Thursday, April 21, 2011

Deptford Church Street 1881

Continuing my research into the history of Deptford Church Street, I wanted to follow up on the suggestion that it had been a major shopping street in the 19th century. So today I had a look through the 1881 Post Office London Street Directory, which certainly bears this out.

In that year there were over 100 shops and other businesses listed for Church Street. This included no fewer than eight pubs:

Druids Head (no. 8)
Oxford Arms (32)
Kings Arms (78)
Three Compasses (176)
White Horse (107)
Robin Hood and Little John (117)
Trinity Arms (176)
Kings Head (199)

There were also three coffee rooms:

George Price (41)
Mrs Selina Mitchell (197)
Mrs A. Goodman (203)

Alongside the various bakers, fishmongers, chandlers (candlemakers), confectioners and greengrocers there were a few less common occupations. There was a bird dealer at no.5, a clog maker at 72 (Richard Sharpless), a firework maker at 104, a bicycle maker at 171 (Thomas Cave) and a watchmaker at 179 (John Carr). A couple of surnames testify to a German presence in the area - Frederick Hagmaier was a baker at 189 and Ludwig Puhlmann was a picture frame maker.

Presumed factories/workshops included George Banks, Ginger Beer Manufacturer (12-16) and Tyne Foundry and Engineering Company (no.45).

There were also two churches: Christ Church (somewhere between 59 and 75) and the Unitarian Baptist Chapel (between 167 and 171). John Addey's School - forerunner of todays Addey and Stanhope - was at number 62.

At number 101, Henry Froud was operating as a cart and barrow proprietor. My great great grandmother, Sarah Reed, was living at that address in 1851, and as her dad (John Reed) was a carman I assume that when he was living there too he had his cart on the premises - many of the people living on Church Street at the time must have been living above the shop or in the modern parlance in 'live-work spaces'.

Also have a good clue to the location of their home. Giffin Street was between numbers 91 and 93, and between 107 (the White Horse) and 117 (the Robin Hood and Little John pub) it is stated 'here the Greenwich railway line crosses' (the railway was extended from Deptford to Greenwich in 1838).

So number 101, as well as its near neighbour the White Horse pub, must have been on the West side of Church Street between Giffin Street and the railway bridge - pretty much on the site of the Wavelengths swimming pool and library. Will give a nod to the ancestors next time I'm in there.

The railway bridge and the Oxford Arms (now Birds Nest) are, I believe, the last surviving structures, although no doubt both have had work in the last hundred years. The Birds Nest is no longer next to Slaughterhouse Lane, home to a butchers carrier back in 1881.

I also had a quick look at the 1950 directory. Still plenty of shops, with one notable factor being that Italian surnames had replaced the German ones. At 101 there was a shop run by Frank Rossi, with Salvatore Bottone running a hairdressing business next door at 103 and Constantine Cortellessa working as a boot repairer at 107.

(Note on numbering: even numbers are the East Side - Birds Nest side - odd numbers on the West Side - Wavelengths side - with lower numbers starting from the Broadway end)


Andy said...

A great insight and testament to just how diverse and busy Church St was. Good write up


Unknown said...

I came across this site recently while trying to research my family history. I note that you mention a Ludwig Puhlmann living in Church Street. Ludwig is my great great grandfather and I have found him in the 1881 census living at 195 Church street. I have yet to find much about him but I know he came over with his wife from Prussia in the late 1850s. It was a real surprise to see his name mentioned in your article!
If you know anything else about him or could point me in a direction to research I would be very grateful.
Kind regards
Linda Bradshaw

Unknown said...

Hi I wonder if anyone can help,
I Have a postcard sent from my grandfather Charlie Starling on the 15th of April 1915 to his wife, Mary Starling whilst at Colchester Barracks Essex. The address on the postcard is 38 Addey Street, Church Street, Deptford.
I presume that Church street has now become Deptford Church Street, but there is no mention of Addey Street, can anybody tell me where this street was located.
I notice that there is an Addey and Stanhope school at Deptford, so clearly the name is related to the area. He survived the war and my grandparents moved to Bethnal Green when he was demobilised after the war, or was it because the area was being redeveloped? If anybody can help it would be very much appreciated.

Best regards
Keith Platt

catford_cat said...


Addey Street was parallel to and east of Church Street - shown on 1890s OS map at may also be of interest for the picture of Collins' shop on Addey Street.

The space is now occupied by part of the Crossfields Estate, which was built either side of the 1939-45 War. I have a 1939 equivalent of a London A-Z which shows a blank space there, so suspect they would have moved house before the war started.