Brockley 1910

A couple more historic photos of Brockley, this time courtesy of the Brockley Design Project. These two were taken circa 1910.

'Midtown' Brockley
Crofton Park
With thanks to Charlie.

75 comments:

mike said...

Bring back the canopies!!!

Anonymous said...

The first photo showing where honest fare would prevail in Brockley for years to come.

Sadly these days any sort of canopy would be met with nimbyism from the mung fraternity.

Anonymous said...

how did it turn out to look the way it does today? lewisham council should be ashamed of themselves.

Anonymous said...

"Sadly these days any sort of canopy would be met with nimbyism from the mung fraternity."

Shows how little you know. That's exactly how the 'mung fraternity' would love Brockley to look today. Shame about all the plastic and neon fronted chicken and betting shops we have to put up with now.

Mung the Merciless said...

"Sadly these days any sort of canopy would be met with nimbyism from the mung fraternity"
Wrong wrong wrong. Perfectly within conservation area guidelines. Bring back the canopies!

Battling 25W intellects since 2008 said...

Errr... Well is 110yrs ago and it's a fuzzy picture. Plus, cars, busses, more people, different rates of poverty, etc etc...

Personally I like the lack of dung, body odour and better quality photography. Well done lewisham!

kolp said...

Good to see this, still recognisable 102 years on, thanks to the Church as a landmark.

Anonymous said...

If you don't think it looks (nobody said smells!) better than now you are an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Not enough fried chicken takeaways.

Sarah said...

Love the photo, thanks for sharing - my house is just around the corner - I'd love to know more about who has lived in it over the years. Who is Charlie? Is he an expert in Brockley history?

Sarah said...

Love the photo, thanks for sharing - my house is just around the corner - I'd love to know more about who has lived in it over the years. Who is Charlie? Is he an expert in Brockley history?

@HighStreetBen said...

Ah, when people had pride in the High Street.. looks great. A modern vibrant version of this that caters for all isnt too much to ask for, is it?

Devil in the detail said...

At this point I would like to refer to these 'canopies' by their proper name, awnings and also as an ode to John Stalker and less we forget Drummer ;)

Lets get a Greggs, Pastiche and pasties all-round :)

Anonymous said...

Certainly not. You'll get the usual ignorant bores shouting 'mung' this and 'honest' that but they can, and should be, ignored.

Brockley Nick said...

There are some good canopies around - Browns, Gulen's and the Orchard to name three.

It's mostly unfair to try to pin the deterioration of the quality of the high street on the Council. They could have done more in terms of enforcement and arguably made some mistakes in some of their decisions in terms of local supermarket planning, but most of the decline is due to individual decisions by businesses and shoppers that have been replicated across the country. We stopped giving a toss about how our high streets looked and functioned for about three decades and the rot set in. We're beginning to put some of those mistakes right now.

The Council has, to their credit, done some good things to help in the last few years: planting trees, repairing pavements, removing unnecessary and ugly railings and taking a slightly tougher line with errant businesses.

Brockley's direction of travel is good. It's just there's a long way to go.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how a grainy photograph of a high street at a distance conveys "Ah, a time when people had pride in their high street" - it could've been full of dishonest fare! Probably not though - back then almost all fare was honest, these days we have scant few enterprises keeping the values of honesty in fayre alive - support Top Chef and fight the good fight against the tide of fussy fayre.

Devil in the detail said...

Awnings people... that and another wink to John Stalker, who would have to come out of retirement from the awning capital... costa del sunshine, to police such an operation. The romance of canvas and al fresco dining... Another pork pie Drummer ;)

Anonymous said...

They would have been selling locally produced, organic fayre because there was nothing else then. Down with fast fayre and dishonest fried chicken arseholes!

Anonymous said...

While Brockley around the Barge is definiely improving, MidTown could definitley do with some work.

Plenty of ugly railings still in place here while the Petrol Station and Car Wash certainly aren't a joy to behold.

Anonymous said...

I love the shipping container on Lewisham Way. I use it as a navigational landmark when directing my friends here for dinner.

Anonymous said...

I doubt the good folk of the 1910's would've been as easily swayed by the fads of organic fayre and "locally produced" produce as today. They would've kept fayre honest - bringing it in from wherever necessary to keep fayre decent. We've been bringing stuff in from abroad since the days of the British East India company and beyond - it's only recently that sharky private enterprises seeking to charge more for the same have become in vogue, and as we all know organic produce only benefits the seller - source.

Fanny Craddock said...

Apparently Top Chef are evolving to meet local demand and will be serving canapés from next week.

Anonymous said...

