The Thurrock Historical Society Journal No.4 – Autumn 1959


  RECOLLECTIONS OF GRAYS HIGH STREET FROM ABOUT 1888 by Mrs A Harvey
 
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West Side
2. G. Lyndon Rhodes kept a Tailor and Outfitter’s shop; in a workshop at the rear suits etc were made by male and female apprentices. Among them was Mr Davies who was deaf and dumb and whose parents kept the Red Lion off licence in London Road, Grays; he was a very fine goalkeeper and played for Grays Wednesday and Grays Athletic. Lyndon Rhodes was noted for his fruit bottling and jam making in days when no patent jars were to be had. He was also a prominent freemason.
4. Lipton’s Grocery store.
6. A butcher’s shop, where the meat was exposed on blocks inside and outside the shop and was often black with flies. Our black retriever dog often brought home from here a joint to which he had helped himself.
8. International Tea Co. where the ‘Gifts for tea coupons’ scheme was very popular.
10. Littlewood, Ironmonger who had previously kept his shop at 64 High St.
12. Arthur Redington, Greengrocer, brother of James Redington, Coal Merchant.
14. Hopewell, Oil Shop and Crockery.
16. Chas. Mitcham had 16 for Millinery.
18. for Drapery
20. for the Arcade.
Mrs Mitcham did a lot of good work in the town. With her lived her sister, Mrs Hatt, who was Headmistress of Quarry Hill Infants School. Outside Mitcham’s shops, the Grays Temperance Silver Prize Band played and made a collection every Saturday evening. As there was little street lighting, they had to use an acetylene lamp on a long standard which was made of iron and very heavy. My father used to carry this to and from each band performance, and as he was big drummer as well, he certainly had a load.
22. Crussell’s Butcher’s shop. As the pavement ended at No.20, a slight bank was the approach to No.22; at the outer edge of this bank grew large tufts of coarse grass and below was a sump to take away surplus water from the street.
24. J.F. Broad the baker who sold cake at 2½d the lb.
26. Fergusson’s boot shop.
30. Pelling’s Grocery Store.
32. Pelling’s Oilshop, which was previously the Pawnshop.
34. Private house occupied by John Bates, the mineral water manufacturer with his factory at the rear. Later F. Ambrose took over the factory. It is now Lloyds Bank. The flat roof of this house was always bright with growing flowers.
36. Private house.
38. Squires, Ironmonger, previously Littlewood.
40-2. G.L. Michell, Draper, who at Christmas time gave away a doll or a length of apron linen for every 5/- spent.
44. Bradd, a greengrocer, who used to take part in the pony races held on the Recreation Ground.
46. J. Gurnett, Jeweller and Clockmaker.
48. Fishmonger, later Alfred Nash, bootmaker and repairer.
