The Past and Present of Croydon's London Road

188 London Road: Lobo Seafood (part 1)

5 April 2019

188–190 London Road is currently a fishmongers called Lobo Seafood, specialising in frozen fish. Here I describe the history of number 188 up to the point where it was amalgamated with number 190, and in my next article I’ll discuss number 190 and continue the story of the conjoined properties up to the present day.

182–204 London Road (1–6 Kidderminster Terrace), January 2019. Number 182 (originally half of 1 Kidderminster Terrace) is the green shopfront on the far right, and number 204 (originally 6 Kidderminster Terrace) is the one with the red shutter on the far left. Note that 3 and 4 Kidderminster Terrace each had only one first-floor window while 1, 2, 5, and 6 each had two. Photo: author’s own.

1860s–1870s: Construction of Kidderminster Terrace

Like their neighbours at 186 and 202 (as well as 182–184 and 204), 188 and 190 London Road were constructed around 1869–1870 as part of a parade then known as Kidderminster Terrace.[1] These two “desirable shops” also had living accommodation consisting of five bedrooms, a parlour, and a kitchen, as well as a “large brick built and slated workshop” each at the back.[2]

1870s: The first few occupants

Number 188, originally known as 3 Kidderminster Terrace, saw a fair amount of turnover during its first decade. By 1872–1873 it was occupied by carpenter A Allan, who was replaced soon after by someone of the name of Coward. I have no information on Coward’s profession or first name, but given that 2–6 Kidderminster Terrace appear to have been built specifically for use as shops with living accommodation, it seems likely that they also ran some sort of shop rather than being just a private resident. Coward remained for a couple of years, but by October 1876 the premises were up for rent again.[3]

A tall narrow black-and-white advert in a variety of fonts, with a drawing of a penny-farthing bicycle at the top, offering “special machines made to order” as well as “Every description of Repairs executed on the premises by experienced workmen at moderate charges” from the “makers of the Euston & Croydon Combination Bicycles”.
Advertisement for C D Vesey & Co, taken from Worth’s 1878 directory.

Next to arrive was C D Vesey & Co, a bicycle manufacturing firm that also offered repairs and sales of second-hand bicycles.

It seems likely that C D Vesey himself was the member of the Surrey Bicycle Club who caused some controversy by winning the 1880 Amateur Tricycling Championship on a “cleverly ‘faked’ bicycle”. A complaint by one of the other competitors that this was “not a tricycle in the strict meaning of the word” was not upheld by the Tricycle Association committee, due to “the absence of a definition of a tricycle in the conditions of the ride”, and Mr Vesey was allowed to have his gold medal on the condition that “a representation of the machine ridden by him be plainly engraved upon the medal before it is presented.” However, the committee were careful to guard against the same thing happening again, resolving that only those models of tricycle that had been “approved” and “registered” by the Association would be allowed to compete in future Championships.[4]

C D Vesey & Co remained only a short time on London Road, and were gone again by Spring 1880, after which the premises remained vacant for several years.[5]

1880s–1890s: A blind maker and a hairdresser

The one to break this streak of vacancy was a blind maker, carpenter, and undertaker known as James Hemmings, who arrived with his “large family” by early 1885. James made an appearance in the local newspaper not long after, having been brought up before Croydon Borough Bench charged with “being drunk and incapable of taking care of himself and a horse and waggonette” on Croydon High Street. He pleaded guilty, claiming as mitigating circumstances that on that day “the people were so pleased to see the Prince of Wales safe back from Ireland that they gave way to drink”, and was fined 12 shillings including costs (£61.43 in 2017 prices).[6]

Advertisement for James Hemmings’s blind making, carpentry, and undertaking business in Ward’s 1886 directory.

Whatever the truth of this excuse, other evidence suggests that James’s drunkenness may have been habitual rather than a one-off. In February 1888 he appeared before Croydon County Court due to having failed to pay a debt of £1 7s 6d (£170 in 2017 prices) to brewers Ind Coope & Co — perhaps an unpaid bar tab at one of their pubs — despite having been ordered the previous October to do so. Still unable to pay, stating that he “had not taken £2 [£247 in 2017 prices] in his shop since November”, James was committed for 28 days. By the end of the year he had departed London Road, and number 188 lay vacant.[7]

Advertisement for Edward Marett at his North End premises on the front page of the 16 July 1870 Croydon Chronicle. Image © The British Library Board. All Rights Reserved. Reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive.

