The Past and Present of Croydon's London Road

182–184 London Road: James Chiltern and RB Minicabs (part 2)

8 February 2019

Although currently occupied by separate businesses — James Chiltern estate agents and RB Minicabs — 182 and 184 London Road were once a single property. In my previous article, I described their history up to the point where they were split; here I continue the story to the present day.

RB Minicabs and James Chiltern, 182–184 London Road, December 2018. Photo: author’s own.

1860s–1890s: The Duke of Cornwall

As explained in my previous article, 182–184 London Road was built in the mid-1860s as the Duke of Cornwall tavern. It saw several landlords throughout the next three decades, and at some point was acquired by Watney’s brewery, but an 1898 court case saw its license revoked due to its having been “used as a brothel”.

Watney’s applied for a new license under a different tenant, but Croydon magistrates refused — possibly influenced by a petition signed by over 50 “influential and important persons” from the neighbourhood stating that “as a licensed house this place was useless and unnecessary”. The magistrates additionally declined to allow Watney’s to use the property as an off-licence.[1]

1890s–1910s: A Watney’s depot

1898 was a significant date for the leaseholder of 182–184 London Road. In the same year that the Duke of Cornwall lost its license, Watney’s merged with Combe & Co and Reid’s Brewery Co to become “the largest brewery undertaking in London and one of the most important in the United Kingdom”.[2]

By late 1898, Ward’s street directories list the corner property simply as “Watney, Combe, Reid & Co Ltd, Stores”, suggesting use as some sort of warehouse; perhaps a holding depot for beer deliveries which would later be distributed onwards to nearby pubs and off licences. It continued in use for this purpose until around 1912.[3]

Advertisement for Watney, Combe, Reid and Co’s “Mortlake Brewery Stores” at 62 London Road (later renumbered to 182), on page 3 of the 15 May 1903 Surrey Mirror. Note that beers are advertised “in cask” as well as bottled, suggesting that the audience for this advert would have been publicans rather than drinkers.[4]

1900s–1930s: Division of the property, and the sale of boots at number 184

Around the same time as the conversion from pub to depot, the street frontage of the property was divided into two, corresponding to today’s numbers 182 and 184.[5] While number 182 became a beer depot as described above, number 184 became a boot shop. The shop was initially run by 70-something widow Jane Bartlett and her daughter Emma, though for some reason this seems to have been under the name of Jane’s son, Thomas E Bartlett.[6]

Jane also had a sideline in organising trips to France, including a “Personally-conducted Excursion” to the 1900 Paris Exhibition and “popular week-end excursions for Sporting and Business Men”. Her trip to the 1902 Grand Prix de Paris horse race cost four guineas per person (£491 in 2017 prices), and included “first class return fare” for the overnight journey to Paris on the Saturday evening, a “coach to Longchamps and back” on the Sunday of the race, “entrance to Pavilion”, and “dejeuner and Table d’Hote” before an overnight return to London arriving at 7:40am on the Monday.[7]

Advertisement for a trip to the 1902 Grand Prix de Paris organised by Jane Bartlett, from the front page of the 14 June 1902 Sporting Life. Image © The British Library Board. All Rights Reserved. Reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive.

By late 1905 the boot shop had been taken over by Edward Richard Tanner, who kept it until around 1927.[8] It remained a boot shop until at least the end of the 1930s, with proprietors including A Henser, S Harris, and T W Hewerdine.[9]

Monochrome photo of a white man with neat dark hair and a wistful look, wearing a dark suit with white pocket square, white shirt, and dark tie patterned with small white dots.
Napoleon Dulis in the mid-to-late 1950s. Photo provided by his daughter Amanda.

