and practising at 24 North End, and on 16 August 1870, at the age of 31, he married 25-year-old Sophia Frances Lovell at St Saviour’s Church. He and Sophia moved to London Road by 1876, and by 1881 they had 5 children aged between 7 months and 9 years.[4]

Admission ticket for the opening of Croydon General Hospital on London Road, 27 September 1873. Note “A. G. Roper, Hon. Sec.” — this is Alfred Roper, who was in partnership with Henry Horsley. From the pamphlets collection at Croydon Local Studies and Archives Service (no 116, Pamphlet Box 2, fS70 COL). Photo: author’s own.

Henry initially worked with another surgeon named Alfred George Roper, though this partnership was dissolved in 1879. He practised both at home, and as a surgeon at Croydon General Hospital.[5] Indeed, one might wonder whether he chose to live here precisely because of its proximity to the hospital, which moved to the old Oakfield Lodge around the same time Henry moved to number 76.[6]

A black-and-white photo of a white man in a top hat and dark coat, seen sideways on, with his hand on the door of a carriage. He appears not to have noticed the photographer.
Henry Horsley, from a photograph on page 3 of the 10 March 1909 Surrey Evening Echo.

Henry and Sophia remained here for over two decades before moving up the road to number 160 around 1899. Henry changed his role at Croydon General at this time too, moving from surgeon to consulting surgeon. He continued to practise medicine at home, assisted by his daughter Caroline.[7]

The family moved again around 1907, to a house which has since been demolished but was on the site now occupied by Lidl. They remained here until around 1916, when they moved to Poplar Walk.[8]

Henry died on 8 November 1921, having lived to the age of 83. His obituary in the British Medical Journal described him as “one of several noteworthy characters pre-eminent for their ability and exceptionally high code of ethics [...] all of whom in their day were ardent supporters of the British Medical Association and all the best it stands for. All who knew him will agree he was a credit to his hospital and to his profession.”[9]

An account of an ovariotomy under the care of Henry Horsley in The Lancet, 1880, volume II, issue 2975, page 378, courtesy of the Wellcome Library.

1900s–1910s: E & J Stubbings

Following the Horsleys’ departure from number 76 came the arrival of a drapers and costumiers known as E & J Stubbings, previously located just across the road.[10] This was a family-run business, with siblings Elizabeth, Mary, Emma, Jane, and Matthew all living on the premises and all involved in the running of the shop. It’s not clear precisely which two Stubbingses the shop was named after, but Emma and Jane seem most likely, as Elizabeth was a widow and hence had a different surname.[11]

Matthew’s wife Emily and son John were also in residence. Matthew died in March 1911, leaving Emily as a young widow with four children; however, she continued to live with her sisters in law, and the latter continued to operate the drapers shop.[12]

The family finally departed London Road around 1913, moving to 57 Dingwall Road. Although Emma died in August 1917, the costumiers business continued at Dingwall Road under the name of E & J Stubbings until around 1925.[13]

1920s–1930s: Eittols, J Sokolov, Harris & Co, and M & K Modes

The property fell vacant after the departure of E & J Stubbings, interrupted only briefly by the arrival of a temporary Army Recruiting Office around 1916 and a short-lived Salvation Army Office around 1917.[14] By 1920, however, a ladies’ and children’s outfitter named Eittols was in place. Also trading under the name Bon Marche, this remained until around 1923, when it was replaced by a ladies’ costumier known as J Sokolov. J Sokolov remained until around 1927.[15]

By 1929, the shop had been taken over by Harris & Co, costumiers. This in turn was replaced in the mid-1930s by M & K Modes, likely another clothing shop, in place by 1937 but gone again by 1939.[16]

Advertisement headed “You can rent this set today” with a drawing of an old-fashioned cabinet-style radio set and various details of the service offered.
Advertisement for Good Listening Ltd, 76 London Road, in the December 1946 edition of Addington Tenants Own Magazine (ATOM), found in the firms files at Croydon Local Studies and Archives Service.[17]

1940s–1970s: Good Listening

Little information survives about any of the clothing shops mentioned above, and it’s also unclear whether the premises were occupied — and, if so, by what — during the early 1940s.

