210 London Road is home to Anny’s Mini Market, a small African grocery shop of two years’ standing.
1900s: Books, stationery, and a potato growers’ association
The earliest occupant of number 210 was bookseller and stationer William T Cole, who also had premises at 31 Rochester Row in Westminster. As described in an earlier article, the 26 shops now numbered as 206–272 London Road were built in the early years of the 20th century. Construction was completed around August 1902, and William’s London Road shop was open by mid-November of that year. However, his tenure was brief, and by the end of 1903 number 210 lay vacant.
The premises appear to have spent most of the rest of the decade vacant too, with the only occupant documented in Ward’s directories being what the 1905 edition describes as the “Northrn & Mid. Potato Growers’ Asoc.” — and this was also gone by the time of the 1906 edition.
1900s–1910s: The English Studios
A slightly longer-lasting occupant arrived shortly before the end of the decade, though even this only lasted a few years. The English Studios, photographers, arrived by April 1909 and placed advertisements in local newspapers inviting “any householder whose name appears in Ward’s Croydon Directory” to visit their “new business premises” on London Road “to be photographed and to receive one photograph Absolutely Gratuitously”. Five weeks after first extending this offer, they claimed to have had “2,000 persons” take it up, and reiterated that:
“WE WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH YOU and incidentally to get you to come and inspect our elegantly fitted rooms and studios and see for yourself what our photographs are like.”
Despite these seemingly-effective marketing efforts, the English Studios departed London Road by the end of 1913.
1910s: The Saving Stamp Company
The next business to try its luck at 210 London Road was the Saving Stamp Company, in place by the start of 1915. Despite bearing similarity to the Croydon Discount Check Company which had previously operated next door at number 208, this was a national rather than a local concern, with around 800 branches in places including Battersea, Brighton, Derby, Exeter, Folkestone, Grimsby, Hull, Southampton, and Woolwich. Its head office was at 47 Old Kent Road.
The company first arrived in Croydon in 1904, taking on premises at 110 George Street where it promised to display the “numerous articles” offered in return for collecting £5 worth of its “2d. blue saving stamps”.
These articles included items such as clocks, photo albums, cruets, cutlery, sheets, curtains, and even musical instruments. The stamps themselves could be obtained from participating local traders, who would hand out one stamp for every 2d (£1 in 2018 prices) spent at their shops.
All of this was financed by the traders themselves, who were asked to purchase books of stamps in advance at the price of 9d per hundred. As the Chairman of the Canterbury and District Trade Protection Society explained at an “enthusiastic meeting of traders” held in February 1905 “in opposition to the introduction of stamp trading in the city”, this represented nearly 5% of the trader’s takings. He argued that the system was “injurious to the general public as well as to the general body of traders”:
“He did not know whether there were any gentlemen in the room representing the Stamp Trading Company, but it seemed to him that they stood to gain all and lose nothing. [...] He knew that in his own trade of grocery a retail grocer could not afford to give away five per cent. of his gross receipts to his customers. [...]
“A person saving the stamps had no selection when he had sufficient to get an article, having to take whatever the company had in their depot. For £2 worth of the stamps one might have a lamp that was priced at £2, but there was no beating down the price, and the company got a good profit or they would not do it. [...]
“Many of the stamps never got back to the company. If a woman for instance had saved 200 or 300 stamps and that number was not sufficient to obtain a lamp or sofa or whatever one might require and the person went away the company never saw those stamps and they benefitted in consequence. [...]”
One of the attendees, a Mr Barrows, described his experiences with saving stamps in another district, where a traders’ association had been “able to stamp out the system”:
“He could say without fear of contradiction from any tradesman that it was one of the most pernicious systems of business ever brought before a trader to sign his name to. [...] If a trader took up with the system it would not bring any money to them — in fact a great deal of money would be taken out of [their] pocket [...] the Company could not double anyone’s trade, and if they did increase it somewhat he contended that with the extra expense and labour it was not worth while [...]
“Traders who took up with the system must not think they could drop it and be in the same position as they were before. Apart from anything else, if traders had been giving their customers a certain percentage, or something for nothing, the latter would say the tradesmen were not doing what they used to, and they would go and deal with someone else.”