1950s–1970s at number 184: Flowers, fruit, and tailoring

It’s unclear what number 184 was used for during the 1940s, but by early 1954 it was Worsdell’s — a florists and fruiterers run by Stanley D Worsdell.[10]

However, by mid-1962 it had become Dulis Bespoke Tailors, a tailoring service run by Napoleon Dulis. Born on 16 August 1918 in Kaunas, Lithuania, Napoleon trained as a tailor in his native country. Later moving to London, he worked as a Savile Row master tailor before opening his own establishment in Croydon. He was naturalised as a British citizen shortly after arriving on London Road.[11]

Napoleon’s daughter Amanda described his shop to me:[12]

The place was VERY small, as it was split in two parts, front part was the customers area, with a small changing room (actually just a curtain across the far corner of the room) The rear was the working area, and had a large cutting table that my dad used, a smaller cutting table for his assistant, two Singer sewing machines, and a small area for a lady assistant who used the hem/overlocking locking machine.

It was a fascinating place, piled high with endless reels of fabrics, but it was the linings that always caught my attention, as they were some quite colourful ones, and very silky, so I used to make dresses for my dolls with the off-cuts.[...]

I recall two ladies regularly working with dad, and another tailor. Mum also helped with some sewing, but dad also had a workforce who worked remotely from home, and so mum was driving back and forth with deliveries and collections of garments. Dad also trained other tailors while working in the Croydon shop.

Napoleon seems to have catered for the fashionable side of the market, judging by the appearance of one of his suits in an April 1968 Daily Telegraph men’s fashion feature: “an elegant slim grey suit with big full lapels” worn by artist Patrick Procktor.[13]

Notes made by Napoleon Dulis for a suit for Patrick Procktor, and his annotated copy of the Daily Telegraph Magazine article mentioning it. Image provided by Napoleon’s daughter Amanda.

Napoleon traded on London Road until the mid-1970s, when ill health made it necessary for him to give up the shop; nevertheless, he continued to work from his home at 2 Blenheim Crescent, South Croydon, and remained living there until his death on 25 December 1981. He was buried at St Patrick’s cemetery in Leyton.[14]

Napoleon Dulis’ tailoring tools: rulers, tailor’s chalk, beeswax (used to strengthen cotton thread), and scissors. Photo by his daughter Amanda.
A small terraced shopfront painted in mustard yellow, with a large white sign above reading “Telegraph Cars”.  Two phone numbers are shown prominently in the front window.  There is a recessed door to the right, again painted mustard yellow, and an intercom on the front of the shop next to it.
Telegraph Cars, 184 London Road, January 2012. Photo: author’s own.

1970s–present at 184 London Road: Minicabs

Before the end of the 1970s, number 184 had taken on the role it still plays today: a minicab office. BRP Cars was in place by mid-1977, though by early 1979 had been replaced by I & M Cars. This latter business, which employed two staff on the premises as well as 15 part-time drivers working from home, remained until around 1983.[15]

By the mid-1980s, 184 London Road was occupied by Telegraph Cars. This continued to operate here under this name until 2013, albeit through at least one change of management, offering “24 Hour Service at Reasonable Rates” including “Executive Cars” and “Airport Pick-Up and Drop-Off Service”. It became RB Minicabs some time between May and December of that year, a situation which remains the case today.[16]

RB Minicabs, 184 London Road, December 2013. Photo: author’s own.

1910s–1930s at number 182: Fruit, plumbing, car repairs, upholstery, and more

We now return to the corner property at 182, which as described above was a Watney’s depot until around 1912. While number 184 remained a boot shop for the first four decades of the 20th century, its neighbour at 182 saw significantly more turnover after Watney’s departed. A T Sanders, fruiterer and greengrocer, was in place by the start of 1913 but gone again a year later. Cooper & Burr, plumbers and decorators, followed with a similarly short residency.[17]

By the start of 1916, the occupant of number 182 was Coombes & Co, “Motor Engineers”, likely making good use of the yard behind for their car repairs, and remaining until around 1923. Next came a succession of upholsterers, none staying very long: R G Saunders, Thomas M Wilding, and Frank Ranson. The Immaculate Valet Service arrived in the early 1930s — whether this valeted cars or people is unclear — but was gone again by late 1934.[18]

Advertisement for Harry Mills’ “Animal Service Clinic and Pets’ Stores” at 182 London Road, taken from page 911 of Ward’s 1937 directory.