However, by December 1946, 76 London Road was home to Good Listening Ltd, a Bournemouth-based radio rental company that was set up at the end of the Second World War by two ex-radio technicians. It had other London branches in Harlesden and Romford, and also later in Hounslow and Palmers Green.[18] It offered demonstrations in one’s own home, free of charge and of obligation, and promised that “[v]alves, replacements and all service are provided free of charge”.

Its standard model as of early 1948 was a “5 Valve, 4 Waveband Superhet Receiver in ultra modern black and cream cabinet”, available for an initial payment of 25 shillings, plus 4 shillings and 3 pence per week “reducing annually” (corresponding to £40.59 and £6.90, respectively, in 2014 prices).[19]

Good Listening later expanded its operations to TV rentals, and by the mid-1960s was advertising “The most exciting range of sets ever offered!” with its “De Luxe” range “completely tuned ready to receive [...] the new BBC 2 programme as well as the existing BBC 1 and ITV 1 transmissions [...and...] equipped to receive any new additional ITV programmes in the future.” The customer was urged to “Be a TWO TV man”, with “No more arguments over which programmes to watch”, as a discount was offered for those renting more than one set.[20]

The company continued in existence — and continued at 76 London Road — until the late 1970s. However, it was bought by Rediffusion around 1978, and the London Road branch closed down shortly after.[21]

The cover of a Good Listening brochure from the mid-1960s. Image supplied by Alan Stepney.

Early 1980s: Moore Vaughan Maclean & Partners

In December 1978, Moore Vaughan MacLean & Partners — an engineering firm which already had premises next door at number 78 — applied for planning permission to convert all four floors of number 76 from a shop (and shop storage) to offices.

Permission was granted by Croydon Council in February 1979 on the condition that “A window display shall be provided and maintained” on the ground floor. Another planning application, submitted in July 1979 and approved a month later, requested permission to alter the frontage of number 76 to match their existing offices at number 78.[22] The firm was in place by April 1980.[23]

Early 1980s: Bookmaking

It’s unclear how long Moore Vaughan MacLean & Partners retained its extension to number 76 before retrenching to number 78 alone, but it appears to have been no more than a couple of years. By 1983, number 76 had become a betting shop. However, this too only lasted a short while.[24]

1983–present: Barnes Harrild & Dyer

On 3 October 1983, the new firm of Barnes Harrild & Dyer, solicitors, opened its practice at 76 London Road. Initially the firm had no particular specialisation; like most high-street solicitors at the time, it would take on pretty much any type of work that came through the doors. Cases included criminal defence, family work, landlord/tenant disputes, and employment cases.

Over the subsequent three decades, however, as with other high-street firms, there came a growing need to specialise. The arrival of a new partner in 2002 sparked the creation of an immigration department, which received its franchise for legal aid in September 2002. The firm took on more and more immigration work over the years, and is now a full specialist in immigration and related issues.

Of the three original partners, the only one remaining is Michael Dyer, who no longer does any court work and plans to retire on 30 September 2015. However, he will remain involved in the business, and the firm will continue under the guidance of the newer partners who have joined over the years. With more than three decades on London Road, and having bounced back from substantial damage in the August 2011 riots, Barnes Harrild & Dyer seems set to stay for the long term.[25]

Barnes Harrild & Dyer, 76 London Road, January 2014. Photo: author’s own.

Thanks to: Alan Stepney; Michael Dyer; the Wellcome Library; the Planning Technical Support Team at Croydon Council; all at the Croydon Local Studies Library; and my beta-readers Alice, Flash, and Henry. Census data and London phone books consulted via Medical Directory consulted at the Wellcome Library.