The Saving Stamp Company was certainly quite forceful in its insistence that traders should take up its offer, placing newspaper advertisements informing the public that:
“The Tradesmen with whom you are now dealing will, if you insist, procure you our stamps. Should you come across some unbusiness-like shopkeepers who refuse you our stamps, please call at our Show Rooms for [a] list of several hundred Up-to-date Tradesmen who will be only too pleased to gain your patronage.”
The Croydon branch remained on George Street for a decade, before moving to London Road around 1914. It remained here until at least the end of 1917, but was gone by the end of the following year.
1910s–1930s: Davis Marcus, tailer and milliner, and Nath Ltd, chemists
Following the departure of the Saving Stamp Company, number 210 was taken over by ladies’ tailor and milliner David Marcus, who also took on the previously-vacant number 208 next door. Around 1923, David scaled back his occupancy to number 208 alone, and so more of his story is given in that article.
David was replaced at number 210 by Nath Ltd, a chemists shop run by one or both of Harry and Zetta Nathanson. The Nathansons seem to have lived on the premises — actually behind the shop, not in the flats upstairs — for at least part of their time here. It’s unclear how long they continued to do so, but the shop at least remained until the mid-1930s.
1930s–1970s: The Stockwell Hygienic Company
By early 1938, Nath Ltd had been replaced by the Stockwell Hygienic Company. Despite the name, this company’s primary focus was not hygiene but birth control. It seems to have started in the 1920s as a mail-order business operated from a private home on Tregothnan Road in Stockwell, though by 1931 it had a shopfront on nearby Stockwell Road. It expanded first to Tooting and then to West Croydon.
The creation of the Stockwell Hygienic Company came as part of a wider movement toward the mainstreaming of birth control in the UK. As historian Lesley Hall explains, in the early years of the 20th century “[c]ontraception was not regarded as being suitable for general discussion, being associated with sexual immorality, sleazy purveyors of ‘rubber-goods’, and irreligious and socially subversive neo-Malthusians.”
Things began to change in 1918, when author, scientist, and activist Marie Stopes published her highly popular and influential Married Love: A New Contribution to the Solution of Sex Difficulties. With its aim “to increase the joys of marriage”, the book covered subjects including “the ignorance of woman about her own body and that of her future husband”, the “supreme law for husbands [...] that no union should ever take place unless the woman also desires it and is made physically ready for it”, the “physiological facts” necessary for understanding how to perform this making-ready, and “the prevalent failure on the part of many men to effect orgasms for their wives at each congress, [which] must be a very common source of the sleeplessness and nervous diseases of so many married women.”
Married Love also discussed the need for contraception. Dr Stopes considered the practice of “coitus interruptus” to be “very harmful” to the woman, leaving her “stimulated and unsatisfied” and producing a “very bad effect on her nerves and general health, particularly if it is done frequently”. Nevertheless, she felt that not only “should the first conception [after marriage] be a little delayed”, but also that “there should be no hurried beginning of a second”. The answer to this was “all the proper, medical methods of controlling pregnancy”, which worked by “preventing the male sperm from reaching the unfertilised egg cell [...] either by shutting the sperms away from the opening of the womb, or by securing the death [...] of the two to six hundred million sperms which enter the woman.”
In line with this, the Stockwell Hygienic Company advertised its products by producing informational pamphlets that also included a catalogue and order form. With titles such as “Wedlock and Birth Control”, “Family Limitation”, and “How to Limit Your Family”, these pamphlets were addressed not to “those who risk [sexual] union before marriage”, nor to “young married couples” desiring “avoidance [...] of their parental responsibilities by having no children”, but to those requiring some “sane means to regulate the number of children born in a family”.
By the time the company arrived on London Road in the late 1930s, contraception was widely available from retail chemists as well as specialist birth control suppliers. However, discretion was still considered important. The Stockwell Hygienic Company posted out its deliveries “in plain coverings, securely packed”, and its shops had separate entrances for men and women.
