Brockley Fruit and Vegetable Market, Brockley Road [Updated image]

New and improved image, courtesy of BC regular Fintan.

The infinitely resourceful Transpontine has unearthed this image of a fruit and vegetable market at 167 Brockley Road, circa 1890. That would place it next to the defunct holistic therapy centre in today's Brockley.

We love this image, partly because it reminds us how much we have lost and are trying to recover. It also acts as a gentle rejoinder to the school of thought on Brockley Central that things never change - and that hoping for better things is futile. The area - like all areas - is in a constant state of flux. We hope we're lucky enough to be in Brockley during an upswing in the area's fortunes. Saying that a shop is doomed to fail now because it was tried unsuccessfully 10 years ago is as meaningless as saying that a grocery is doomed to fail in 2009 because J Easton gave it a go in 1890.

Incidentally, if anyone knows what "The Pavement" that the poster refers to is, please let us (and Transpontine) know.

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps just a stand selling food out on the pavement of the same road.

Ross said...

this has been my desktop background since reading transportines blog the other day. i'm really into it, where is it from?

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed that the sign advertises "lowest priced coke" to the landed gentry of Brockley?

Some things never change eh!

Crofton Parker said...

Ah, what a wonderful find! Thanks for sharing it. And all that produce organic too...

Could "The Pavement" have been a paved part of the old Brockley Footpath, I wonder? The one that ran up to Ladywell from Nunhead, going along what is now Sevenoaks Rd and Ewhurst Rd. They seemed much more precise in olden days about difference between a footpath and a pavement. Certainly there have been a clutch of shops in that bit of Ewhurst Road where they still exist since at least the 1920s - the butcher's premises there now has been there that long. Yet Sevenoaks Road, at least, did not get its name til the mid 30s when it was developed for housing after Brockley Hall was demolished. Could it be that that strip of the footpath, since it had proper shops on it, was upgraded and then proudly referred to as the Pavement. Pure guessing, though.

Monkeyboy said...

I've just bought some repro prints of the area for my newly decorated walls...

http://bit.ly/xcqFC

interesting to try and place Malpas Road on an empty field last century.

Anonymous said...

there is a 'The Pavement' in Clapham, perhaps it's referring to that

Monkeyboy said...

Also sold 'foreign' vegetables, Cat Man won't like that. Bloody garlic coming over hear and annoying our turnips.

As Nick says, the only constant is change.

The Cat Man said...

Well, it says 196 Brockley Road, then it says 193, the pavement.

My guess therefore is that it is simply the pavement outside the premises at 193!

It is quite interesting really, presumably in 1890 not many people could read or write, therefore if they were putting things like this up it just shows how wealthy Brockley used to be!

Has anyone tried the online search for the 1911 census which is now released? I did a search on my house, and found that 7 - yes 7 people were registered as living there then! Remarkable really, it was only a 2 bed house!

Anonymous said...

Probably Australians

Kinglard said...

A quick Google search said that there was a 'High Pavement' in Lewisham at that time. Could possibly be this: http://www.ideal-homes.org.uk/lewisham/lewisham/high-pavement-1887.htm

Brockley Kate said...

"presumably in 1890 not many people could read or write"
and made music by bashing rocks together ...

I've been loving this poster since Transp. posted it. It just rocks. Also: 'coke at lowest wharf prices' - heh!

Oracle said...

Transpontine should be careful with his numbers. Numbers of properties used to change as each building rose or was introduced over time. Number "6" was later number "12" and so on. The emergence of new buildings changed the numbering system and caused much confusion to later historians. Neil may be looking in the wrong place and at the wrong time.

Anonymous said...

There was 'The Pavement' Ladywell Road.

Meanwhile in 1891 at 167 Brockley Road lived Joseph Easton, Greengrocer and his wife Elizabeth both aged 41.

Their children were all greengrocer's assistants, Nellie, 18, Aurthur, 17 and Ernest 15.

Anonymous said...

The 1901 Census shows the family at 216 Brockley Road having replaced the old servant with a female in her teens.