An “animal service clinic” run by Harry Mills arrived at number 182 around the start of 1936, but was gone by late 1937. The final arrival of the 1930s seems to have been a business called Dairy Farm Produce, here by the start of 1939 but then vanishing from the documentary record.[19]

1940s–1960s at number 182: World Wide Wringers

By late 1946, number 182 had been taken over by World Wide Wringers, a company that not only sold “new and re-built wringers and mangles” but also supplied “Spare parts for Mangles and Wringers” and offered “Repairs to any make [of] wringer or mangle, also hand and electric washing machines”.[20]

Advertisement for World Wide Wringers from the 7 December 1951 Croydon Advertiser, found as a clipping in the firms files at the Museum of Croydon.

World Wide Wringers remained here until the early 1960s, at which point it moved around the corner to 1b Kidderminster Road. Although there is no business with this address today, it seems likely that these premises were actually just the back part of 182 London Road, entered via a side door on Kidderminster Road. Indeed, it’s possible that World Wide Wringers had already been using the entire ground floor of the property, and that the “move” simply consisted of giving up the part fronting on London Road.[21]

The yard at the back of 182 London Road, June 2018. Number 182 itself is off to the left, and the blocky building on the right of the yard is Molbee Motors at 1 Kidderminster Road. I strongly suspect that the shuttered-up entrance behind the lamp post on the left was the entrance to World Wide Wringers at 1b Kidderminster Road. Photo: author’s own.
Newspaper advert for Valcon at “182/4 London Road”, urging readers “DON’T freeze this Winter” and stating that the company is “Appointed by: South Eastern Gas Board / Esso Petroleum / National Coal Board”.
Advertisement for Valcon in the 21 September 1962 Croydon Advertiser, found in the firms files at the Museum of Croydon.

1960s–1990s at number 182: Central heating, solicitors, doors, and glazing

World Wide Wringers was replaced at number 182 by central heating firm Valcon, which advertised expertise in several kinds of fuel: oil, electricity, solid fuel, and gas. It was in place by 1962, but gone again by early 1967.[22]

At some point during the 1960s, too, solicitors Miller Parris & Cornwell opened an office on the upper floors of numbers 182–184, likely accessed via a side door on Kidderminster Road. This firm, which also had an office at 149 Addington Road in Selsdon, was here by early 1968 and remained until around 1983.[23]

By 1987, the ground-floor property at number 182 was occupied by Costelloes Ltd, door suppliers. However, by 1993 this had become Hanson Doors & Glazing — possibly a different company, or possibly just a renaming. In any case, Hanson remained here until around 1998.[24]

2000s at number 182: Ganapathy Textiles

By mid-2006, 182 London Road was the home of Ganapathy Textiles, a clothes shop specialising in saris, salwar kameez, and other South Asian garments for both adults and children. It also stocked costume jewellery, and advertised party-planning services.[25]

Ganapathy Textiles behind the number 64 bus, July 2006. A crop of a photo by Brian Simmons, used by permission.

2000s–present at number 182: James Chiltern

By September 2009, Ganapathy Textiles had been replaced by James Chiltern, an independent estate agency offering property management as well as sales and lettings, and focusing on Croydon and surrounds including Streatham, Purley, and Coulsdon.[26]

James Chiltern, 182 London Road, January 2012. Photo: author’s own.