During the three decades that the Stockwell Hygienic Company remained at 210 London Road, both public opinion and legislation around birth control changed substantially. The Family Planning Association approved the use of oral contraceptives and intra-uterine devices in its clinics in 1961 and 1965 respectively, and the National Health Service (Family Planning) Act of 1967 permitted local health authorities to provide contraceptive advice on “social” as well as “medical” grounds. Family planning was finally brought into the NHS itself with the passing of the National Health Service Reorganisation Act in 1973:
“It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to make arrangements, to such extent as he considers necessary to meet all reasonable requirements in England and Wales, for the giving of advice on contraception, the medical examination of persons seeking advice on contraception, the treatment of such persons and the supply of contraceptive substances and appliances [...]”
While clearly beneficial to users of contraception, these developments could be seen as less advantageous for private providers such as the Stockwell Hygienic Company. Indeed, they may have been the beginning of the end for the latter. Its London Road branch closed down by early 1972, and by the end of the year its head office at 75 Stockwell Road had vanished from the phone books.
1970s–1980s: Plandec, Dane Structures, and JPS Engineering
The next decade at 210 London Road saw a shift in focus from bodies to buildings. Interior decoration supplier Plandec, trading as the Croydon Ceiling Centre, was in place by February 1972. Plandec did not use the premises as a shop, but rather as a showroom for ceiling materials, carpets, storage racks, and other items that the company supplied to the retail trade. Its tenure was brief; it left London Road by August 1973, and by the end of 1974 it had entered voluntary liquidation.
Plandec was replaced by structural engineering firm Dane Structures, which had previously operated from a private house at 93 Portland Road. Dane Structures used 210 London Road as offices until early 1976, when it discovered that this was actually not a permitted use and so moved to Vulcan Way in New Addington. Although the company did apply to Croydon Council’s planning department for permission to resume business on London Road due to this being a “Suitable position for local trade contacts”, it ultimately withdrew the application.
Next to arrive was JPS Engineering, in place by July 1977. This may have been a larger firm that also had premises elsewhere, as a May 1983 planning application for a new shopfront describes 210 London Road as a “branch office”. This office was open to the general public, as well as being used for technical and drawing work. The company remained here until the mid-1980s and left a lasting legacy after its departure in the form of a single-floor rear extension, constructed around 1984 with the aim of increasing the available office space.
2000s–2010s: Shipping and travel
It’s unclear what 210 London Road was used for during the years immediately following the departure of JPS Engineering — the trail remains cold for around two decades, well into the start of the 21st century.
In January 2006, travel agency New Paradise Shipping & Travel, which had previously been located in Charter House behind 29 London Road, applied to Companies House to change its registered office to number 210. Specialising in “flights to the USA and the Caribbean” as well as money transfer and shipping of “barrels, cases, containers, etc”, it advertised a “fast, efficient & reliable door to door service”.
By May 2012, New Paradise Shipping & Travel had been renamed to GJ Shipping & Travel, and at some point during 2017 it was renamed again to Worf Enterprises. By early 2018 it had moved next door to a smaller space created by the division of number 208 into two..
2018–present: Anny’s Mini Market
January 2018 saw the opening of Anny’s Mini Market, a sister business to Timber Gardens restaurant across the road. Anny’s Mini Market and Timber Gardens both originated from owner Anita Danso’s private catering and sauce-making business, which required Anita to import ingredients from Ghana. The opening of Timber Gardens in February 2015 meant an increased need for imported ingredients, and Anita began to look for shop premises as a way of storing the overspill.
Finding nothing available locally, she settled for Streatham High Road, where she opened her first shop under the name of African Forest around early 2016. Happily for West Croydon, 210 London Road became available a couple of years later, and Anita snapped it up. Today, the Streatham shop (also now renamed to Anny’s Mini Market) is run by Anita’s brother, while Anita concentrates on her West Croydon businesses.
According to Anita, the best-sellers at 210 London Road include fresh vegetables such as spinach, apim (a type of plantain), yam, and cocoyam; the smoked mackerel and salted beef that she preserves herself in the Timber Garden kitchens; and storecupboard ingredients including palm oil, gari (a couscous-like preparation made from cassava), and peanut butter. Customers on weekdays are generally local to Croydon, but on the weekends people come in from Kent and Essex to eat at Timber Gardens and shop at Anny’s Mini Market afterwards.