Hairdresser Edward Marett was the next to arrive. Born in the Channel Islands in the late 1830s, Edward was apprenticed to a barber by the age of 13. Ten years later he had arrived in Croydon and was cutting hair at the George Street premises of Edward Huntley. He opened his own hairdressing salon on North End by mid-1870, advertising not only haircuts and perfume but also “ornamental hair of every description” and “Hair Brushed by Machinery”. Edward moved his salon to 188 London Road by early 1890, moved it again up the road to number 302 a year later, and moved it yet again to 12 St James’s Road a year after that.[8]

1890s–1900s: A private resident and a cabinet maker

For some reason, the next occupants of number 188 seem to have used only the living accommodation, rather than also running a shop. William and Helen Barker, two 70-somethings “living on [their] own means”, arrived by early 1891. Helen died on 20 August 1892, but William continued to live here until his own death on 8 April 1897.[9]

It’s unclear why William and Helen chose to take a house with a shop attached, especially given that number 188 is mid-terrace and the configuration today suggests that there would have been no direct access to the living accommodation other than through the shop. William was a retired coal-merchant, so it seems unlikely that he had intended to run a shop but changed his mind after moving in.[10]

Advertisement for George Sturley’s cabinet-making and upholstery business, taken from page 5 of the 1 February 1902 Croydon Guardian. Image © The British Library Board. All Rights Reserved. Reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive.

In any case, this episode of private residency was a relatively brief one in the history of 188 London Road. Cabinet maker and upholsterer George Arthur Sturley arrived by the end of 1897 and remained for around half a decade, along with his wife Emily and three children — two of whom were actually born here. However, in March 1903 George declared himself bankrupt, and he and his family departed London Road.[11]

1900s–1910s: Return of the window blinds

George Sturley’s immediate replacement was window hinge manufacturer S Blight & Son, in place by the start of 1904 but gone again a year later. However, number 188 continued to be the place to go for window accessories; its next occupants were window blind makers Thomson Bros, “Established 1852”, who arrived by the start of 1905 and remained until around 1918.[12]

Advertisement for Thomson Bros in Ward’s 1909 directory. (Note that 66 London Road was renumbered to 188 in the 1920s.)
A text-only advert headed “Wm. Thomson, George Street, Croydon” offering “all kinds of Picture Frames, English and German prints, Chromolithographs Outlines for Magic Lanterns, Slides, and illuminations” as well as artwork hired out by the week or by quarterly subscription “entitling the Subscriber to a change of subjects at pleasure.”
Advertisement for William Thomson senior’s carving, gilding, and frame-making business in the 27 January 1877 Croydon Chronicle, found as a clipping in the firms files at the Museum of Croydon.

The “brothers” of Thomson Bros seem likely to have been William and Augustus Thomson, both born in Croydon in the 1860s to a father, also named William, whose entrepreneurial interests ranged from artists’ colours to tricycles. However, their claim that their business was “Established [in] 1852” is somewhat dubious.[13]

Advert for “Blinds.  Blinds.  Blinds.” at “The Oldest Established Window Blind Manufactory in the Borough”, with “Wm. Thomson & Son, Having acquired the above premises [...] now prepared to execute every description of inside and outside Window Blinds Cheaper than any House in the Town.”
Advertisement for Wm [William] Thomson & Son in a December 1890 issue of the Croydon Times, found as a clipping in the firms files at the Museum of Croydon.

William senior was certainly in business by 1859, running a tobacconists and “Photographic Rooms” on the High Street. By 1864 he had moved his photography business to 70 North End, by 1869 he also had premises on George Street, and by 1874 he had pivoted to working as a stationer, artist’s colourman, carver, gilder, and picture frame maker. By 1882 he had given up his George Street premises and pivoted again to dealing in bicycles, tricycles, and prams.[14]

One of William’s sons — it’s not clear which one — joined him in the business around 1887, and around the same time they took over the premises at 74 North End which had previously been occupied by blind maker Frederick James Burton.[15]

Advert headed “REMOVED!!”, stating that “F. J. Burton, (Established 1852), window blind manufacturer has REMOVED to 107 High Street, Croydon”.
Advertisement placed by Frederick James Burton in the 20 February 1892 Croydon Times, found as a clipping in the firms files at the Museum of Croyon.