Founded on 4 January 2007, the company originally operated from 10 Cuthbert Road, a rather tucked-away corner premises between Wandle Park and the Roman Way overpass. While 182 London Road offered a much more prominent street frontage, it had been vacant for some time when James Chiltern took it over, with a significant amount of work needed to fix up the premises.[27]

James Chiltern also opened a branch at 281 Lower Addiscome Road by June 2014, but this was gone again by April 2017. Having noted that much of the estate agency world was moving online, and bearing in mind that the market reachable on Lower Addiscombe Road was not significantly different from that reachable on London Road, company director Ayyaz Choudry decided to close the satellite branch and consolidate all his staff at 182 London Road.[28]

Ayyaz was born locally, in Mayday Hospital (now Croydon University Hospital), and has lived in the area all his life. When asked about the future of James Chiltern, he expressed his enthusiasm for the potential of West Croydon, citing the strong community as well as the plans to redevelop the nearby Whitgift Centre, and told me the intention is for the company to remain here for the long run. He even hopes to pass it on to his children one day.

James Chiltern, 182 London Road, June 2018. Photo: author’s own.

Thanks to: Amanda Christoforou; Ayyaz Choudry of James Chiltern; Boak & Bailey; Brian Simmons; the Planning Technical Support Team at Croydon Council; the staff, volunteers, and patrons at the Museum of Croydon; and my beta-readers Bec and bob. Census data and non-Croydon phone books consulted via Ancestry.co.uk. Monetary conversions performed using the Bank of England inflation calculator (prices < £100 given to the nearest penny, prices from £100 to < £100,000 to the nearest pound, prices from £100,000 to < £1 million to the nearest £1,000, prices from £1 million to < £100 million to the nearest £100,000, prices ≥ £100 million to the nearest million).

Footnotes and references

  1. See part 1 of this series for evidence and more details of the assertions in these two paragraphs.
  2. According to an article on page 2 of the 19 February 1898 Croydon Advertiser (“A Croydon beerhouse”), as of 1898 Watney’s held a lease with 23 years left on it. Information and quotation on the merger with Combe and Reid is taken from The Story of Watneys by Walter Pearce Sercold (Watney Combe Reid & Co Ltd, 1949, pp.13–20, 25).
  3. Ward’s directories list Watney, Combe, Reid & Co Ltd, Stores, at 62 London Road (later renumbered to 182) from 1899 to 1912 inclusive; note that these directories were generally published in December of the preceding year. When I asked beer historians Boak & Bailey for their opinion on what “Stores” might have meant, they suggested “It's probably just what it sounds like — somewhere they were storing... something. Basically a warehouse facility or staging post prior to onward delivery to pubs and off licences.” (via email, 22 November 2017).
  4. According to The Story of Watneys (p.14), the brewery at Mortlake came into Watney’s possession via its 1889 acquisition of Phillips & Co of Mortlake, and became the main brewing site of Watney, Combe, Reid and Co in 1905, when Combe’s previous brewery site was closed down (Reid’s having been closed in 1899) (p.20).
  5. 62a London Road, which was renumbered to 184 in the 1920s, first appears in Ward’s street directories in the 1900 edition, the data for which would have been finalised in late 1899.
  6. The 1901 census lists Jane and Emma here, both as bootshop keepers, along with Jane’s 10-year-old grandchild Rosina. Thomas is living nearby at 20 Montague Road with a wife and daughter, and is listed as a railway clerk; the 1891 census also has him in a similar situation, albeit at 43 Dennett Road, while the 1881 census has him as a junior clerk living with Jane, Emma, and other family members at 6 Tamworth Road. Although Thomas is not an uncommon name, this does seem to be the same person, given the inclusion of his middle initial (E), his age (18, 28, and 38 in successive censuses), his place of birth (Croydon), and his employment as a clerk. Ward’s directories list the “boot warehouse” at 62a London Road under the name of Thomas Bartlett in 1900, Mrs Bartlett in 1901 and 1902, and T E Bartlett in 1903, 1904, and 1905.
  7. Adverts for Jane’s excursions appear on page 5 of the 8 September 1990 Croydon Advertiser (viewed on microfilm at the Museum of Croydon), the front page of the 8 June 1901 Sporting Life, the front page of the 14 June 1902 Sporting Life (reproduced here), page 12 of the 20 July 1902 Referee, the front page of the 8 June 1904 Sportsman, and page 7 of the 21 August 1904 Referee. Quotations here are taken from the 1900 Croydon Advertiser, the 1902 Referee, and the 1902 Sporting Life.
  8. Ward’s directories list E R Tanner, boot warehouse, from 1906 to 1927 inclusive, while Kelly’s 1927 directory lists “Edwd.” [Edward] Richard Tanner, “boot & shoe manufr” [manufacturer]. The 1911 census shows Edward Richard Tanner, boot maker, aged 51, living at 62a London Road with his wife Mary Jane and five children ranging in age from 11 to 23. His 21-year-old son, whose name is hard to read but may be “Gilbert”, is listed as a boot maker’s assistant, presumably under his father. I haven’t been able to find any of the family in earlier censuses, so I can’t cross-check “Gilbert”’s name.
  9. Ward’s directories list A Henser, boot warehouse, in 1928, 1929, and 1930; S Harris, boot repairs, in 1932; Hewerdine, boot repairs, in 1934; T W Hewerdine, boot repairer, in 1937; and A Henser, “Boot Rept. [possibly Repository?]” in 1939. I’m not sure why A Henser reappears in 1939. I haven’t been able to find either A Henser or T W Hewerdine in the 1930s–1940s phone books, so I’m not sure how long the boot shop actually lasted.
  10. I haven’t been able to find any of the last few bootsellers in the 1940s phone books, and the first appearance of Stanley Worsdell is as “Worsdell’s, Flrst” in the January 1954 Surrey phone book. Stanley D Worsdell, “Florist & Fruiterer” is listed in Kent’s 1955 and 1956 directories.
  11. A planning application for a new sign at 182 London Road, submitted on 25 April 1962 (ref A2901), includes a drawing of the existing situation at 182–184 London Road; this shows World Wide Wringers Ltd at number 182 and Dulis Bespoke Tailors at number 184.

