Thursday, 7 October 2021

Buttons of Deptford

The image is from http://www.thamesbuttons.com/page1.html
The button was found on the Thames foreshore by Mike 'Cuffs' Walker




Hi, my name is Brian. I live in North Carolina in the United States. I was recently metal detecting on an and uninhabited Island on the coast called Cape Lookout. I found a button with the word Deptford on it. I’m assuming J Taylor was the Tailor who made it. I’ve been searching the web trying to find more information about this person and came upon your blog. I was wondering if anyone could help me find information on this person. How cool is it that this button made it all the way to North Carolina?

Cape Lookout 
View from Lighthouse 



 

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Our Shop part 2


Here's a story involving our shop which might interest you, and might even jog some memories

I must have been about 9 or 10 years old when this happened.

Opposite Wilson street, on the other side of New Cross Road, there was a fried fish shop, I guess you might call it a fish and chip shop today, but we just called it, 'the fish shop'. I can't remember it's name. One day a horse and cart was parked outside the fish shop when a steam engine went past. I don't mean a train, but rather a road-based steam engine. If my memory is correct, anyone delivering using a horse and cart had to make sure that someone was holding the horse's reins whilst the delivery was taking place, I think this was the law at the time. So usually there were at least two people with a horse and cart. The steam engine terrified the horse, and the horse was unattended, or the person with it was not holding the reins, or they were and the horse got away from them, I'm afraid I don't know exactly why, but the horse bolted, and headed down Wilson Street.

It ended up by crashing through our shop door and putting it's front hooves on the counter. It had stopped because the drawbars for the cart had become wedged in the doorway. I didn't see all this myself, as I was at school. When I got home the doors were seriously damaged, and there were two hoof marks on the counter of the shop. These hoof marks stayed there until the shop was destroyed by a bomb in the early years of the war. Thanks goodness there were no customers in the shop at the time! I remember that the doors had to be repaired, and this was a little awkward as they were slightly rounded, being on the corner of the building. I don't know who got the horse out of the shop, or whether anyone paid for the repairs.

Our Shop part 1

 I was born Rosemary Elizabeth Manning on the 6th of December 1926 in Number 8 Wilson Street, which is just off the New Cross Road. My mum and dad were David and Florence Manning, and they ran a corner shop at that address. I had 4 older sisters.The shop was at the end of Wilson Street – which his now Wilshaw Street – on a corner. Diagonally opposite was a rag and bone or scrap yard owned by a family called Read. One of the brothers that ran this business was in fact my brother-in-law. There was also a factory very nearby, at the end of the road, but I can't remember its name or what was done there.
The shop originally belonged to my grandad, my mum's father. My mum and dad, my next oldest sister and I lived with him there until he decided to give the shop up at the age of 83. He went to live with my Aunty Mary, mum's older sister in Forest Hill, and left mum (Florence) the shop. We sold a lot of things in our shop, groceries, haberdashery, and some hardware. We opened early, at 6am, as the local housewives needed to buy things to make their husband's lunch and this sort of thing was done on a daily basis. It was common for people to come in several times a day, as people didn't keep much in their homes. There were no fridges and there wasn't much space in the houses. There were two big jars on the counter, one of pickled eggs and one of mustard pickles and customers would bring a cup for so many pickled onions or for two penny's worth of mustard pickles (they brought their own cups), a single egg, or something else to make a packed lunch with. Our yard was too small for an Anderson shelter, 



So when the bombing started we had to go to a public shelter in the next street. We had to sit upright on benches that ran along each wall. It was difficult to sleep. By the time we'd walked home after the All Clear (usually at 6am) there was already a queue outside the shop. At that stage there was just my mum and me so one of us would go to bed for an hour whilst the other served, then we'd change over. That way we got some sleep before the siren went again and sent us back down into the shelter. I was often left to hold the fort if my mum had to go out. I served on my own from the age of 10 onwards. I loved playing drafts and always had a board set up on the counter and customers would make a move and then another would come in and make the next move and so forth. We sold 7 and 14 pound bags of coal. Again people didn't buy all that much at once. There was nowhere to keep it, and as the downstairs yard of most buildings was communal, it would likely disappear if you left it there. If people wanted a 14 pound sack they had to take it themselves; we had a sack truck that they could borrow if they needed it. But if they ordered 7 pound bags, it was often me that delivered them. My dad made me a miniature sack truck with an iron loop to hold the bags of coal and I delivered the coal from about 8 years old onwards. Most houses were two stories high 'two up and two down', with one family living on each floor and a lean-to kitchen, yard and outside toilet which was shared by both families. So I often had to carry the coal upstairs as well. The coal was delivered into our shed in the back yard via a shoot, 



and it was my job to watch the men carry the hundredweight sacks in and tip them in the shoot: I had to count them in.






 There was a large scale in the shed with a scoop on one end, you put the coal in the scoop and the weight - 7 or 14 pounds - on the other end. Then when the coal was weighed the scoop pivoted so that you could tip the coal into a sac. They used to weigh us kids in this scale! Thursday afternoons were early closing and we did the bagging up that afternoon. Nearly everything was sold loose. The women from the factory would come in during their breaks to buy a single cigarette for a ha'penny, or a bar of chocolate for tuppence - the chocolate was a 2 ounce bar of Cadbury's Milk chocolate. 

The eggs came in big boxes from Denmark and my mum had a shelf with a glass panel on the front, so with the wall at the back and glass in front it was like a topless box and the eggs were placed in there loose. An egg cost three farthings. How much the Danes were paid for them I shudder to think, when they had to send them so far. I always marvelled that they didn't break. Biscuits came in 7lb tins 



and were sold loose. Washing soda came in hundredweight sacks and had to be bagged up. We also weighed up the soda, and dried fruit that came in large sacks. Butter and margarine were delivered in large blocks and had to be cut to size as was required. For the fruit we had thick blue paper bags that stood square. We made cones out of newspaper for the soda. When I got home from school I would fill the bags and my grandad and later my mum would weigh them. An inspector used to come to check that the scales were working properly. We never knew when he was coming, but he came every two or three weeks. We also bagged up things like sugar and dried pulses. My mum cooked whole hams and bacon in a large galvanised pot on the 'Kitchener' in our kitchen.



These were then all cut by hand and sold a slice at a time. She prided herself on the fact that when she sliced the meat you couldn't see where the blade had started or finished, the cut was perfectly smooth. The knife had a blade which was at least 12 inches long and between about ¼ and ½ an inch wide. We also made our own vinegar in the shop. It came 'neat' and we had to add water to make it palatable. It was kept in a red and white striped china barrel with a tap, and people would bring a bottle and we would measure out what they wanted. My mum used to say that you needed eyes in the back of your head when you were serving, as often there were several customers in the shop and it was a small room. She told me that when grandad first left she made a mistake that she never repeated. The women all used to whitewash the steps outside of their houses, many did this every day. The step whitewash (or 'coal wash') was under a shelf on the floor in the shop near the door. At many terraced houses, it was scrubbed clean each day and reddened, or whitened  with pipe-clay or lime donkey stone – an arduous and time-consuming task (and particularly unpleasant on cold days), but often seen as an essential chore. 

One day a customer wanted some and there was none left on the shelf so she went out the back to get some more and someone stole a jar of sweets from the counter. The shop was crowded with half a dozen kids, and they'd gone by the time she'd got back. 

 Next time, school, my dad's allotment and Beam's Breezy Babes dance troop!

Friday, 22 January 2021

Peppercorn Bros Furniture






This post shows and example of a dresser made by Peppercorn BROS limited of Deptford Broadway.