Here it becomes clear that the Thomsons’ claim of their blind making business having been established in 1852 is at best somewhat cheeky and at worst an outright lie. Their new premises at 74 North End had certainly been a blind maker’s before they moved in, and this blind maker’s business had certainly been going since at least the early 1860s, under the ownership of first James Burton and then his son Frederick.[16]

However, Frederick certainly did not consider himself to have passed on his business to the Thomsons — indeed, he took out several newspaper advertisements making it clear that in his opinion he had simply moved from North End to the High Street. He continued to trade at 107 High Street until around 1918.[17]

Meanwhile, Thomson & Son became Thomson Bros around 1893, and this new partnership remained on North End until the move to London Road a decade later.[18]

1910s–1920s: Clothes, pictures, and printing

Thomson Bros seem to have shared their premises with other businesses for at least part of their time on London Road, though it isn’t clear how they would have split things up; number 188 is not the widest of shopfronts, and as a mid-terrace property it has no access at either side. Nevertheless, George Skipper’s dress agency, A T Cooper’s picture dealership, and David Marcus’ tailoring business all operated from the same address as Thomson Bros during the 1910s.[19]

The departure of Thomson Bros was followed by the arrival of ladies’ and children’s outfitter Miss Ball, as well as printer Walter Ball, with both in place by the start of 1919. Neither stayed long; Walter was gone by the start of 1921 and Miss Ball also left by the start of 1922.[20]

1920s: A ham and beef warehouse transforms into a kosher deli and butchers

The next chapter in the story of 188 London Road lasted longer than any previous. Ernest Adames’ “Ham & Beef Warehouse” appears to have been the first food-related business to open at either number 188 or number 190, and although Ernest was swiftly replaced, the premises would continue to be used for the sale of groceries and other provisions right up to the 1960s.

While the first four proprietors of this business — Ernest Adames, William F Kemp, S H Phillips, and W A Chatfield — all came and went between the start of 1921 and the end of 1926,[21] the fifth proved to be longer-lasting. Samuel Binstock, a Jewish native of Russia who had been naturalised as a British citizen in November 1910, arrived at 188 London Road around 1926, along with his wife Annie.[22]

There is an obvious incompatibility here between Samuel’s Jewishness and the non-kosher nature of the existing ham and beef warehouse. However, the rapid turnover of the first four proprietors of the business suggests that a focus on ham was not the path to success at 188 London Road, and Samuel certainly seems to have done well enough as a dealer in provisions and poultry to remain here for around a decade. Indeed, his similarly-Jewish neighbours at number 186, Sydney and Martha Pulver, may well have bought their groceries from him.[23]

1930s–1940s: Abraham and Fanny Zeidenfeld

By May 1936, Samuel and Annie had been replaced by Abraham and Fanny Zeidenfeld. Abraham was a gown manufacturer in addition to a provision dealer for at least part of his time on London Road, an activity likely made possible by the fact that Fanny also worked in their grocery shop. The Zeidenfelds remained at 188 London Road until Abraham’s death on 15 May 1945.[24]

Abraham Zeidenfeld’s headstone (centre) at Edmonton Federation Cemetery. Photo: author’s own.

1940s–1960s: Jack and Anne Ritoff

The next shopkeepers to live and work at 188 London Road were Jack and Anne Ritoff, who moved in along with their daughters Claire and Leila just a couple of months after Abraham’s death.[25] Originally born in Poland on 29 December 1900, Jack came to London as a teenager and married Anne in 1932. Before taking over the London Road shop, he worked as a milliner, a commercial traveller selling Japanese china, and an electrical fitter, among other occupations.[26]

The Ritoff family (Claire, Anne, Leila, Jack, and Yuval) outside the shop in the early 1960s. Photograph provided by Claire Ritoff Fishman and used with her permission.

Jack’s daughter Claire shared some memories of her father and the shop:[27]

He never went to school as we know it (just Hebrew School). He spoke 3 languages fluently. He was always telling jokes. [...] He was a very religious man and knew all the Jewish rules. He was looked up to by the Jewish community. The synagogue was within walking distance and he served as the “gubba”, the person who regulated the services [and] made sure everyone had a turn of being called up to read from the Torah and organized all the goings on in the synagogue.