    The 1963 electoral register lists Napoleon Dulis at number 184 (as does the 1964 edition, which is available at the Museum of Croydon but not online), and the list of “Aliens to whom Certificates of Naturalisation have been granted by the Secretary of State and whose Oaths of Allegiance have been registered in the Home Office during the month of May 1963” on page 5460 and page 5461 of the 25 June 1963 London Gazette includes “Dulinski, Napoleon (known as Napoleon Dulis); Lithuania; Tailor; 53 Woodmansterne Road, Coulsdon, Surrey”, naturalised on 29 April 1963. The address is different, but Napoleon’s daughter Amanda confirmed to me that their family used to live at 53 Woodmansterne Road.

    Amanda is the source of my information on Napoleon’s birthdate, birthplace, training as a tailor, and employment on Savile Row; she adds that “I am not sure if dad physically worked at one of the establishments on Savile Row or if he was doing work for them from somewhere else”. She also told me that Napoleon’s original family name was actually Dulinskas, not Dulinski (“from what i was told, my dad was in Italy when WW2 ended, and he was with a Polish platoon [...], and in Polish, my dads name is spelt Dulinski”), and showed me a copy of her birth certificate which describes her father’s profession as “Master Tailor”. (All communication with Amanda was via email, 7 January and 6 February 2019.)