50. The ham and beef shop of old Tom Hills who had a long black beard and a short temper. Two steps up and down formed the entry to his shop; most shops had steps up to the doors, which indicates how much the surface of the High Street has been made up. Later Dyson the Chemist had this shop; then McCarthy, now Jordan.
52. Archibald Streeter the Florist, where the Misses Streeter sold buttonholes to the beaux of the day, especially on Saturday afternoons when there was nothing to do in Grays except parade the High Street. Later this was Carter’s Cycle Shop.
54. Private house occupied by Dr Rowarth before he moved to 2 Palmer’s Avenue, later by Dr Partridge.
56. Private house of Mr Major, Agent to Barkway and Hitcock, Hornchurch Brewers.
58. Joe Mitchell, Chemist.
60. George Davis, Toyshop, later E.J. Harvey’s sweetshop. Harvey married Miss Bradd, of Bradd’s Farm, Stifford.
62. Westwood, Outfitters.
64. W.P. Walker and Co, Gunsmith and Ironmonger. Mr Walker always wore Norfolk suits and Deerstalker hats.
66. A small cottage at the Railway gates.
68. Grays Co-operative Society Grocery store.
70. Boatman, Jeweller.
72. Redington, Greengrocer, later taken over by Boatman.
74. Bristow, Outfitter; later Merchant, now West.
76. Arthur Horncastle, Furnishers.
78. No. of Vicarage?
80. Rising Sun, Licensee W.G. Sims.
82. Grays Co-operative Society, Butchery Dept.
84-88. Old Mr Michell had these for Drapery, linen etc. in addition to his shops lower down the street.
90-92. Bull Inn, Licensee W.C. Ridgwell.
[on page 40 of the journal there is a sketch of Old High Street, Grays by Mrs E.M. Hussey – from the drawing of V.W. Sedgley].
94. Philbey, Fishing tackle etc., later Regimental badges etc.
96. Private house, later Dolls’ hospital.
98. Mrs Collins, Wardrobe Dealer.
100. William and Sidney King, Bakers.
102. Shop for harness, washleathers, etc.
104. Dines, Newsagents and Tobacconist.
106. Chapman’s Boot store.
108. Old School, later Edward King, Butcher, now Lodging House. At Christmas time, King’s building was covered from roof to pavement with sides of beef and pork and poultry, all lit up by flare lamps which were shaped like watering cans with the wick in the spout, and in which colza oil was burned, causing much smoke and smell.
110. Pavitt. Nuts and Shellfish.
112. John Oxley, Marine Store Dealer.
114. Turner, Tobacconist and Sweet Shop.
116-8. Nash, Tobacconist and Sweet Shop.
120-2. White Hart.
124. Mrs Smithson, Coffee House, open at 5 a.m. for watermen.
126. Roberts, Carrier.
128-40. Private houses.
142. Garrett, butcher, later Osborne.
144. Joseph King, Tailor.
146. Bootshop, outside which hung a large blue boot.
148. S. Carter, Newsagent and Tobacconist.
150. T. and W. Oliver, Ship’s Chandlers.