It was fascinating to watch him cut up the meat, which he traveled to London each week to get freshly from the wholesaler. He used to do it himself but eventually he employed a young man to go and haul the sides of beef and lamb. Chickens were delivered live and we had another man who killed them and plucked their feathers out so they could be sold. People would come in and choose which one they wanted.

My Mother ran the delicatessen/grocery shop and it was fascinating to watch her total up peoples’ orders, remember no calculators then. She left school at 14 and was better than me with all my fancy education, at Mental Arithmetic.

Sidebar, my sister’s son (his grandson) was so fascinated by the way my Dad cut up meat that he is now the Master Chef/Head Butcher at the Hilton hotel in Tel-Aviv.

They served the Jewish populations in Croydon, Purley, Carshalton, Coulsdon, Sutton, and little places in between. When he first started out he used to do the deliveries himself. Then he employed this young man to do the deliveries. My sister and I used to help out in the shop. I was fairly useless (too slow).

You should have seen the place on a Sunday morning! My Dad would make an early run to the East End and pick up fresh bagels and other things and between 10 and 1 the place was really crowded with people coming to get their bagels, cream and lox.

[...] in the last few years Muslims were coming for their meat, too, as they also observe the same rules as kosher meat. Then I think their own butcher opened up.

Colour photo of a man wearing black-framed glasses and an open-necked white shirt, looking at the camera with his head slightly turned.
Jack Ritoff after emigrating to Israel. Photograph provided by Andy Preece and used with his permission.

The Ritoffs continued to trade on London Road until the mid-1960s, but with Claire having moved to Australia in 1961 and Anne having been diagnosed with cancer, the business became too much. Jack and Anne sold the London Road shop around 1964–1965, and moved to 64 Lower Addiscombe Road to run the Candy Box sweet shop.

Anne died shortly after the move, but Jack continued to operate the Candy Box until the early 1970s. Nevertheless, when his daughter Leila decided to emigrate to Israel with her Israeli husband, Jack went with her, and remained there for the rest of his life. He died at Netanya, Israel, on 2 March 1985 at the age of 84, and was buried in Netanya Cemetery.[28]

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

Jack and Anne’s departure from London Road led to the final chapter in the saga of number 188 as a standalone shop. Don Richardson, a small betting shop chain which was originally set up in New Malden around the early 1960s, had a branch at 78 London Road by mid-1965, and by mid-1966 it had another one here at number 188 as well as one further up the road at number 542.

A couple of years later the company was taken over by another bookmaking firm, A & P Stallion, and the London Road branches were rebranded to match. However, by March 1973 this one had moved along to number 272 — perhaps to take advantage of a more prominent placement at the junction with St James’s Road — and 188 London Road lay empty, ready and available to be joined to its neighbour at number 190.[29]

Thanks to: Andy Preece; Claire Ritoff Fishman; the Planning Technical Support Team at Croydon Council; the staff, volunteers, and patrons at the Museum of Croydon; and my beta-readers bob and Kat. Census data and non-Croydon phone books consulted via 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. The Duke of Cornwall at 1 Kidderminster Terrace — now 182–184 London Road — was probably the first part of the terrace to be built (see my article on 186 London Road for evidence). However, it’s unclear whether 2–6 Kidderminster Terrace were all built at the same time. Looking first at street directories, Warren’s 1869 directory lists “Three Shops erecting” to the north of the Duke of Cornwall; Wilkins’ 1872–3 directory lists three properties on Kidderminster Terrace, occupied by E N Lucas (number 1a), A Allan (number 3), and T Liddell (no number); and Ward’s 1874 (which according to the preface of the 1876 edition was published in “early 1874”) lists all six Kidderminster Terrace properties, all occupied aside from number 6.

    I see two possible interpretations of the “Three Shops erecting” in Warren’s 1869 directory. First, given that the buildings can be divided by superficial physical appearance (see the second photo in this article) into 2, 3–4, and 5–6 Kidderminster Terrace, the compiler of the directory might have been confused into thinking these five premises were actually only three, and hence in fact all of 2–6 Kidderminster Terrace was under construction as of 1869. If so, then all were likely complete by mid-1870, since there is evidence from newspapers that number 2 was complete by February of that year (a notice on the front page of the 12 February 1870 Croydon Chronicle advertising an auction of household effects and remaining stock-in-trade of a jeweller at 2 Kidderminster Terrace) and numbers 5–6 were complete by April (a notice on the front page of the 16 April 1870 Croydon Chronicle offering 5–6 Kidderminster Terrace for auction).