While the shop initially focused on West African food, during 2020 Anita plans to start stocking Ugandan items such as matooke (a starchy banana cultivar used in savoury dishes), sweet potatoes, and garden eggs. Her ultimate aim is to “bring in the whole of Africa to one shop”!
Thanks to: Anita Danso; I.B RedGuy’s Fine Stamps; Lesley Hall; the Planning Technical Support Team at Croydon Council; the staff, volunteers, and patrons at the Museum of Croydon; the Wellcome Collection; and my beta-reader Fred. 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
- Ward’s 1903 directory (the data for which were finalised in late 1902) lists W T Cole, bookseller & stationer, at 3 Royal Parade (later renumbered to 210 London Road). The 1904 edition instead lists 3 Royal Parade as “Unoccupied”. An advert on page 8 of the 15 November 1902 Croydon Guardian (reproduced here) confirms that W T Cole was on London Road by that date and gives an additional address of 31 Rochester Row, Westminster. William’s full first name is taken from his Rochester Row listing on page 1032 of the 1902 Post Office London Directory.
As noted above, Ward’s 1904 directory lists the property as unoccupied, and this is also the case for the 1906, 1908, and 1909 editions. The 1907 edition omits 3 Royal Parade entirely; it’s unclear why, since these directories usually explicitly stated when a property was unoccupied, and indeed this edition lists 2 Royal Parade as being in that state.
It’s also unclear what the actual name of the “Northrn & Mid. Potato Growers’ Asoc.” was. I’ve searched the British Newspaper Archive for this and many variants, and the closest I’ve found is the Yorkshire and North Midlands Potato Growers’ Sub-Committee (or possibly Committee, or Joint Committee) — but I can’t think why such an organisation would have wanted an office in Surrey. I contacted York Archives, Sheffield Archives, the British Potato Trade Association, and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (successor to the Potato Marketing Board), and none of them have any records of this organisation. (I also contacted the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, but received no response.)
- Ward’s directories list English Studios, photographers, from 1910 to 1913 inclusive. In-text quotations are taken from an advert on page 5 of the 10 April 1909 Croydon Guardian. Block quotation is taken from a similar advert on page 7 of the 15 May 1909 edition.
Ward’s directories list the Saving Stamp Company at 3 Royal Parade (later renumbered to 210 London Road) from 1915 to 1918 inclusive. I have no sources on the Croydon Discount Check Company other than its entry in Ward’s 1905 directory, so my assumption that it was a local concern is derived solely from its name.
The figure of 800 branches is taken from an advertorial on page 6 of the 25 November 1905 South London Press. This advertorial also gives the alternate name of “United Retailers’ Association”, and claims that it was “instituted in 1880”, though I have found no other evidence for the latter claim.
Saving Stamp Company locations in Battersea, Brighton, Exeter, and Grimsby are taken from articles on page 8 of the 22 July 1905 South London Press (“Charge of embezzlement”), page 6 of the 24 August 1905 Brighton Gazette (“Charge of housebreaking and theft”), page 4 of the 23 August 1910 Western Times (“Exeter fraud. Alleged theft of trading stamps. Porter convicted”), and page 2 of the 28 October 1905 Boston Guardian (“Grimsby manager’s defalcations”), respectively; and locations in Derby, Folkestone, Grimsby, Hull, Southampton and Woolwich are taken from adverts on page 2 of the 7 June 1905 Derby Daily Telegraph, page 7 of the 11 January 1905 Folkestone Express, page 6 of the 16 January 1905 Hull Daily Mail, page 3 of the 1 March 1904 Southern Echo, and page 3 of the 28 April 1905 Kentish Independent respectively. “Charge of housebreaking and theft” describes items stolen from the Brighton branch as being “the property of the Twopenny Blue Saving Stamp Company, 47, Old Kent Road, London”, and “Exeter fraud” confirms that the head office was in London.