Footnotes and references

  1. See the linked articles for more information on the Oakfield Estate and numbers 60–62 and 68. Numbers 76 and 78 appear in Ward’s street directories as “Two houses building” in 1874 and with actual occupants from 1876 (no 1875 edition seems to exist). It’s not entirely clear from the preface of the 1874 edition when the data were finalised — later editions were corrected up to around the start of the preceding December, but 1874 was the first edition published by Ward and so the procedures were different (the intended date of publication for the 1876 edition is given as 1 July 1875). A moulding on the front of number 76 (see photo) gives the date of 1873, so it seems likely that construction was at least mostly complete by the end of 1873.
  2. The map is in the collection of loose sales particulars (ref CR2615), and the textual parts of the corresponding sales particulars are in Harold Williams 1867 volume (ref DCLIX).
  3. Information on Henry’s date and place of birth, place of training, and qualifications taken from his obituary on pages 869–870 of the 19 November 1921 British Medical Journal, viewed online at Europe PubMed Central. Place of birth confirmed via the 1881 census, which also gives his age as 42, consistent with being born in 1838. Date and type of qualification confirmed via the 1881 Medical Directory, viewed at the Wellcome Library.
  4. Henry is listed at 24 North End in Warren’s 1865–66, Wilkins’ 1872–73, and Ward’s 1874 directories; and on London Road from Ward’s 1876 onwards. (The 1861 census shows him living in Stourbridge, Worcestershire.) Information on Henry and Sophia’s marriage taken from Surrey, England, Marriages, 1754-1937, an online database viewed at (digitised from parish registers held at the Surrey History Centre in Woking).
  5. Wilkins’ 1872–73 and Ward’s 1874 directories list Roper & Horsley at 24 North End. Ward’s 1876 and 1878 directories list the surgery of Henry Horsley (Roper and Horsley) on London Road. The 1884 edition also lists Roper & Horsley, though this appears to be a mistake given the dissolution of the partnership in 1879. Other editions make no mention of Roper. The Royal College of Surgeons Plarr’s Lives of the Fellows Online confirms in its entry on Alfred George Roper that he was the Roper in question. Alfred George Roper was Honorary Secretary of Croydon General Hospital and also lived on London Road (at Arundel House on the site of the present numbers 156–158, from around 1888 to around 1896). The dissolution of the Roper and Horsley partnership is noted in an announcement on page 5708 of the 30 September 1879 London Gazette.
  6. According to Lost Hospitals of London, Croydon General Hospital first opened in 1867 and moved to London Road in 1873. An admission ticket in the pamphlets collection at Croydon Local Studies and Archives Service (no 116, Pamphlet Box 2, fS70 COL, reproduced here) pins the date down more precisely to 27 September 1873.
  7. Ward’s directories list the property as occupied by Henry Horsley up to and including 1899, and as unoccupied in 1900. The 1901 census places Henry and Sophia at 60 London Road (renumbered to 160 in 1927) along with six children aged between 13 and 28. The oldest daughter, Caroline, is listed as a “Dispenser of Medicine” working “At home”. Henry’s listing in the Medical Directory changes from “Surg. Croydon Gen. Hosp.” to “Cons. Surg. Croydon Gen. Hosp.” some time between 1894 and 1902, but I was unable to pin this down more precisely in time for publication of this article as the Wellcome Library’s volumes are currently away for digitising.
  8. Ward’s directories list Henry at number 60 (modern 160) from 1900 to 1907 inclusive, at number 81 (no modern equivalent but on the Lidl site) from 1908 to 1916 inclusive, and at 1 Poplar Walk (with a Mrs Waterman) from 1917 to 1921 inclusive. The 1922 edition lists only a Miss Horsley at 1 Poplar Walk (as well as Mrs Waterman, and one F Jones).
  9. Information on Henry’s age at death taken from the list of “Chronological Events” in Ward’s 1922 directory. The other “noteworthy characters” named in the obituary (see earlier footnote for reference) are Alfred Carpenter, John Galton, Peter Duncan, and Sir Constantine Holman. It should be noted that Henry’s obituary in the British Medical Journal claims he was 84 when he died, not 83, but this is inconsistent with his birth in 1838.