    The second possibility is that there really were only three shops being built during 1869, and the other two were built later, perhaps even by a different builder. However, it seems unlikely that they were much later. The November 1870 Poor Rate Book lists five empty houses adjacent to the Duke of Cornwall at estimated annual rentals of £45, £45, £45, £50, and £50 respectively (£5,092 and £5,658 in 2017 prices), and the June 1871 book confirms that the first of these was the one occupied by Edwin Newton Lucas, meaning it must have been 2 Kidderminster Terrace and therefore that these five houses (corrected to “House & Shop” in June 1871) were almost certainly 2–6 Kidderminster Terrace. These rate books list the £45/year houses as being owned by “Weller” and the £50/year houses by “Coleman”, lending plausibility to the idea that there were two builders involved.

    It should be noted that an advert on the front page of the 27 November 1880 Croydon Guardian, which offers the leases of 3–4 Kidderminster Terrace for auction, states that these leases (for 99 years) began on 24 June 1868. This doesn’t necessarily imply that the shops had been constructed by 1868, as it’s entirely possible that the original leaseholder(s) acquired the land on a long lease specifically to build shops on it.

  2. Quotations taken from the previously-cited advert on the front page of the 27 November 1880 Croydon Guardian offering the leases of 3–4 Kidderminster Terrace for auction.
  3. Wilkins’ 1872–3 directory lists A Allan, carpenter, at 3 Kidderminster Terrace (later renumbered to 66 and then 188 London Road). Ward’s 1874 and 1876 directories list “Coward, —”; I haven’t been able to find “Coward” in any other sources. Information on rental availability as of October 1876 is taken from an advert on page 4 of the 28 October 1876 Croydon Advertiser, which states that the “house and shop to let” has seven rooms and the rent is “moderate”.
  4. Information and quotations taken from an article on page 7 of the 17 November 1880 Athletic News and another article on page 6 of the 26 June 1881 Referee.
  5. Ward’s directories list C D Vesey & Co in 1878 and “Unoccupied” in 1880, 1882, 1883, and 1884. According to the preface and page notes of the 1880 edition, the data were brought up to date as of April 1880. (This was unusual for Ward’s directories, which were generally finalised in December of the previous year; 1880 was an exception “caused by the General Election, when the work had to be laid aside for a while”.)
  6. Ward’s directories list James Hemmings, blind maker, from 1885 to 1888 inclusive. Information on carpentry and undertaking comes from an advert in Ward’s 1886 directory, reproduced here. Quotation regarding the size of his family is taken from a report on page 3 of the 26 November 1887 Croydon Advertiser, describing James’s summons to Croydon County Court over a debt owed to “executors of the late James Hooker, deceased”. Information and quotations regarding drunkenness are taken from an article on page 7 of the 2 May 1885 Croydon Advertiser.
  7. Information and quotation re Ind Coope case are taken from a report on page 8 of the 25 February 1888 Croydon Advertiser. (Despite looking through all the Borough Bench and County Court reports in the October and November 1887 issues of the Croydon Advertiser, I haven’t been able to find the original order for James to pay his debt to Ind Coope, so my suggestion that this was due to a bar tab is pure speculation.) Ward’s 1889 directory lists the premises as “Shop unoccupied”.
  8. Wilkins’ 1872–73 directory lists E Marett, hair dresser and perfumer, at 54 North End. Ward’s directories list Edward Marett, hairdresser, at 53a North End (and then 147 North End after a mid-1880s renumbering) from 1874 to 1887 inclusive; on Cromwell Terrace in Wallington in 1888 and 1889; at 66 London Road (later renumbered to 188) in 1890; at 158 London Road (later renumbered to 302) in 1891; and at 12 St James’ Road in 1892.