 

East Side
Before my time, the Green Man and Bell stood at the bottom of High St., North end, and quite near, a pond; there was also a pond between the Wesleyan Chapel in London Road and the back of Lyndon Rhodes’s shop. There was a good space before the shops started, until the Queen’s was built. My first recollection of the Queen’s was when the Manager, Mr Baldock, dyed his white terrier blue for the election. The candidates were Major Rasch and Col. Tufnell. They made their speeches from the balcony of the Public Hall which stood in Orsett Road, next to the Queen’s Hotel, and were pelted by eggs, which were 16 a 1/-, bags of flour and tomatoes which were 1½d a lb, and the front of the Hall was a sorry sight next day. [‘Green Man and Bell’ and ‘Public Hall’ are believed to be in the same building – Ed.]
9. Paine’s, Pawnbroker. On a Monday morning, as late as 1906, there would be up to 20 men, women and children sitting along the kerb at 7 a.m. with their bundles, waiting for the pawnshop to open. They pawned bed-clothes, father’s best suit or mother’s wedding ring, and redeemed them next pay day, if lucky. The shops then opened at 8 a.m. and closed at 10 p.m.
11. Wilson and Whitworth, Printers and Stationers.
13. Henry Moore, Barber and Newsagent.
15. Francis, Milkman, later Bastiani.
17. Dove, House Agent, later J. Weymouth, Auctioneer.
19. Paine, House Decorator.
21. C. Jennings, Furniture (Grays Furniture Co.)
23. Mrs Mundy, Baker.
25. Potter, Butcher.
27. Home and Colonial Stores.
29. Maypole Dairy Co.
31-3. Frisby’s Boots and Shoes, later Upson, now Dolcis. Mr Frisby used to advertise by driving a coach and four horses round the district.
35-49. Private houses stood on a high bank, back from the street. The first was Dr Blake’s house and Surgery; next lived Dr Johnson; then Mr Fletcher; then the two Misses Horncastle; then Mr John Horncastle; then two more private houses, and then the wide steps leading to the Victoria Hall which was at the rear of the Victoria Tavern. This Hall was moved, in 1934, to the rear of York Road and is now the H.Q. of Grays St John Ambulance Brigade. It is over 100 years old, but is still in good condition.
[there is no entry for No.51]
53. The Victoria Tavern was kept in turn by Hall, Rhodes (brother of Lyndon), Varde and others. It is now a bank.
55. Gilbert, Harness Maker who later had a shop in Orsett Road.
57. Council Office, later Gas Office.
59. Messrs Hatten and Asplin, Solicitors.
61. Bank (Managers, Messrs Barefoot, Davey, etc.)
63. A. & J. Horobin, Barber and Tobacconist, later J.A. Collins.
65. Jordan, Butcher, later Crussell, Butcher, now Cramphorn.
67. Dye works (Manager Clitheroe), previously the H.Q. of the Salvation Army.
69-71. Spurr’s ‘Bon Marché’ Drapery.
73. H. Johnson, Baker.
75. Lack, Draper, later Edwards.
77. Ricknell, Tobacconist.
79. Prentis, Greengrocer.
81. Mrs Fryer, Sweets, later W. Green, greengrocer who took over 79 and 81.
83. Arthur Horncastle, Tailor, who married Miss Edith Jordan, daughter of Supt. Jordan of Grays Police. She was a teacher at Quarry Hill School.
85. At the corner of New Road and the Market was Guy, Chemist, later Davis. Both Davis and old Mr Mitchell the chemist did teeth extractions as there were no dentists in Grays; the patient was not ‘doped’ for this. In the Market place, facing west, stood the Masonic Hall, very much like Victoria Hall. This was later used for meetings and concerts, and could be hired for 5/- a session, including use of piano. The Temperance Band held concerts there till 1907.
[there are no entries for Nos.87-91]
93. The King’s Arms stood further back than now and was not so large.
95. The King’s Arms Tap was at the rear of the main building, and here seamen and watermen held a boxing booth.
97. Carter, Newsagent and Sweet shop.
99. Hopcraft, Jeweller and Clockmaker.
101. Richard Spade, Hairdresser and Umbrella Repairer.
103. Haymer, Boot maker.
105. Andrews, Picture Frame Maker.
107. Basket Shop.
109. Harbour Lights Eating House (Mr Norman).
111. Stuckey, Grocer, now Miller.
113. J. George, Fried and fresh fish, later S. Mays.
115. The Dutch House, J.W. Sparkes, Harness etc.
117. T.H. Richards, Tinker.
119. Langston.
121. F. Thorly, Sweetshop. He was also Bell ringer and Sidesman at the Church.
123. Private house of Sutton, Carrier for the Railway.
125. Anchor and Hope. Licensee, James Broyd.
[there are no entries for Nos. 127 or 129]
131. Mrs Gentry, an old lady who knitted jerseys and mittens for seamen. She also made straw mattresses for them at 1/- a mattress. The seamen had a fresh one each voyage, as apparently in those days no bed or bedding was supplied by the shipowner. The men called these beds a ‘Donkey’s breakfast’ and men’s straw hats were ‘Donkey’s dinners’.
133. Harry George, Shellfish merchant; later Driscoll, Seamen’s clothing.
135. Reeman, Cartage agent.
137. Boston, Snob (later at 136). (Snob – a boot repairer).
139. Johnny Dines, Sweets and Minerals. This old gentleman used to do wonderful conjuring tricks, and used to entertain the officers and boys of T.S. Exmouth and T.S. Shaftesbury which used to lie off Grays.
141-3. Theobald Arms, Manager Wild, later Collier.
145. Olley, Agent for Paints.
147. Redington’s Coal Yard, later Oxley’s scrap iron.
149. Barltrop, Blacksmith and Wheelwright.

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