  10. Ward’s directories list E & J Stubbings in a building which has now been demolished (number 69 in contemporary numbering, later renumbered to 99, on the site where Lidl now stands) from 1893 to 1900 inclusive, and at number 76 (42 in contemporary numbering) from 1901 to 1913 inclusive.
  11. The 1901 census lists Matthew (age 35) as head of the household; his wife Emily (21) and son John (9 months); his sisters Emma (single, 47), Elizabeth Ruther[something] or Rutter[something] (widow, 52), Mary (single, 50), and Jane (single, 44); and a draper’s assistant, Amy J Smith (16). All five siblings are listed as “Draper Shopkeeper”. According to the listing of Emma’s will (see later footnote), Elizabeth’s surname was “Rutterford”.
  12. See previous footnote for information on Emily and John in the 1901 census. The GOV.UK “Find a will” search gives Matthew’s date of death as 4 March 1911 (note that this says he lived at 42 London Road — this was renumbered to 76 in 1927). The 1911 census lists Emma as head of the household and Emily as a widow with children John (age 10), Agnes (9), Ralph (6), and Tom (3). Emma, Jane, and Elizabeth are listed as dressmakers, while Mary and Emily list no profession. E & J Stubbings is listed on London Road in Ward’s directories up to and including the 1913 edition.
  13. Ward’s directories list E & J Stubbings at 42 London Road (modern 76) up to and including 1913, and at 57 Dingwall Road (possibly not the same number today) from 1915 to 1925 inclusive. Note the lack of 1914 here — the listing at Dingwall Road for that year is simply for a Miss Stubbings. Emma’s date of death (21 August 1917) is taken from the GOV.UK “Find a Will” search; she is listed here as at 57 Dingwell [sic] Road, and the administration went to Elizabeth Rutterford, widow.
  14. Ward’s directories list E & J Stubbings at contemporary number 42 (modern number 76) up to and including 1913; “Unoccupied” at 42 in 1914 and 1915; “Army Recruiting Office (temporary)” at 42 in 1916; “Unoccupied” at 42, Peter MacDonald at 42a, and Salvation Army Office at 42b in 1917; and Peter McDonald at 42a and Miss Nash at 42b in 1918 and 1919 (42 not listed in these years). Peter MacDonald and Miss Nash were likely private residents on the upper floors.
  15. Ward’s directories list “Eittols, Blouses, Gowns, Coats, Lingerie, Ladies’ & Children’s Outfitter” in 1920, “Eittols, Bon Marche, for Ladies’ wear” in 1921 and 1922, and J Sokolov, “Ladies’ Costumier” from 1923 to 1927 inclusive.
  16. Ward’s directories list “Unoccupied” in 1928; Harris & Co, costumiers, in 1929 and 1930; Harris, costumier, in 1932 and 1934; M & K Modes in 1937; and “Unoccupied” in 1939. They also list an employment agency known as Bergers of Croydon in 1934; this is likely the one run by E Berger that was at number 51 a couple of years before, and is also likely to have been situated on an upper floor.
  17. Croydon Local Studies and Archives Service also has full copies of ATOM in the stacks. The “new series” of this monthly magazine began publishing in July 1946 and was edited by Jos A Course of Bothwell Road, New Addington.
  18. The December 1946 edition of Addington Tenants Own Magazine (ATOM) contains an advertisement for Good Listening Ltd at 76 London Road, West Croydon (reproduced here). The 1948 London phone book lists Good Listening at 19 Craven Park Road, NW10; 76 London Road, Croydon; and 2 Station Parade, Victoria Road, Romford. A 1964/65 Good Listening brochure (images supplied by Alan Stepney) lists “main showrooms” at these three addresses plus 112 Hounslow High Street and 292A Green Lanes, Palmers Green. This brochure also states that the head office at that time was at Priory House, 26 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth. Alan told me: “Apart from the [...] brochure, which dates from roughly the mid-60's, a lot of my information has come from ex-employees. The company was started at the end of the war, by two ex-radio technicians, (probably ex-RAF, but that is not confirmed). The head office was in Holdenhurst Rd, Bournemouth, then moved to Christchurch Rd. (the site is now a car park). Their service depot stores, etc was in Wallisdown Rd, technically Bournemouth, but right on the boundary of Poole.” (via email, 25 July 2015).