    The 1891 census, which was conducted during his time at 158 London Road, gives his place of birth as “Jersey – St. Heliers”, which along with his age and unusual surname allows tracking him back through previous censuses. The 1851 census shows him as a 13-year-old “Barber Apprentice” living in “St. Helier’s” with his parents, while the 1861 census shows him as a “Hair Dresser” in lodgings on North End, Croydon. An advert on the front page of the 16 July 1870 Croydon Chronicle, reproduced here, states that he was “For nine years with Mr. E. Huntley, George Street”, so he must have been with Mr Huntley by 1861. Warren’s 1865–66 lists Edward Huntley, “Perfumer, &c.”, at 31 George Street. Quotations and information regarding Edward’s salon at North End are also taken from this advert.

  9. Ward’s directories list William Barker at 66 London Road (later renumbered to 188) from 1891 to 1897 inclusive. The 1891 census lists 72-year-old William Barker, “Living on own means” and his 77-year-old wife Helen. Helen’s date of death is taken from her entry in the National Probate Calendar; her estate totalled £145 11s (£18,600 in 2017 prices). William’s date of death is similarly taken from his entry in the National Probate Calendar; his estate totalled £3876 6s 9d (£479,000 in 2017 prices).
  10. William’s profession is taken from earlier censuses; for example, the 1871 census shows him living in Kentish Town as a 52-year-old “Coal Merct: Employing 2 Boys & 3 Men”.
  11. Ward’s directories list George Sturley, cabinet maker, from 1898 to 1903 inclusive. The 1901 census lists 34-year-old George, his 38-year-old wife Emily, and children George (11), Florence (2), and Elsie (10 months). Given their ages, Florence and Elsie must have been born after the move to London Road. Information on George’s bankruptcy (and his middle name) taken from a notice on page 2023 of the 24 March 1903 London Gazette. Ward’s 1904 directory lists a George Sturley as a private resident at 78 Fairholme Road (an address which appears as “Building land” in the previous edition), but it’s not clear whether this is the same George Sturley.
  12. Ward’s directories list S Blight in 1904 and Thomson Bros from 1905 to 1918 inclusive.
  13. The 1881 census shows 51-year-old artist’s colourman Wm [William] Thomson living on George Street with his wife Laura, 20-year-old daughter Blanche, 18-year-old son William, 14-year-old son Augustus, 8-year-old daughter Laura, and Laura senior’s grandmother Sophia. Blanche and William junior are both listed as “Assistant to father”. See later footnotes for the Thomsons’ progress from George Street to London Road, information on their business activities, and a discussion of the 1852 claim.
  14. Gray & Warren’s 1859 and 1861–62 directories list William Thomson, Tobacconist and Photographic Rooms, at 122 High Street; Simpson’s 1864 and Warren’s 1865–66 directories list William Thomson, photographer, at 70 North End; and Warren’s 1869 directory lists William Thompson [sic], photographic artist, carver & gilder, at 9c George Street and William Thomson, photographer, at 70 North End. Wilkins’ 1872–73 directory lists W Thomson, carver and gilder, at 10–11 George Street and (as “Thompson”) at 70 North End, as well as a Mrs Mills, picture frame maker, at 72 North End, suggesting that William took over her business when he moved from 70 to 72.

    Ward’s directories then list William Thomson at 72 North End as a carver, gilder, and picture-frame maker from 1874 to 1882 inclusive; as running a “Bicycle, Tricycle, and Perambulator Depôt” in 1884 and 1885; and as a perambulator maker in 1886 and 1887. They also list him as a photographic artist, carver, and gilder at 9c–9d George Street in 1874 (with his surname again mis-spelled as “Thompson”); and as a stationer and artist’s colourman at 17–18 George Street in 1876 and 1878.

    Despite the various spellings of “Thomson” and the different professions, census data from 1861, 1871, and 1881 confirm that all these W Thom[p]sons were the same person.