That's the point though - it wasn't a 'fad' it was a way of life. Fruit, veg and meat all farmed in the surrounding countryside and no chemicals added.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12.05: There was a big change in food production post WWII with much more intensive methods used.
This concentration on quantity has had an adverse effect on the quality of the food we eat.

Anonymous said...

Ahh pre post-supermarket high street decline Brockley, devoid of chicken shops, jerk chicken shops and general scum.

Anonymous said...

An era when a gentleman could hope to enjoy reasonably priced honest fare. Those were the days.

Anonymous said...

Actually back then fried chicken was considered - as now - the most honest of fare. Lions is another link to our past that others would prefer to ignore in favour of a £3 artisan loaf.

A pint of mead stout yeoman said...

Anonymous 12.05 - why do you call it 'fayre'? Are you in some kind of middle ages re-enactment society? If anything it's 'fare' but really, just call it food.

HFM said...

The honest fare movement is about reclaiming local cuisine for the everyman.

Unlike Brockley Nick and his corderoy mafia there is a silent majority who would prefer chicken, pizza, pies etc to wild mushroom tarts, chorizo burgers and fennel salads.

Mb said...

If a farmer 100 years ago could buy a bag of nitrogen fertiliser and selective weed killer and boost his yield as a result he would. Stop with the misty eyed imaginary past.

There are good/bad effective/ineffective organic (whatever that means) and inorganic. The plants don't know or care, we used to spread untreated human waste onto crops. As organic as you like, also lethal.

Anyway, looks ok from what you can tell on a grainy picture.

Anonymous said...

Stop trying to make 'Midtown Brockley' happen Brockley Nick! It's not going to happen!

Anonymous said...

I prefer to refer to it as the Top Chef Area

Anonymous said...

Top Chef is in Ladywell

Anonymous said...

Top Chef is in Ladywell, it's in Brockley, it's in the tummies of all good and honest restaurant-going individuals in the area.

Anonymous said...

@HFM You knock yourself out. Nobody gives a f**k what you eat - why are you so obsessed with judging everyone else? Loveless childhood?

Foot massage said...

He doesn't. He's winding you up and sniggering like a loon at your reaction. Probably posting this from Browns. Chill, the market, changing tastes and demographic will decide how our cafes develope. Everything else is just noise

Won't anybody think of the chickens said...

'Honest fare' - do they make it clear whether it's battery farmed chicken? At those prices I'd assume so. Not something I choose to eat.

Brockley Michael said...

Trams! *swoon*

If I had a tardis I'd pitch up at the meeting that decided to rip up London's tramlines and harrumph grandly.

Anonymous said...

The awning outside each shop are very noticeable, with goods laid out in the front of the shop.

Interesting because you see the same sort of thing in countries where the electricity grid is unreliable or not available. In order to see the goods on display, they have to take advantage of daylight and the shop fronts are all open to the street. A lot of the goods would also be sold loose and have to be weighed. None of the fancy packaging we have today.

I guess this was the early days of electricification. An early candidate was the tram system where it a clear advantage over the horse drawn trams.

Brockley had several trams routes passing through it in those days. Motor buses came sometime later. No cars on the road, there, all horse drawn.

I am wondering whether the street lights were electricity or still gas.

The foreground on the right shows the building that were later destroyed in WW2. If you look up at that parade of shops to the skyline, you can see which bits are Victorian with their ornate knobbly bits and which were typical postwar rectangles.

Electric trams were quite recent innovations then. What Brockley Cross must have been like a few years previously, at the bottom of a hill and a cross roads for large amounts of horsedrawn traffic.

Must have been very smelly, very organic indeed. That and all the coal fires and dust from the horse muck.

Today, the pollution is less visible. Hopefully in coming years we will have electric buses and people will look back at our primitive diesel buses and wonder how we lived with the fumes and noise.

Here is tram map. Brockley was quite well connected in those days.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GMhqgHY9Xvw/TX9Z_xfYNPI/AAAAAAAAAAM/xb4ipCkzsQc/s1600/tram+map.jpg

kolp said...

Actually the station in the second picture is recognisable too. Poignant to go back in time like this...

@HighStreetBen said...

It's really not that hard to see the detail in the "grainy photograph".. maybe the High St could do with a Specsavers too?

Anyway, @anon 11:34 its not so much about aesthetic and saying we need the High St to look Victorian - but more that people actually spent money on their businesses back then, taking pride in buying the best high quality materials to attract customers. Rather than a cheap cash in hand UPVC sign. There was also a sense of the High Street as being one whole parade - and that businesses should respect their neighbours and fit in- rather than the 'I can have whatever shop I like sod the rest' approach that prevails today

Lou Baker said...

The notion that farming used to be good and is now bad is frankly gump. There are now 6 billion mouths to feed - of course we need GM and chemicals to help.