- “Exeter fraud” (as above) describes “the consignment of a box containing 100 books of stamps to the Exeter office from the London headquarters”, with each book containing “5,000 stamps of the face value of 2d each” and the books being “numbered from ‘K.L. 300’ to ‘K.L. 399’”. “EX 631” is clearly the same form of “number”.
Quotations are taken from an advert on page 6 of the 20 February 1904 Norwood News, which states that the Saving Stamp Company “have taken 110, George Street, Croydon”, but notes that these premises require some “alterations”, and invites traders wishing to participate to contact the company at its “Temporary Address” of 53 Wellesley Road. Ward’s street directories list the company at 110 George Street from 1905 onwards; in the 1904 edition it is absent from both the listing for 53 Wellesley Road and the alphabetical list of traders (note that the data for these directories were generally finalised late the previous year). Examples of “articles” are from “Charge of housebreaking and theft” (as above), “Exeter fraud” (as above) and a Colchester Police Court report on page 8 of the 29 September 1909 East Anglian Daily Times.
The Saving Stamp Company was not the only such business operating in Croydon at the time. The Premium Trading Stamp Company, with its rival green 4d stamps, had a showroom at 73 London Road from around 1903 to around 1908.
Some readers may remember a later incarnation of this type of promotion in the form of Green Shield Stamps, introduced in 1958 and lasting until 1983. More information on these can be found in Richard Tompkins’ entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (requires login, but a Croydon library card number will do), and a photo of stamps and book can be seen on Flickr.
- Quotations and information on pricing of the stamps is taken from an article on page 2 of the 18 February 1905 Whitstable Times (“Stamp trading. Canterbury opposed to its introduction. Monday’s public meeting”). 9d per hundred stamps is 0.09d per 2d stamp, i.e. 4.5%, which the Chairman rounded up to “five per cent. of [the trader’s] gross receipts”. The same article also mentions a “fourpenny stamp trading company” (likely the abovementioned Premium Trading Stamp Company) which sold books of 5,000 stamps for £3 15s, i.e. 0.18d per 4d stamp, which again is 4.5% of takings.
- Quotation taken from advert on page 3 of the 28 April 1905 Kentish Independent. The claim of “several hundred” tradesmen seems not to have been an exaggeration; another advert on page 5 of the 3 April 1905 Hull Daily Mail lists 359 separate traders dealing in items from baby linen to tripe.
- Ward’s street directories list the Saving Stamp Company at 110 George Street from 1905 to 1914 inclusive and at 3 Royal Parade from 1915 to 1918 inclusive. The company is absent from the alphabetical list of traders in the 1919 edition, suggesting that it had left Croydon. Elsewhere, it does appear to have lasted until the 1930s at least, since an article on page 4 of the 4 August 1932 Daily Herald describes a fire at “the factory of the Saving Stamp Company, Ltd., in Hemp-row, Darwin-Street, Southwark”, noting that “Many ‘free gifts’ are stored at the factory, and children watched firemen hurling carpets, ‘teddy bears,’ and other articles from the windows into the street.”
- Ward’s directories list Nath Ltd, chemists, at 210 London Road (or 3 Royal Parade pre-1928) from 1924 to 1937 inclusive. The Autumn 1924 electoral register also lists Harry and Zetta Nathanson at 3 Royal Parade; Harry’s parliamentary entitlement to vote is a “Residence qualification”, whereas Zetta’s is “Qualification through husband’s occupation” (note that “occupation” here refers to property, not profession).
- Ward’s 1939 directory lists the Stockwell Hygienic Co Ltd. The company also appears here in phone books from the May 1938 London edition onwards. Croydon Council’s earliest record of a planning application for 210 London Road, dated 4 January 1938, is for a “shopfront” (ref 27874, viewed on microfiche at Croydon Council offices). This record is unfortunately both sparse and hard to make out, but given the date is very likely for the Stockwell Hygienic Company’s new premises. It also includes the annotation “Marvin Hart”, suggesting that the shopfitting work was done by the firm of that name just over the road at number 187.