Joseph came from Sussex and in 1871 was living with his brother who was a coal merchant.

Looks like Joseph may married Elizabeth in September 1871.

In 1891 between 167 & 193 Brockley Road lived a Cabinet Maker, Cheesemonger, Baker, Wine Merchant, House Decorator, Fruiterer, Watch Maker, Draper, Florist and Stationer.

Anonymous said...

"..doomed to fail blahdiblah, just because J Easton gave it a go.Ten years ect.."

He'd been giving it a go for fifteen years(est 1875) matey boy, before the image was recorded. So wAS PRETTY much establishd by 1990 i'D thinK.

above anon said...

erm. make that 1880

aarghnonymous said...

no. 1890.

Anonymous said...

"hoping for better things is futile"

it depends what those 'better things' are really, some might say that a nursery on Manor Avenue might be a better thing, or a CPZ in Ladywell

but I guess the story provides us with the differences between this blog and Transpontines blog.

Brockley Nick said...

Well in this case, it would be a functioning shop, rather than a derelict one. Which is about as objective a standard as is possible to get, I suppose.

But it's an important point - I wasn't arguing necessarily for a particular form of change, but against those who deny that 'change for the better' is possible in any form - whatever you think it may be. I was arguing the case for optimism - and it is optimism which I hope characterises this blog above all else.

Anonymous said...

"and it is optimism which I hope characterises this blog above all else."

not for me it isn't, but that's subjective as well I guess

Brockley Nick said...

Odd, because you sound like a really optimistic sort of a chap.

How would you characterise it?

Headhunter said...

There are lots of "The Pavement" bits of London. If you look up above shop fronts in many areas you'll see things like "The Pavement 1889" or whatever. I think naming a short stretch of newly built shops The Pavement was just a way for Victorian developers to make their mark and pick their buildings out from the rest. Most of these names have fallen into disuse since then.

It was also very popular in the late 19th century and even the early 20th centuries for people to name their houses, you can see this along Pepys and Jerningham Rds - house names are etched in the stone door frames. At that time it was obviously felt that an address as "32 Pepys Rd" was not glam enough, in fact I'm not sure that houses even had numbers until the late 19th century, I know that in Georgian times, addresses were identified by the style of fanlight over the door.

Tressillian James said...

I thought The Pavement was the stretch of Lewisham Way that ran by the Dept store and shops there. I swear I saw a picture of it described as such - and the pavement was about double the width it is now. I'll try and rack my brians where I saw the image and see if i can come up with it.

Crofton Parker said...

Tressillian don't rack too much! A link to the very photo you're talking about is up here above, posted by Kinglard at 20;06 yesterday. But your memory is spot on.....

Anonymous said...

'I'll try and rack my brians where I saw the image.

This conjures up an image of some sort of macho S&M club in Brockley.

Headhunter said...

Crofton Parker - The link posted by Kinglard refers to a spot on Lewisham HS where the big, new police station is. I think TJ is referring to the stretch of Lewisham Way alongthe edge of the conservation area, where the Tesco Metro is and the old Pynes Dept Store (now Coral or some other such bookies).

Transpontine said...

@ Oracle, good point about the numbering, I wouldn't assume that 167 Brockley Rd then is in the same building or location as 167 now (btw what is at 167 now?). Although for many Victorian streets laid out in one go the numbering has remained mostly consistent (give or take the odd bit of bomb damage).

Not sure we are any the wiser about the Pavement - it is clear from the poster that it is in Brockley. I guess at a stretch that could include part of Lewisham Way, but the police station/ex-Army & Navy store site seems to close to central Lewisham to be described as Brockley. Or maybe this is evidence of a historic Greater Brockley stretching from the mountains to the sea which will one day be reclaimed by a resurgent Brockleyite empire.

Crofton Parker said...

Ooh, so that means Lewisham once had at least two department stores. Man. Heady days!

Brockley Nick said...

@Transpontine - I don't think 167 exists - the road numbering stops at 169and then becomes Brockley Cross.

