Thursday, 25 April 2013

Cockney Barrows on Pathe News reel.

I must thank Sarah Lovett for this little gem; as many people may have seen, she sent a comment on the Tappy barrow in Berwick Street; she has an old Tappy barrow for sale.
The dimensions of, and information for, the barrow cart she has are:

Overall length:  9' 11"
Width : 46"
Height: 7' 6 1/4 "
It has 270ยบ steering.

She also said about the Pathe News clip from 1967 which really is very informative; the barrow maker in the clip is Terry O'Doherty  who had workshops both at Covent Garden and Hertfordshire. The clips show the hand barrows being made by his assistants and the makers name being very nimbly carved "with pen-like flourish".
It seems the barrows were made of Ash, a hardwood, known for its elasticity and resilience; I'm assuming that the Tappy barrows would have been made in the same way using the same techniques and wood type. 
From the information given in the film, it took about a fortnight to make a hand barrow; I wonder how long it took to make a wagon barrow?

 The video in the link below was slightly temperamental in starting, this may be due to my computer.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Views and poll on 'followers' widgit.

I have long wondered how many people actually follow my blog rather than just view it; with this in mind, I am considering putting a 'followers' widgit on the blog which would automatically show the numbers but which also may show the actual names of people themselves.
My last wish is to drive people away from this blog, so it is with this in mind that I have set up a poll, which will be available till the 28th April,  so that I can see what your views would be either pro, con or neutral.
You can also email me at and let me know what you think. I will then judge from the replies the best course of action.

Many thanks in advance.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Any information on Trussons Menswear Shop.

This shop is one of the last original businesses that have survived in the area and one that has been in continuous trade for 143 years; located at 31 Lower Marsh, it sells high quality fashionable male clothing such as hats, jackets, shirts, jeans and trousers etc. Unfortunately it is a shadow of its former size:

Trussons in 2012
It was established in 1866, and by 1880 as this advertisement from the British Library record shows, it had premises at 102, 103 and 104 Lower Marsh (which was on the opposite side of the road from where the present shop is situated), plus a shop at 413 Brixton Road – then, a very Middle Class and fashionable part of South London. From what I understand from the proprietor, the original premises across the road were severely damaged during WWII, shortly afterward, the present shop was opened and has been there ever since.
I am interested in anybody who has information about the history of Trussons;  maybe you have had a relative who worked in the shops either at Lower Marsh or the Brixton Road premises? I have spoken to the proprietor of the modern business and unfortunately he has very little information about the company before the second world war.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Lambeth Baths 156 Westminster Bridge Road.

Due to the outbreaks of Cholera in the early to mid-nineteenth century, a committee was formed in 1844 for promoting the establishment of baths and wash-houses for the labouring classes, one member of the committee being the Bishop of London; the bishop petitioned for a bill and in 1846 'The Public Baths and Wash-Houses Act' was passed, giving powers to local authorities to fund the construction of public baths and wash-houses.
It seemed that for whatever reason, the Lambeth Vestry had declined to carry out the construction of baths for this new Act and in 1853 a private company 'The Lambeth Baths and Wash-Houses Company Limited' funded the construction of the Lambeth Baths which were designed by Arthur Ashpitel and John Whichcord Jr and the baths drew their water from the newly constructed works by the Thames Water Company at Thames Ditton, Surrey. 

The baths were located behind what is now the Waterloo Health Centre, and although it was behind the main street frontages, it stretched virtually the entire length from the Lower Marsh to Baylis Road (which was then called Oakley Street); it incorporated swimming baths and also 'slipper baths' and a wash -house.
It seems there were three entrances from the map, one in the Lower Marsh, one in Westminster Bridge Road (Which could have been the main entrance judging by the address that is given for it) and the other in Charles Street, which ran off of Oakley Street.  The entrance to the washhouse having a separate entrance for 'washing women' with an adjacent house for the care of children (it may have been that the entrance in Charles Street was the wash-house entrance, as it in a side street, off the main road). 

The baths were certainly operational by 1861 and were well used by locals apparently. Initially the two swimming baths (women were not allowed in the pools) were open in the summer months and costs were 6d for first class and 3d for second class.
The private baths were priced accordingly: for a superior hot bath (with fire) 1 shilling; a standard hot bath (with fire) 6d and a cold bath 3d.

The baths were also used in 1879 for the 'Trials of Endurance', a swimming marathon which lasted 145 hours over 6 days. The winner, Matthew Webb, had already won an accolade of being the first person to swim the Channel in 1875.

During the winter months, the baths were converted for other uses: from 1861, they were used for indoor running; in 1868, they were used to hold the South London Industrial Exhibition, which was attended by the Prince of Wales and Baron Brunnow; and also the Surrey Cricket team used the converted baths as a practice area, plus they were used many times for a public meeting hall.

The baths were still operational in 1902 but shortly after that time they closed; registers in the London Gazette for 1908 record the winding up of the company and the appointment of Thomas Mitchell, the Secretary, as Liquidator. Certainly by 1914, any trace of the baths had been removed; the old Ordinance Survey maps of that year shows the area covered by he baths to be split into sections of large premises.
Little is known as to why the baths closed, it may have been due to the construction of new baths on the corner of Lambeth Road and Kennington Road which would have been paid for by the LCC.