- Re the use of “Hygienic” in the name, historian Lesley Hall tells me that “most of these establishments had a plausible deniability thing of also selling trusses and other slightly unmentionable health-related items that people might not want to be seen buying in high street chemists, and these were usually up-front in their catalogues. But the real money was, I am pretty sure, always in the birth control — especially condoms (Jess Borge’s forthcoming work on the London Rubber Co reveals what enormous markups there were on rubber johnnies) and ‘female pills’, which would have been very cheap to make.” (via email, 24 January 2020).
- An advert on page 12 of the 12 March 1926 Norwood News (reproduced here) offers a pamphlet on birth control obtainable along with a catalogue from the “Stockwell Hygienic Stores” at 20 Tregothnan Road, SW9. Another advert on page 15 of the 5 February 1931 Norwood News offers another birth control pamphlet along with a “Sample parcel of surgical rubber goods” (almost certainly condoms) from the “Stockwell Hygienic Co.” at 80 Stockwell Road, SW9. Google Street View confirms that Tregothnan Road is entirely residential, and also only a few hundred metres from 80 Stockwell Road, so given the similar names the “Stores” and “Co.” are almost certainly the same business. The November 1937 phone book lists the Stockwell Hygienic Company at 80 Stockwell Road and 172 Upper Tooting Road, and as noted earlier the company seems to have arrived on London Road in early 1938.
- Margaret Sanger, author of “Family Limitation”, was an American reproductive rights activist. Several editions of this work are available at the Wellcome Library, including one which is described in its record as having been “the subject of a prosecution in 1923” (ref PPEPR/G/28/62). Regarding the pills to cure “irregularities”, see for example page 5 of Abortion In England 1900–1967 by Barbara Brookes (Routledge, 2013). The Stockwell Hygienic Company also sold these, according to an advert on page 22 of the 13 March 1931 Norwood News which offered “‘Lotax’ Pills [...] a sure and safe remedy for all irregularities” from “Mrs. Willis c/o the Stockwell Hygienic Co., 80, Stockwell-rd., S.W.9.”
- Quotation taken from Dr Hall’s essay “Questions of control and choice: women and reproduction in Britain since 1900”, in “Birth and breeding: the politics of reproduction in modern Britain”, October 1993, Wellcome Institute exhibition catalogue (p. 5).
- Quotations are taken from the 6th edition (1919) of Married Love, as digitised by Project Gutenberg (pp. xi, 22, 45, 46, 56).
- Quotations are again from the Project Gutenberg digitisation of Married Love (pp. 51, 51 again, 52, 52 again, 81, 84, 90, 90 again). Dr Stopes also believed coitus interruptus to be harmful to the woman because said woman “loses the advantage” of “the internal absorption of [...] the highly stimulating secretion of man's semen” (p. 52).
- Titles of “Wedlock and Birth Control” and “Family Limitation” are taken from adverts on page 12 of the 12 March 1926 Norwood News. The first was advertised by the Medical and Surgical Supply Company of Paternoster Row, and the second by the Stockwell Hygienic Stores, which I believe to be an earlier name for the Stockwell Hygienic Company itself. Quotations are taken from the 5th edition of “How to Limit Your Family”, published by the Stockwell Hygienic Company around 1940, viewed at the Wellcome Library (shelfmark P844).
- For more information on contraceptive availability and the need for discretion during this period, see “Under the covers? Commerce, contraceptives and consumers in England and Wales, 1880–1960”, Claire L Jones, 2016, Social History of Medicine 29(4), 743–756.
- Quotation is taken from “How to Limit Your Family”, as above. This publication includes photos of all three of the company’s shops, each with separate “gents” and “ladies” entrances on either side of a central display window (see Croydon photo reproduced here).
- Information on the Family Planning Association is taken from the history factsheet on its website. The full text of the National Health Service (Family Planning) Act 1967 is not currently available online, but there’s a brief summary on the UK Parliament website. The National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973 is online at the UK Legislation website; the quotation here is from Part 1 Section 4.
- The Stockwell Hygienic Co, “Surg Appl, Trusses”, is listed at 210 London Road in the July 1971 North East Surrey phone book but absent from the February 1972 Croydon edition, while the Stockwell Surgical Co, “Surg Reqs”, is listed at 75 Stockwell Road in the June 1971 London edition but absent from the December 1972 edition. It’s unclear whether the naming as a “Surgical” rather than a “Hygienic” company is due to formal company registration reasons, different naming of the branches, or something else. See later footnote for evidence that 210 London Road was occupied by a different company by February 1972.