  15. The first mention of a son in Ward’s directories is in 1888, when W Thomson, perambulator maker, gives way to Thomson & Son, perambulator makers, at 72 North End and F J Burton, blindmaker, gives way to Thomson & Son, blindmakers, at 74 North End.
  16. James Burton is absent from the alphabetical listings in Gray & Warren’s 1855 directory, but later directories list James Burton, blind maker, at 86 North End in Gray & Warren’s 1859; and at 40a High Street from Gray & Warren’s 1861–62 to Ward’s 1874 inclusive, aside from Wilkins’ 1872–73, which lists F J Burton rather than James Burton. Ward’s 1874 listing seems not to quite correspond wih reality, since according to his entry in the National Probate Calendar, James died in October 1870. Ward’s directories then list F J Burton, blind maker, at 71 North End from 1876 to 1885 inclusive; at 74 North End in 1886 and 1887; and at 107 High Street from 1888 to 1918 inclusive (as J Burton in 1888, though this is clearly a misprint, since he has taken out an advert in the same edition with the heading “Frederick J. Burton”). The change from 71 to 74 North End was not a move, but a renumbering of the street (coincidentally, William Thomson’s shop at number 72 was renumbered to itself). Kelly’s 1913 Surrey directory gives F J Burton’s full name as Frederick James Burton, and the 1861 census states that at that time he and his father James both worked as blind makers. Finally, an article on page 60 of Where To Buy At Croydon by Robinson, Son, and Pike (published in 1891 according to its record in the British Library catalogue) confirms that the business run by F J Burton at 107 High Street was “founded originally by his father whom he succeeded”.
  17. See, for example, the 1892 Croydon Times advert reproduced here. The F J Burton firms file at the Museum of Croydon contains several clippings of other similar adverts. See earlier footnote for evidence on how long Frederick remained at 107 High Street.
  18. Ward’s directories list 74 North End as occupied by Thomson & Son, blindmakers, from 1888 to 1893 inclusive; by Coomson Bros, blind makers (obviously a spelling mistake) in 1894; and by Thomson Bros, blind makers, in 1895 and 1896. In 1897, 74 North End has become a “Shop building” (i.e. a shop being built — this seems to have referred to a rebuild which resulted in a three-shop-wide premises for Woolf Bros, tailors and outfitters) and Thomson Bros have consolidated their blinds, prams, and toys at 72 North End, where they remain up to and including the 1904 edition. In 1905, as noted above, they are instead listed on London Road.
  19. Ward’s directories list George Skipper, dress agency, in 1911; A T Cooper, picture dealer, from 1912 to 1915 inclusive; “Shop unoccupied” in 1916; and David Marcus, tailor, in 1917 and 1918. It’s possible that some or all of these operated from the upper floors and were accessed from inside Thomson Bros’ premises; the 1911 census skips straight from number 64 (modern 186) to number 70 (modern 202), so there don’t seem to have been any private residents up there. (The 1911 census shows Augustus Thomson living on Hathaway Road; I haven’t been able to find his brother William.)
  20. Ward’s directories list Miss Ball, Ladies’ & Children’s Outfitter, and Walter Ball, Printer, in 1919 and 1920; Miss Ball alone in 1921; and E Adames, Ham & Beef Warehouse, in 1922.
  21. Ward’s directories list E Adames in 1922, W F Kemp in 1923, S H Phillips in 1924 and 1925, W A Chatfield in 1926, and S Binstock in 1927, all running a “Ham & Beef Warehouse”. Kelly’s 1922 directory gives Ernest Adames’ full first name, and the 1923 edition gives William Kemp’s.
  22. Ward’s directories list S Binstock, ham & beef warehouse, in 1927; S Binstock, provision dealer & tob[acconist], in 1928, 1929, and 1930; and S Binstock, provision dealer, in 1932 and 1934. London phone books list him up to and including the February (but not August) 1936 edition. The October 1935–October 1936 electoral register lists Samuel and Annie Binstock at 188 London Road. The 1939 Register of England and Wales, which was compiled after Samuel and Annie left London Road, shows them at 17 Nova Road, gives their birth dates as May 1884 and an unreadable month in 1890 respectively, and describes Samuel as a “Hat Machiner”. This allows a connection with Sam Binstock, a “Subject of Russia having been born at Cuminetz, in the Province of Cuminetz Podolsk, in May, 1884; and is the son of Ulter and Joba Binstock, both subjects of Russia — a Hat and Cap Manufacturer — is married and has one child under age, viz:- Joseph aged 10 months” who was naturalised in November 1910 (Home Office No 192262, Certificate No 19682). “Cuminetz” might refer to Kamianets-Podilskyi, which is now part of Ukraine. (The 1939 Register shows Joseph, born 30 December 1909, living at 19 Nova Road, next door to his parents.) Regarding their Jewishness, Samuel and Annie were both buried at Edmonton Jewish Cemetery — see my photo of their headstones.