The Greater Brockley empire will bring peace to this troubled land.

Transpontine said...

Just been checking, don't think there is a 167 Brockley Rd now, Brockley Holistic is number 169 the next building along is the Pavillion estate agents - but the numbering here switches to 25 Brockley Cross.

Maybe this address was on what is now Upper Brockley Road, I think on old maps the (now) two roads are treated as one continuous road.

Moira said...

I wonder if The Pavement could be the raised one on Upper Brockley Road?

Brockley Kate said...

From the look of the illustration, is there perhaps a railway bridge on the far left? And there's a taller building to the right which could be what is now Pavilion's office (was previously the optician). So it looks to me as though the grocers where the bakery now is. Perhaps the numbering was changed to relate to Brockley Cross at a later date?

Brockley Kate said...

... And that would also make sense because it says '167a Brockley Rd'. If the Pavilion building should be 167 then the single-story building next to it (now the bakery) could be an add-on, ie. 167a.

Transpontine said...

@Kate - sounds right - based on good evidence.

@Moira - sounds right too, based only on intuition.

Monkeyboy said...

I'm hopindg it was based on the site of the legendary 'Toes Ask'

http://bit.ly/sSwHo

Anonymous said...

167 Brockley Road was actually in Deptford at the time.

Have found a picture of 'The Pavement' in Brockley.

It's described as the row of shops built in 1896 between Brockley Grove and Marnock Road, by Crofton Park station.

Kate said...

In 1890 Brockley Road was what is today Upper Brockley Road. I live on Upper Brockley Road and have been looking at the census inforamtion for the street. Indeed the Eastons lived at 167 Upper brockley Road. I have a picture of the 1891 census but dont know how to upload to this site.

Brockley Nick said...

Hi Kate

That is brilliant detective work, thanks. If you want to send me an image of the census, you can do so at nick.barron@gmail.com

Thanks

Nick

Paddyom said...

I came across a Victorian photo of a shop on Algernon Rd Ladywell today, it was a picture of a dairy shop by the name of I J Haydon from the late 1800's. On their milk cart it states "J Haydon, Vicars Hill Dairy, The Pavement, Ladywell".

Could the Pavement in question therefore be what is known as Algernon Rd today?

Have a look for yourselves:

http://picasaweb.google.com/lewishamheritage/LadywellAHistoryInPictures#5193576410177522258

If i am right do i win a prize?

Paddyom said...

That Link again :

http://picasaweb.google.com/lewishamheritage/
LadywellAHistoryInPictures#5193576410177522258

Sue said...

It looks quite narrow - do you think it could be what is now the pottery and chocolate shop, or maybe the florist on the other side?

Kate said...

More on the Eastons of Upper Brockley road..... Nick I have emailed you the jpeg of the census with the info. the actual shop would have been on the little slip road that runs dowwn the side of the newsagent on malpas Road. i think this was bombed during the war so the original building has gone.

Enlightenment Dude said...

I doubt they stocked a quarter of the stuff you can get in the good old traditional Costcutter.

Nostalgia is a very prevalent, but seldom diagnosed mental illness (or it should be). Thank you sweet Jesus for Ocado is all I can say.

Anonymous said...

For a self proclaimed enlightened individual, you dismiss alternatives with the confidence that only the truly dogmatic can muster.

Brockley Nick said...

It's not nostalgia for the quality of the fruit but for the role of a specialist grocer in Brockley - a recognition that progress isn't always linear.

The fact that more than a century on, trade and wealth mean we can buy a better quality and range fruit than in days of yore, is neither here nor there.

Brockley Nick said...

PS - Brockley Central bows to no blog in its admiration of Ocado, so don't try playing that card ;)

Anonymous said...

I knew it, the Ocado Set, a source of amusement elsewhere, but here treated with reverence.

Brockley Nick said...

They deliver the stuff you order (hardly any replacements) to your door at the time you want it (hardly ever late - timeslots specific to the hour). The fact that the central hub model is the most environmentally efficient and that Ocado technology will probably get exported around the world are two added bonuses.