It's all well and good to argue the opposite from your nice suburban terraced in Brockley - where you have friends over for wine and Jamie Oliver recipes in your kitchen diner. If you live in sub-Saharan Africa - you've not had a proper meal for a fortnight and one of your kids has already died of starvation - anal western arguements about organic and local fayre no doubt look very different.

PS: bring back awnings and trams.

@HighStreetBen said...

@Anon 13:59 & @Lou, well said too. Amazing tram map too - wish that was still here... so short sighted

Mb said...

First time I've ever agreed with Lou, or to be precise he's agreeing with me. He's wrong usually.

Anonymous said...

Lou,
Nobody said 'farming used to be good and is now bad' - it was just different. The discussion was about how the shops used to look good and sold fresh, local(ish) produce - the sort that some people now deride as 'dishonest', for some reason.
And none of us live in Africa so that's as moronic a point as the 'first world problem' one.

bored of Brockley said...

This entire thread is ridiculous.

In Summary:
1) pictures posted of a bygone era
2) various say “oooh lovely” or “oooh interesting” because of “blah”
3) various others appear to disagree for the sake of it.

FFS – its canopies and trams!

It is a microcosm of what happens on a large proportion of posts on this blog now. it’s getting very boring. People disagree with the most bland and inconsequential of items just to get a reaction. They are photo’s of 1910 FFS. It is different to 2012 – end of story. Some things are better, some aren’t, anyone who would know for sure is dead.

It is going to be difficult to stop the lurkers who will disagree with anything that is posted for fun so can I appeal to those of you who read obvious incendiary comments on here and ask you not to react. IT IS SOOOOOOO BORING! Ignore any comment by anyone that appears ridiculous and over the top – it is someone trying to be sarcastic or funny or failing that, someone there is no point debating with. Also ignore anything on;
1) Mung Beans/Mungs/Mungo or any variation of
2) Kids in pubs - agreeing or disagreeing
3) Dogs in pub – agreeing or disagreeing
4) Coffee – lack or abundance thereof
5) Nimbys
6) Brockley boundary lines
Your day will be better having ignored it and spent valuable time on something much more worthwhile. Otherwise this much loved blog is going to become overrun with nonsense and will cease to be somewhere people come for genuine information and debate on the local area.

Anonymous said...

Those pretend friends round the table you see at the end of a Jamie Oliver show, quaffing his pretentious meal always reminds me of Brockley.

;-) said...

Well you say that but I'm bored and like winding people the 'honest fare' twats up. If you don't like it don't read the comments.

Brockley Ben said...

There's a big difference (for me at least) between the appropriate use of modern technology to produce plants and vegetables, which, as MB points out "don't care" and the use of intensive farming of animals to produce fucked up facsimiles of livestock that suffer during their life and don't deliver much in the way of taste or nutrition when they're dead.

Wherever possible and practical I choose not to eat meat that's been through that kind of process but I know I'm privileged to be able to make that choice. I don't believe, though, that the answer to feeding our growing number of mouths is to accelerate the life of more filthy chickens that never see the light of day.

Mb said...

As a consumer of a pig of Bens acquaintance that, as far as I can tell, had a better life than me I concur.

If you must eat meat,and you have the means, there is an ethical case to reduce the suffering to a minimum regardless of the taste (aforementioned pig was tasty, double win)

Read Peter Singer if you want your carnivorous ways challenged.

Anonymous said...

The chickens are halal which means they go to heaven after they are killed. unlike your infidel free range chickens.

Anonymous said...

"There was a big change in food production post WWII with much more intensive methods used.
This concentration on quantity has had an adverse effect on the quality of the food we eat."

Absolutely wrong and totally scientifically baseless. Lets bring back rickets and semi-starvation, that's what your bogus notion of 'quality' really means. Now we have plentiful cheap food, back then many went hungry. Hurrah for modern life, esp modern agriculture and efficient food distribution and storage I say.

Anonymous said...

Yes, plentiful cheap food but of a lower quality.

Lou Baker said...

@mb

We should all eat less meat. Rich westerners eating too much meat directly causes shortages of food that could feed people elsewhere.

As a vegetarian I feel no guilt.

Those who eat meat everyday should take a look at themselves and reconsider their ethics. Those who waste meat are vile scum.

Anonymous said...

I quite like battery chicken - quality fare at a price you can't go wrong at

Anonymous said...

You sound like a fun guy Lou.

Anonymous said...

A veggie? Would never have guessed, although it answers a lot. All that anger = trapped wind?

Anonymous said...

"Yes, plentiful cheap food but of a lower quality."