  23. As noted above, London phone books list Samuel at 188 London Road up to and including February 1936. It seems possible that Samuel was the “S. Binstock” who advertised a newly-opened “Kosher Butcher (strict)” selling “meat and poultry” at 15 Bell Lane in Hendon on page 24 of the 25 October 1935 Hendon & Finchley Times; according to a report on page 3 of the 20 June 1932 Norwood News, he already dealt in poultry at 188 London Road, and had “a pen” there big enough for at least ten chickens.
  24. Ward’s directories list A Zeidenfeld, “Prov [Provisions] Dealer”, in 1937 and 1939 (the final edition), while London phone books list Abraham Zeidenfeld, “Gown Mfr [Manufacturer]” from May 1936 onwards. The 1939 Register of England & Wales lists both Abraham and Fanny as “Provision Dealer[s]”; this Register lists women with no job outside the home as performing “Unpaid Domestic Duties”, so it seems Fanny worked in the shop (though she probably had to do all the housework as well). Also, both are listed as married, so they were almost certainly husband and wife rather than any other form of relatives. Abraham’s date of death, along with confirmation that he still lived at 188 London Road at this point, is taken from his entry in the National Probate Calendar. Abraham, like Samuel and Annie Binstock, was buried at Edmonton Jewish Cemetery. I haven’t been able to find out where Fanny was buried after her own death on 8 September 1961 (see her entry in the National Probate Calendar).
  25. Anne is “Annie” in the official documents I’ve seen, but according to her daughter Claire she preferred to go by “Anne” (via email, 23 February 2019). The first electoral roll appearance of Jack and Anne (as “Annie”) Ritoff at 188 London Road is in the 30 June 1946 edition. Phone books list J Ritoff at 188 London Road from the May 1946 London edition to the March 1964 Croydon edition inclusive. Kent’s 1955 and 1956 directories list Jack Ritoff, “Grocery & Delicatessen”. An article on page 8 of the 21 June 1946 Croydon Advertiser (“Used too many points”) states that Jack “took over the business in July of last year” (hence just missing the 30 June 1945 electoral roll). Jack’s daughter Claire told me (via email, 19 February 2019) that she and her sister Leila were 11 and 10 years old respectively when the family moved to London Road.
  26. Date of Jack and Anne’s marriage is taken from their entry in the England & Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index, which places the registration of their marriage in the Oct/Nov/Dec quarter of 1932 at St Martin’s, London. All other information in this paragraph is taken from Jack’s page in the Preece Family Tree on, posted by Andy Preece and originally provided by Jack’s daughter Claire, aside from information on electrical fitting, which comes from the 1939 Register of England and Wales.
  27. Via email, 19 February 2019. In addition to my editorial changes marked with square brackets, I have also added two missing full stops and an extra paragraph break. Note that Claire’s term “gubba” is now more usually spelt “gabbai”. Regarding her mention of the synagogue being within walking distance, the 1954 Ordnance Survey map shows “Croydon and District Synagogue” in the area bounded by St James’s Road, Wellington Road, Elmwood Road, and Lodge Road.
  28. As noted above, phone books list J Ritoff at 188 London Road up to and including the March 1964 Croydon edition. He is then listed at the Candy Box, 64 Lower Addiscombe Road, in Croydon phone books from June 1965 to February 1972 inclusive. The 1965 electoral register shows Jack and Anne (as “Annie”) at 64 Lower Addiscombe Road. Information on Claire’s move to Australia, Anne’s cancer diagnosis, and Jack and Leila’s move to Israel was provided by Claire (via email, 19 February 2019). According to her entry in the National Probate Calendar, Anne died on 4 March 1966. Information on Jack’s date and place of death and burial is taken from his Preece Family Tree page (see earlier footnote).
  29. See my article on 78 London Road for evidence and more information relating to Don Richardson and A & P Stallion.
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« 186 London Road: A long-vacant property
Vacant for the past decade, 186 London Road was previously home to a singing teacher, a bird fancier, and several hairdressers and estate agents.
190 London Road: Lobo Seafood (part 2) »
A fishmongers since 2002, 188–190 London Road began life as two “desirable shops” with living accommodation attached. I’ve previously described the history of number 188 up to the point where 188 and 190 were joined into one; here I discuss the history of number 190, including events after it was amalgamated with its neighbour, right up to the present day.