Sunday, 12 March 2017

Down amongst the stalls in Beresford Square, Woolwich sometime in the late 1940s

I am in Beresford Square in Woolwich and I would think sometime in the late 1940s.

There is no date on the postcard and so I am forced back on the names that appear on the shops.

I began with Drapers Brothers Butchers For Real Meat Value and there are a lot listed in Woolwich and Plumstead going back to 1851 with Edward Draper who lived with his family in Plumstead and made a living as a brush maker.

Now anyone who has tried to track a family across the decades knows it can be a painstaking exercise and lead to many false destinations.

So rather than wander after Mr Draper I tried instead Endean & Son Leather Merchants and there they were at 17 Beresford Square in 1911, and into the late 1940s.

And by one of those odd twists by 1959 they were in Eltham on Colepits Wood Road.

Now I grant you that this last discovery does not help date our picture, but for the time being it’s as close as I can get.

So I will close by returning to the square on a busy market day, reflecting that it hadn’t changed over much by the time I frequented the place in the 1960s.

And was still pretty much the same a decade later.

It was a busy colourful place and like traditional markets everywhere there was plenty to see and take in.

It started with the stall itself whether it was selling fruit and veg or fabrics and went on to embrace the traders. Some were glum miserable people who seemed to resent your presense at their stall, but most were cheerful and entertaining.

It's been a long time since I was there when the stalls cascaded out across the square and I have come to doubt my memory of the buses working their way through the place.

Today a few of the buildings directly behind the man in the middle of our picture have gone and the businesses have all changed but otherwise I suspect Mr Endean would recognise the place and perhaps even smile that the shop next to his one was advertised as a Shoe Repair business.

Location; Woolwich, London

Picture; Beresford Square, date unknown

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