  12. Via email, 6 February 2019. I have made three small typographical corrections: “singer” to “Singer”, “i” to “I”, and “croydon” to “Croydon”.
  13. See “Dandy Fashion: New plumes in the peacock's tail (1968)”, an article published on the blog Sweet Jane quoting extensively from the 5 April 1968 Daily Telegraph Magazine; this also includes a photo of the suit in question. The article doesn’t specifically state that the suit is by Napoleon Dulis of 184 London Road, but it does attribute it to “Dulis of Croydon”, and Napoleon’s daughter Amanda confirmed to me that the article referred to her father (via email, 7 January 2019).
  14. Croydon phone books list N Dulis, tailor, at 184 London Road up to and including the January 1976 edition. A site plan included in a planning application relating to number 182 next door, deposited on 30 September 1976, shows “DULIS TAILOR” at 184 (ref 76/20/1626). Croydon phone books also list Napoleon Dulis at 342 Brighton Road (again, up to and including the January 1976 edition) and N Dulis at 2 Blenheim Crescent up to and including the February 1981 edition. His date of death and confirmation that he remained at 2 Blenheim Crescent are taken from his entry in the National Probate Calendar. Information on the reason for his giving up the shop, the fact that he worked from home after this, and his burial place was provided by his daughter Amanda (via email, 7 January 2019).
  15. BRP Cars, “24 Hr [Hour] Hire” appears at 184 London Road in the July 1977 Croydon phone book and the 1978 Bromley/Orpington edition. I & M Cars, Car Hire, is listed in Croydon editions from January 1979 to April 1984 (though absent from the October 1984 Caterham/Reigate edition), and also appears in Brian Gittings’ 1980 survey of central Croydon retail as “I+M Cars (MJ Fitzgerald Esq) (Car hire with driver)”. However, according to the Telegraph Cars page on Yelp, Telegraph Cars claims to have been at 184 London Road since 1982, despite the evidence of phone books; I’ve therefore split the difference and gone for “around 1983”. Details of I & M Cars staff are taken from a planning application deposited on 23 November 1981 (ref 81/20/2132), which also includes the unsurprising-for-the-1980s detail that the office staff were both women and the drivers were all men.

    This new use was not, initially, without controversy. BRP Cars appears to have begun operating without bothering to apply for planning permission, according to a 12 December 1977 letter from Croydon Council to a firm of solicitors acting for the car hire company: “planning permission has never been sought to use part of the above shop premises as a car hire office. I therefore enclose the necessary application forms” (included in records of planning application 81/20/2131). However, the index card for 182–184 London Road at Croydon Council’s planning department contains no record of these application forms ever having been completed and submitted. Indeed, in November 1981, I & M Cars applied to the council for a “Change of use of ground floor shop to car hire office”, indicating that the unauthorised use had continued until then.

    I & M Cars also got into trouble on its own account, being served with an order from Croydon County Court (plaint no. 8115757) to remove the “radio mast of some 60 or 70 feet” that it had fixed to the wall of the upper floors of the building “on or about the 3rd or 4th October 1981” without the permission of Miller Parris & Cornwell, the then-occupant of said upper floors (see planning application ref 81/20/2131).

  16. Telegraph Cars is listed in Croydon phone books from 1987 onwards, albeit in some cases as “Telegraph Couriers” instead or as well. As noted in an earlier footnote, its Yelp page claims it to have been there since 1982. A Telegraph Cars business card in my possession (probably from around 2011–2012) describes it as being “under new management”. Quotations are taken from another business card, found in the firms files at the Museum of Croydon, which is undated but uses a post-1999 dialling code. This business card claims the firm to have been “Established for 40 Years”, which even if it comes from 2013 puts the date of establishment 14 years before its first appearance in phone books. Change from Telegraph Cars to RB Minicabs in 2013 is from personal observation.

    I should mention that I have a business card for “Canterbury Xpress Cars” with the address of 184 London Road that came through my front door in March 2016. However, from personal observation the RB Minicabs sign at 184 London Road has remained in place up to the present day, and Canterbury Xpress has a very limited presence on Google. Perhaps this was a proposed rebranding that didn’t stick, maybe in conjunction with a change of management.

  17. Ward’s directories list A T Sanders in 1913, “Unoccupied” in 1914, and Cooper & Burr in 1915.
  18. Ward’s directories list Coombes & Co from 1916 to 1923 inclusive; R G Saunders in 1924; T M Wilding in 1925, 1926, and 1927; Frank Ranson in 1928, 1929, and 1930; the Immaculate Valet Service in 1932; and “Unoccupied” in 1934. T M Wilding’s first name is given as “Thos.” [Thomas] in Kelly’s 1927 directory.