I haven't had to do a supermarket shop in 6 months - if I need stuff in a hurry, I can now buy locally, Ocado for everything else.

What's not to like?

Anonymous said...

Just about everything in that justification.

Brockley Nick said...

Good one. Just let us know what forms of grocery shopping you find acceptable and why and we'll keep that in mind.

Anonymous said...

Arguably food is the most important
thing in our lives. I can't imagine handing over the responsibility for choosing the items I'll eat to someone else. I care. Simple.

I'm not condemning Ocado customers and I'll be accused of being arrogant I suppose, just because I've a different lifestyle.

Brockley Nick said...

What do you mean? Ocado doesn't choose the food for you. You choose the stuff you want, exactly the same way you would in any shop.

A different, less contrary Anon said...

I expect anon forages in sainsburys for the best sell by date and haggles at the fish counter....just before being escorted out by security.

A different, less contrary Anon said...

I expect anon forages in sainsburys for the best sell by date and haggles at the fish counter....just before being escorted out by security.

Anonymous said...

I guess if you want to make sure you get a good sized baking potato etc. then in-person is better.

A sarcastic anon said...

Is that the best retort? Baking potato size? This could be the emperors new cloths moment, I expect the share price to collapse at any moment.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I thought you meant you ordered online. I didn't know you could go into Waitrose and choose it and have it delivered.

Brockley Nick said...

No, sorry you were right first time. It's just I don't see any value in seeing my bottle of milk, tub of yoghurt or tin of beans in the flesh before ordering it. I can see what you're getting at re: baked potato size, but I'm sorry, I don't regard the size of my potato as being one of the most important things in life - I value not having to go to the supermarket more. All the more time to waste on here arguing with people whose sense of superiority comes from laughing at the suckers who only get the medium-sized potato.

I should add, I have never had grounds for complaint about the size of Ocado potatoes, but perhaps there are others who've been stung, but have lived to tell the tale?

Nope, still not feeling your argument said...

Well yes, but you prefer to drive or walk to the supermarket in otder to choose a specific potato. Not sure there's a major quality control difference in supermarket produce. The one thing that supermarkets excel in is constancy. The idea that visiting a supermarket branch rather than ordering the exact same thing from a central distribution centre will mean a better result is not a strong argument, no matter how much "you care". Potato size excluded of course.

...but I am feeling nicks logic said...

Beat me to it nick...

Anonymous said...

I don't know what you lot are on about, I didn't mention potato size that was a another anon. Still use it to beat me with. I don't eat potatoes incidentally, they've little nutritional value and supermarket potatoes taste of...nothing.

You are what you eat, but
obviously you're all far too important to go food shopping.

Anonymous said...

And none of you have posited an alternative to 'the supermarket'. Great viral PR for supermarkets.

Anonymous said...

the debate was between foraging on a branch and shopping online. Keep up.

Anonymous said...

I think some of you have had too many sherberts today I can't follow this at all. Still, pleased you're all so self-satisfied.

self satisfied anon said...

mearly pointing out that online shopping is not so different from visiting a branch. Same produce, different method of procuring said produce. I could draw you a venn diagramme?

Osh said...

Funny anons complaining about not being able to follow a conversation.

Call yourselves something then we can all follow what's going on more easily.

Welcome to 2011 said...

"And none of you have posited an alternative to 'the supermarket'. Great viral PR for supermarkets."

Point of order - Ocado isn't a supermarket, it's an independent company that has the rights to sell Waitrose food. And the start of the conversation was all about independents. And nick talked about shopping locally.

I think supermarkets are fairly well established these days, so the concept of buying food from supermarkets can probably can do without marketing support from Brockley Central.

another anon said...

to be fair, i think nick - like most people - like a mix of both. Is that really an issue?

Brockley Nick said...

I think the underlying issue is to do with the cultural associations of "Ocado" - ie: it's terribly middle class. That's what set the original anon off. Doubt we'd have had such a bizarre argument if we'd just said we liked online supermarket shopping.

Anonymous said...

oh yes we would

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