  19. Information on home demos, free servicing, and standard model taken from adverts in the December 1946 and January 1948 editions of Addington Tenants Own Magazine (ATOM), found in the firms files at Croydon Local Studies and Archives Service. According to the Bank of England inflation calculator, “goods and services” costing £1 in 1948 would cost £32.47 in 2014, meaning that 25 shillings (£1.25) in 1948 would be equivalent to £40.59 in 2014 and 4 shillings 3 pence (£0.2125) in 1948 would be equivalent to £6.90 in 2014.
  20. Phone books from the October 1955 Outer London: Kent/Surrey edition onwards list Good Listening as providing both TV and radio renting. Quotations are taken from the brochure mentioned in an earlier footnote.
  21. Phone books list the company at 76 London Road up to and including the January 1979 Croydon edition, but not in subsequent editions. An impending sale to Rediffusion is reported on page 9 of the 14 March 1978 Glasgow Herald (viewed online via Google News), and a poster on the UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum confirms that the sale took place, noting also that after the sale, “[t]he unions and other difficulties meant that suddenly everyone was told it would close and all capital equipment and stock was shipped up to their site in Bishop Auckland. Everyone was to be made redundant but some managed to find similar jobs within Rediffusion”.
  22. Planning applications viewed on microfiche at Croydon Council offices; refs 78/20/2406 (change of use on ground floor from shop to offices), 78/20/2407 (change of use on first, second, and third floors from shop storage to office), and 79/20/1361 (alterations to frontage to “match the front elevation of applicants [sic] existing offices at No. 78”).
  23. A planning application relating to numbers 68–70 (ref 80/20/648), deposited on 13 March 1980 and approved on 29 April 1980, includes a report of a site visit which states that numbers 76 and 78 at that point were in use as “offices”. In addition, Brian Gittings’ 1980 survey of central Croydon retail lists Moore Vaughan McLean [sic] + Ptns [Partners] at numbers 74–76 (which should be 76–78, but it appears that his numbers are 2 out between number 60–62 and the General Hospital site due to mistakenly thinking number 60–62 was actually number 60).
  24. Michael Dyer of Barnes Harrild & Dyer told me that when his firm took over number 76, it was a bookmakers with corkboards lining the walls and newspapers listing the day’s races (interviewed at Barnes Harrild & Dyer’s offices, 29 July 2015). It should be noted that Goad plans list Moore Vaughan MacLean & Partners at 76–78 up to March 1984, but since Michael also told me that Barnes Harrild & Dyer opened at number 76 on 3 October 1983 (same interview), this must be a mistake.
  25. All information about Barnes Harrild & Dyer supplied by Michael Dyer (interviewed at Barnes Harrild & Dyer’s offices, 29 July 2015). Additional information from the same source is below.

    The upper floors of the building have been used for several purposes during the firm’s time at number 76. When Barnes Harrild & Dyer arrived in 1983, there was a firm of surveyors on the second floor, and other upper-floor occupants over the years included a brother and sister working as immigration consultants, as well as an internet travel firm on the top floor. All three upper floors were later converted to flats, and sold in September/October 2002.

    Barnes Harrild & Dyer is itself the current freeholder of the premises. Around 2002, the then-freeholder of the building, a Mr Sahra, decided to consolidate his assets due to the death of his wife, and sold the freehold of number 76 to Barnes Harrild & Dyer at a price which meant their mortgage payments would be little more than their existing rental payments.

    Like several other businesses on London Road, Barnes Harrild & Dyer suffered substantial damage in the August 2011 riots, and had to move out of the building while repairs were made. During this time, the firm operated from Park House, Park Street, East Croydon. As the premises were completely gutted, the partners took the opportunity to make several improvements, including the construction of a new single-storey extension at the back.

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First occupied in the 1870s by Scottish draper and hatter Joseph Campbell, 78 London Road was later used as a wine and spirits shop, the West Croydon Social Club & Institute, a branch of the Gray’s Inn Trunk Stores, and a betting shop. It’s currently an independent estate agency.