    The Immaculate Valet Service also appears in London phone books for August 1931 (under the obviously-erroneous address of 4 London Road, West Croydon — this address hadn’t existed since the 1927 renumbering), August 1933, and February 1934. The company is also listed at 103 Manor Road, Wallington, where according to London phone books it remained until at least 1940.

  19. Harry Mills, Animal Clinic, is listed in London phone books for May 1936, November 1936, and May 1937. Ward’s 1937 directory also lists him, as H Mills. Ward’s 1939 directory lists Dairy Farm Produce, but gives no further details, and this was the last ever edition of these directories. I haven’t been able to find Dairy Farm Produce in contemporary phone books, and there’s nothing in the firms files at the Museum of Croydon.
  20. First and third quotations taken from an advert on page 6 of the 4 October 1946 Norwood News, second quotation taken from an advert on the front page of the 25 February 1947 Western Daily Press. The Norwood News advert is the first evidence I’ve found of the company at this (or any) address. Its first phone book appearance is in the March 1947 London edition.
  21. Phone books list World Wide Wringers at 182 London Road up to and including the 1963 Croydon edition. Later editions list it only at 1b Kidderminster Road, where it remains until the February 1981 Croydon edition and then vanishes entirely.

    A Google search (21 November 2018) for 1b Kidderminster Road, Croydon, revealed nothing relevant. However, a site plan included in a planning application granted on 18 March 1968 (ref 68/20/285; viewed on microfiche at Croydon Council offices) shows “washing machine repairers” between “Miller Parris & Cornwell Solicitors” (who were on the upper floors of 182 London Road) and a “garage” where Molbee Motors is today. Moreover, looking at the premises today, the door between James Chiltern and the shuttered-up entrance that I think was 1b Kidderminster Road has “1A” scratched into the wall next to it, suggesting that the shuttered-up entrance could well have been 1B.

  22. A planning application granted on 16 May 1962 for a new “illuminated box sign” at 182 London Road (ref A2901) includes a diagram of the sign, which reads “VALCON / OIL · ELECTRIC / SOLID FUEL · GAS / CENTRAL HEATING”; see also the advert reproduced here. Phone books list Valcon (Central Heating) Ltd at 182 London Road from the April 1962 Croydon edition to the December 1966 North East Surrey edition inclusive. (Note that there is some phone book overlap with World Wide Wringers here; this may be a mistake or the two companies may have been connected.) A planning application granted on 18 March 1968 (ref 68/20/285) states that the last known use of 182 London Road was “continuously until January 1967 as showroom with receptionist typist”. According to a notice on page 1393 of the 3 February 1967 London Gazette, a firm known as Valcon (Central Heating) Limited, with registered office at 152 Plumstead Road SE18, was granted a winding-up order on 30 January 1967.
  23. Phone books list Miller Parris & Cornwell, solicitors, at 4 Dingwall Road and 149 Addington Road up to and including the August 1967 Croydon edition; at 182 London Road and 149 Addington Road from the April 1968 North East Surrey edition to the May 1983 Caterham edition inclusive; and at 149 Selsdon Road only thereafter. This firm (or another) may have been here earlier than 1968; Croydon Council granted permission for use of “the first floor offices above Nos. 182–184 London Road, Croydon, (postal address, 1, Kidderminster Road), as offices” on 5 June 1961 (ref 61/655) and “the second floor of Nos. 182–184, London Road, Croydon, known as No. 1a, Kidderminster Road, as offices” on 15 July 1963 (ref 63/974). See earlier footnote for evidence on the position of the entrance to 1a Kidderminster Road.