No actually that is wrong. If only because it is likely to be fresher than a century ago. Organic food has no nutrition benefit over food produced in modern efficient agricultural systems. The problem with modern food is that it is over processed, but if you buy standard fruit, veg and meat you are getting probably better food than you would have 100 years ago. Thank you capitalism!!!

bored of Brockley said...

;-) 14.28

that's the point though isn't it - without the comments this is just a notice board. The comments and the discussion makes this a forum and allows for an exchange of ideas that will hopefully help engender a sense of community and ownership of the local area.

if every new shop or drug rehab centre opening is greeted with a cachophony of "Mungs" it stops me wanting to read the comments.

So i might as well ignore this blog, wait until i see said new shop or drug rehab centre, decide what i think about it and grumble to myself as i pass by.

This blog is actuially quite good - many places have nothing but you can actually have a reasoned exchange of idea's here and help, for example, influence local planning policy by facing the planners/developers with an organised approach.

i don't suggest it should become completely humourless or void of personality, it's nice when people come on to say "aren't tram's Lovely" or "it's awning, not canopy" but it seems people are lurking in wait for someone to mention organic food so they can shout at them. or for someone to spell a word wrong so they can correct them.

what is boring is the fact that half the threads on this blog lead to very similar exchanges by people who like winding people up and people who get wound up easily. Dull Dull Dull

Anonymous said...

The lovely trams and buildings with awnings were probably still full of horrible people then, but it's hard to judge a person's character from an old photo. Long live rose-tinted specs.

Bubble burster said...

It's an interesting snapshot of a particular moment 100 years ago. Considered so nice it was kept. Photography was not as cheap then so undoubted there were many photos of the grubby areas. I could take an artsy shot of coulgate street with happy folk sipping lattes and it may reappear in 100 years time. No more typical (or atypical) than the one shown above.

That said, nice awnings.

Anonymous said...

"The problem with modern food is that it is over processed, but if you buy standard fruit, veg and meat you are getting probably better food than you would have 100 years ago"
I disagree - those cheap whole chickens and water filled fillets taste of nothing, as does most standard veg.

Anonymous said...

Those horrible people of olde.

Anonymous said...

@bored of Brockley. Whereas your endless essays are livening the place up no end!

Anonymous said...

Chicken has always tasted of nothing, it's about the seasoning. Hence southern fried fare- hardly invented in the heyday of GM

Anonymous said...

Those horrible people of olde.

Ben H said...

Mmm it tastes better!

Anonymous said...

It will be nice when Brockley sees the new Routemaster bus for London, which has an electric engine and batteries charged by a diesel motor.

Should be a lot quieter and much less polluting.

Modern trams are fine, but I guess the streets are not wide enough to handle them in this part of town.

But when will Brockley get Boris buses on the 171 and 172 routes?

Vegetarian Cat amongst Organic Pidgeons said...

Someone should open an artisan Bread or organic veg shop and call it 'Ye Olde Honest Fare Shoppe'.

Just for sh1ts and giggles.

PS Lou Baker is vegetarian! - BC bombshell of the year for me. We need an interview and back story.

max said...

Good point Lou for once.
I'm not going as far as saying that people wasting meat are scum but I do feel very sad about that and people should be made aware of the cost and consequences of the meat industry.
I'm not completely vegetarian but currently I do try hard to eat as little meat as possible, I don't live on my own though so if at home I find leftovers of meat I feel the need to either eat them or give them to the cats in the garden and for exactly the reason that it costs environmentally.

Anonymous said...

'Making aware of the costs and consequences of the meat industry' absolutely.

Supporting cats in any way. An environmental crime.

Lou Baker said...

@vegetarian

Actually I'm very environmentally conscience - more so than most people who support the Greens. Their policies have been hijacked away from the environment in favour of all
kinds of social engineering - which don't work.

There are still high streets that look quite like Brockley did 100 years ago. But you find them in areas where people care more about their community than they do here. If all the people in the area were like those who read this blog it would be much nicer than it is.

But you also have the scum who think it's okay to buy fried chicken and chuck the bones on the street. Or who let their dog crap on the pavement. Or who are involved in gangs. Or graffiti. These socially incompetent people are here in abundence. It's ashame.

Anonymous said...

The market gardens around Deptford and Rotherhithe were fertilsed with 'night soil', human poo, collected by wagons and distributed to the surrounding farmers. This was normal everywhere. See http://is.gd/JLSFfw

Anonymous said...

Those electric trams saved London and many other cities around the world from the great horse manure crisis of the 1890s.

A few calculations predicted that cities like London would be 20ft deep in manure by 1920. No amount of market gardens and rose cultivation could accommodate this vast resource.

Here we see a glimpse of a city saved from a dark stinky mire by electricity.

Who knows, we might be again on the verge of great change.

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