- Plandec (ICS) Ltd, Suspended Ceiling Contr[actor]s, is listed at 210 London Road in the March 1973 Croydon phone book and at Clock Tower House, Union Road, Croydon, in the July 1974 edition. See later footnote for evidence that Plandec had left 210 London Road by August 1973. Information on the way the company used its London Road premises is taken from a planning application for an external storage building at the rear (ref 72-20-197, viewed on microfiche at Croydon Council offices); this also gives the company’s full name as “Plandec (Interior Construction Services) Limited” and confirms that it was occupying 210 London Road as of 8 February 1972. The name of “Croydon Ceiling Centre” comes from an earlier planning application for a new shopfront (ref 71-20-2330). Information on voluntary liquidation is taken from a notice on page 1016 of the 23 January 1975 London Gazette.
- Croydon phone books list Dane Structures, structural engineers, at 93 Portland Road in March 1973, at 210 London Road in July 1974 and January 1976, and at Vulcan Way, New Addington, from July 1977 onwards. Google Street View imagery clearly shows that 93 Portland Road is a private house. Information about the company’s discovery that office use was not permitted at 210 London Road is taken from a planning application for “change of use from shop/offices to all offices” (ref 76-20-1884). A Council officer’s report included in the records of this application states that “Applicant claims GF [ground floor] was used as offices when they purchased property in 1973 & that they used GF as offices until Feb 1976 without realising PP [planning permission] was required.” The application was deposited in November 1976, with the company’s address given as Vulcan Way. The records are marked “Withdrawn”, but no reason is given and no related correspondence is included.
- JPS Engineering Ltd is listed at 210 London Road in Croydon phone books from July 1977 to 1985 inclusive, but is absent from the 1987 edition. The planning application which mentions the “branch office” was deposited on 11 May 1983 (ref 83-1099-P). Information on use of the premises (“as technical and drawing office [...] facilities open to general public”) is taken from another planning application (ref 83-1455-P), and information on the rear extension (“which is now being built”, according to a letter dated 28 August 1984) is from another (ref 83-1200-P).
- Previous address of New Paradise is taken from the Internet Archive capture of its website as of 5 May 2005 and confirmed by its filing history on the Companies House website (see PDF dated 20 December 2000). Date of change of registered office to 210 London Road is also from this filing history (see PDF dated 25 January 2006). Quotation regarding flights is from an Internet Archive capture dated 25 August 2005, and other quotations are from the shop window as of January 2012 (see photo in main article).
Timing of name change to GJ Shipping & Travel is from personal observation (see May 2012 photo in main article). Google Street View imagery from April 2017 shows the GJ Shipping & Travel sign still up, while a similar view from September 2017 shows that the sign has gone but the email address firstname.lastname@example.org and a logo formed of the letters “W” and “E” are present on the frontage. Timing of move to number 208 is partly from personal observation — I saw it there in June 2018 — and partly from a conversation with the owner of Anny’s Mini Market (see later) in which she told me that her shop opened at number 210 in January 2018.
My assertion that these were name changes rather than completely new businesses is based mainly on a conversation with Mr Ray, a member of staff at Worf Enterprises, after its move to number 208 (in-person conversation, 7 November 2019). Mr Ray told me that Worf Enterprises was previously known as GJ Shipping, that it had operated at number 210 before moving to number 208, and that it was originally set up around 15 years previously. This fits reasonably well with the origin of New Paradise Shipping & Travel, which according to the Internet Archive capture of its website as of 25 August 2005 was set up in December 2000. It’s also worth noting that according to Companies House, GJ Shipping & Travel Ltd has a director named Claudeth Lynch born in July 1956 while New Paradise Shipping & Travel Limited has a director named Claudette Lynch born in July 1956. It seems very likely that this is actually the same person, showing a further link between the two companies.
- Information in this section provided by Anita Danso, owner of Anny’s Mini Market (in-person conversation, 14 November 2019).