    It’s unclear why Miller Parris & Cornwell advertised their address as 182 London Road rather than 1a Kidderminster Road — not only in phone books, but also, according to a letter dated 8 March 1982 included in the records of planning application 81/20/2131 — on their letterhead. It does seem clear that the ground floor fronting on London Road was vacant from the departure of Valcon until at least the mid-1970s, as a planning application submitted on 8 August 1974 (ref 74/20/1531) states that the last known use of number 183 was “Central heating showroom approx 10 years ago”. An application to use it as an estate agency (ref 68/20/285) had been granted on 18 March 1968, but according to a handwritten note in Croydon Council’s records, as of 25 January 1971 this permission had not been put into action.

  24. Croydon phone books list Costelloes Ltd, door stockists in 1987; Costelloes Doors Croydon, door suppliers, in 1988 and 1990; Costelloe [sic] Doors in 1992; and Hanson Doors & Glazing from 1993 to 1998 inclusive. The 1987 and 1988 editions also list Costelloes at 656 Streatham High Road. Hanson Doors & Glazing additionally appears in the first and second editions of Shop ’Til You Drop (probably published around 1998–1999 and 2002 respectively). There is also a mention of “Costello [sic] Doors — Retail” on the “opp[osite] corner” from numbers 158–160 in the records of planning application 87/1491/P (which was deposited on 22 May 1987 and concerned the use of the latter as offices).

    It’s not clear whether number 182 remained vacant for the entire two decades between the departure of Valcon and the arrival of Costelloes. As noted in an earlier footnote, it does seem to have remained vacant until at least the mid-1970s. An application to use it for “reception area & office” for “self drive [car] hire” (ref 74/20/1531) was granted on 18 October 1974 to D & H Carriages Ltd, Broad Green Service Station, 161 London Road, but D & H Carriages is absent from contemporary phone books and I haven’t been able to find any evidence that this permission was ever put into use. Moreover, another application to use it as “restaurant and take away hot food shop”, granted on 26 October 1976, states that the last previous use was “Sale & Display of electrical & household goods” (ref 76/20/1626). Again, I’ve found no evidence that this permission was put into use.

  25. Brian Simmons’ July 2006 photo of the 64 bus on London Road, a crop of which is reproduced here, shows a small slice of Ganapathy Textiles behind the bus. Less-obstructed images from July 2008 are available via Google Street View (front window, side window). Details of shop stock and services are taken from the Ganapathy Textiles page on the biztha.com Tamil businesses directory, confirmed via the abovementioned Google Street View images.
  26. Google reviews by buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants mention sales, lettings, and property management (accessed 28 November 2018). The list of areas in which the company operates was provided by company director Ayyaz Choudry (in-person conversation, 18 December 2018).

    Ayyaz told me that James Chiltern moved to 182 London Road in 2009 or 2010, but couldn’t remember exactly when. The earliest archived version of the James Chiltern website at the Internet Archive is from September 2009, and includes the address of 182 London Road. According to Companies House (see above), the registered office of James Chiltern was changed to 182 London Road on 5 February 2010. James Chiltern also appears at this address in Google Street View imagery from November 2010.

  27. Ayyaz Choudry told me that James Chiltern was founded on 4 January 2007 on Cuthbert Road; he also told me about the vacancy and need for reparative work at the new premises. Companies House confirms the founding date, and adds the full address of 10 Cuthbert Road (see Google Street View for an image of 10 Cuthbert Road around this time).
  28. Bounding dates for the Lower Addiscombe Road branch are taken from Google Street View images dated June 2014 and April 2017. All other information in this paragraph and the next was provided by Ayyaz Choudry.
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« 182–184 London Road: James Chiltern and RB Minicabs (part 1)
Although currently occupied by separate businesses — James Chiltern estate agents and RB Minicabs — 182 and 184 London Road were once a single property, built in the mid-1860s as the Duke of Cornwall tavern. Here I discuss their history up to the point where they were split, including the reason for the Duke of Cornwall’s demise.