Wednesday, October 13, 2010

South East London Coffee, 1914-1950

Previously on Transpontine, we looked at the state of play for coffee provision in New Cross, Deptford and Brockley from 1888 to 1900. Moving on to the turn of the First World War, the Post Office London Directory 1914 shows that three 'coffee rooms' had survived from 1900, but all with different proprietors: Albert Barnes was now running 2 Coulgate Street near Brockley station (site of a coffee shop since at least 1888); Jn. Coudray was listed as being responsible for 111 Tanners Hill in Deptford (possibly Jean - Coudray is a French name); and Albert Smith was at 1 Lewisham High Road (now Lewisham Way) in New Cross. In addition two new coffee rooms had opened in Brockley/Crofton Park: Mrs A. Merry at 354 Brockley Road and William Biggs at 74 Brockley Rise.

The First World War seems to have done for the Brockley coffee boom, with no survivors by 1919. Mrs E. Coudray (perhaps the widow of John?) was now running 111 Tanners Hill with Mrs Ellen Louisa Leaver at 1 Lewisham High Road. A new cofffee room had been opened by George R. Gatland at 67 Pomeroy Street.

Five years later, in 1924, Mrs Coudray was still going strong at at 111 Tanners Hill and Alfred Leaver was now at 1 Lewisham Road. 67 Pomeroy Street was still open, now run by George Pingram, with new local competition just down the road at no. 49 (Thomas Bradley and Mrs Elizabeth Maud).

By 1933, 49 Pomeroy Street had closed, with Pingram still running the coffee room at 67 Pomeroy Street. Florrie Taylor was at 111 Tanners Hill, but other than that there was nothing doing on the local coffee front. I guess coffee might have been available in some other local premises though - the directory now said under 'Coffee Rooms', 'See also Dining Rooms'. 310 Brockley Road - home of the Coffee Palace in 1900 - was now a Dining Room run by Frank Relf. But I am not going to be distracted now into the wider history of cafes and restaurants.

In the middle of the Second World War, 1942 seems to have seen the beginnings of a coffee revival, but at none of the pre-war venues. In New Cross there were coffee rooms at 142 New Cross Road (Mrs Ada Padley) and 29 Clifton Rise (Thomas Yarnton); in Deptford at 10 Childers Street (Reginald Chutter) and 427 Evelyn Street (Louise Gasper). Brockley was crawling back into the coffee world with a coffee room in Mantle Road run by Samuel Clarkon (no number given).

As stated in the previous post, there was a London coffee boom in the 1940s and 50s as new espresso machines were introduced. This pattern seems to have been repeated locally. In New Cross, 142 New Cross Road was still going (now run by Thomas Ball), as was 29 Clifton Rise (still run by Thomas Yarnton). There was also a new coffee room at 253a New Cross Road run by Angelo Borg (Borg is a common Maltese surname). In Deptford there were now coffee rooms in Deptford Market (Mrs M Batholomew); at 41 Deptford Church Street (Mrs Ivy Mitchell) and 192 Deptford Church Street (Charles Frederick Axford); 421 Evelyn Street (Louise Gasper - seemingly moved a few doors down since 1942, unless there was a typographical error); and 19 New King Street (Samuel Judson). Brockley was still a bit subdued on the coffee front, with still only the Mantle Road coffee room (now run by Joseph Stephen Hill).

So here's the survey summarised:

Coffee Rooms in Brockley, Deptford and New Cross, 1888-1950

This tells us a few things - 1950 was the peak year for coffee in this period; 111 Tanners Hill was the longest established coffee premises (1900-1933, perhaps longer); and Brockley declined as a place for coffee after the First World War, maybe taking nearly a hundred years to recover!


Bill Ellson said...

Jn. Coudray was John Treffry Toulman Coudray who died on 9 Aug 1917. Mrs E Coudray was his widow Emily.

He does not appear to have been born in England, but I should have further info in a day or two.

Bill Ellson said...

The census on 2 April 1911 shows John and Emily Coudray living at 111 Tanners Hill and keeping a coffee shop at that address. John was born on Jersey in the Channel Islands c1856 marrying Emily Smith (born Marlborough Wiltshire c1863) in Islington in 1886. In 1891 the family was living in Islington and John was a painter and decorator. There were three children John George T 1887, Emily Esther 1888 and Henry 1890. Henry died in 1906 but John George and Emily Esther were both living with their parents in 1911. John George was a clerk working for the Wesleyan Missionary Society and married Alice Hinz in early 1917, Emily Esther married David Proudfoot in 1924. It appears that Emily senior remarried in 1929, which might explain the change of ownership by 1933.

Transpontine said...

Thanks Bill, that's a nice window into the past - so a Jersey-born painter and decorator moved from Islington to Deptford and opened a coffee shop. Some coffee rooms were apparently started by religious temperance advocates to offer an alternative to alcohol- wonder if this was one, as his son seems to have been a Methodist.