Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Old Dover Castle Hotel and Restaurant, 170 Westminster Bridge Road and Lower Marsh.

As many people may or may not know, this building was a Hotel for a short while and then a public house up till the 1960's; its rather shabby appearance now is juxtaposed to its early history. The building that now stands was designed by the Architects Treadwell and Martin and was styled in a Jacobean Revival style in red brick and stone, it was completed in 1895. 

It's an imposing building still today but unfortunately has become derelict after being used for offices and a Language School. Compare the above photographs from today to the grand affair from 1896 here.
The pub served as both a public house plus a hotel and restaurant to more wealthy people; the public bar having the bare minimum of décor: sawdust on the bare floorboards and the most amount of choice of cheap drink, some in great barrels and lots of beer pumps (ten counted in the Lemere photograph which can be found here).
The Saloon Bar, Dining Room, and Grill Room in comparison had refinement: Italian mosaic, palm plants, carpeting throughout, marble and wood panelling; almost floor to ceiling mirrors in the Grill Room and well made 'buttock supporting' stools for its clientèle in the bar. It even had its own BilliardRoom with at least two billiard tables and fancy leather button-down chairs.

Although it was quite common for some public houses to appropriate the designation “Hotel” to deter the wrath of the increasingly vocal Prohibitionist Party's of the day; I do believe that this building did actually serve as a hotel. Its location near to Westminster, the West End, its accessibility to Kennington, or Southwark via the Omnibus or Hansom cabs (a cabstand was stationed right outside according to maps of the time) would have made this a prime spot to stay for business travelers. Although reports of the area were derogatory (police having to go in pairs down the market etc), it could not have been that bad if they set up a hotel with such opulence inside to attract that type of customer.
Sebastien Ardouin, on his blog site "Painted Signs and Mosaics" informs that the Hotel was bought in the early 1920's by the Pioneer Catering Company, he also has a photo of a fading painted sign on the back of the building.
A year after its opening, the architectural photography firm of Bedford Lemere and Company were employed to take both internal and external photographs; these (from the English Heritage website) and another photograph from 1955, from the City of London website, are all I can find on the internet to show the building in its former life. 

There have been some alterations to the building since its usage as a pub and it is fairly difficult to ascertain what were part of the original pub and what are later additions; the hoarding that has been added to the ground floor frontage, I hope, masks the original ornate stonework that is in the photos from 1896. 

The pillars which can be seen are made of thin sheets of marble; one of which, has been destroyed and the bare brickwork is exposed; I am not sure if there are the originals or not. Also there is a very nineteen sixties mosaic pattern that runs along the bottom of the building; I think that most of the original ground floor frontage which seems to have been in granite may have been removed. It intrigues me to wonder what is in the ground floor are inside, as the windows have metal sheeting on them; I doubt if any of the original bar would be there still. 
Previous to the 1895 building there was a pub of the same name, according to Post Office records, on the site since certainly 1869.
When I was a child, I have a vague memory of the building being used as offices although I could be wrong in this; if anybody knows, as with the other posts, please do get in touch as similarly if you have or know of any pictures or information of the pub in its heyday.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Market traders' cries.

The traders' cries have only changed in the price and maybe the addition of new items to sell; apart from this, the cries of today are no different from these that were being bawled a hundred and fifty years ago:

Imagine if you will walking down the New Cut market in the 1880's taking in the smells and sights at night, yes at night, the market usually started on a Saturday night in it's early period; it was common for working class people to be paid early in the evening on a Saturday. Plus, for the people that lived round the area of the New Cut Market, they could catch a bargain as most Butchers and Bakers were offloading their end of day unsold wares at a cheaper price to people who didn't care or couldn't afford to care about the produce not being fresh.
Shellfish stalls would set up enticingly near pubs to attract the trade from these establishments; quack doctors and makeshift dentists would advertise their abilities to those brave enough; fortune tellers, organ grinders, 'cheapjack' sellers of 'Turkish Rhubarb' but better known as Dahlia tubers dyed with Saffron and other chancers  of a similar vein.

The shouts and cries of the traders would have had to be loud to get above the din:  

"Come on my dears, buy at your price Mackeral, six a shilling...",
"Collar studs, a penny for two, two for a penny!"
"Sprats alive-o!"
"Muffins for tea!"

Compare the above from the Victorian period with some from the various markets in and around London; there's not much difference really:

Romford Market:

East Street Market:

Wembley Market:

Joseph Tappy and the market carts.

A few days ago I went on a walk with my camera, taking pictures of the market when it was quiet;  and I spotted the carts in the main road. These carts-or stalls- are synonymous with all London markets; each market seems to have had its own maker or keeper of carts.

I remember seeing on the web that some makers carved their name into the side of the cart; on closer inspection, these carts all had the same name carved into them too:

 I found it difficult to make out the name, it's carved very ornately; I could make out the "22 Saville Place, Lambeth Walk". I could make out a "J" and a "T" but nothing more:

Thank goodness for Google; this turns out to be the work of one, Joseph Tappy, he was established by 1910 at 22 Saville Place, this was off Lambeth Walk; it carried on from Walnut Tree Walk when people  crossed Lambeth Walk. I looked on Google maps and even used the street view to find it and it's no longer there, the area is now covered by the China Walk Estate. I also used google to quickly see when the last time Saville Place is mentioned, it seems that there was damage due to a flying bomb in 1944 and Saville Place is mentioned.   It's quite possible that this cart chassis is between 68 and 102 years old; I would surmise that it's somewhere in the middle or toward the later dates myself. This cart seems to have had the wheels replaced my a set of modern ones with pneumatic tyres; the more traditional ones are seen here on the other set of carts that were nearby.

Joseph Tappy moved premises a few times apparently, finally settling on 9 Newport Street; I found out, courtesy of Google Maps, that the original area is now covered by a modern housing development.
I will need to find out if they are still trading, and if so, would they be willing to have a chat with me about the company. Hopefully I can find someone who used to work there or is related in some way. I also found on the internet  two other pieces of  information: one, that the company was last seen trading under the name of J & J Tappy and was listed at the Newport St address so this must be fairly old information. Plus, there was a relative who built and maintained carts in East Street Market. It may well be that the Tappys' had various works over a wide area of South London, dealing with the different markets such as those at Brixton, The Borough, etc, in fact, anywhere there were markets.

Anyway, back to the carts; these and the previous pictures show the handiwork of the people involved in making these great historical, almost iconic objects.

The modern replica, seen below and used mainly for clothes, certainly is not very appealing to my eyes and I doubt if it will stand the test of time as well as these wonderfully older objects.

Really, all that the old carts need is a bit of a refurb and a lick of paint to make them almost a showpiece for the market; with the red and green contrast, they have the look of a Travellers Caravan about them.
I have been told that the market stalls are starting to increase again, maybe a new cart-maker could be employed to make replicas of these fine old workhorses with the same spoked wheels etc.
If anybody knows anything about the Tappys' of Lambeth Walk or any that had a hand in or knew of any that made carts, I would very much like to know if they are still trading or what has happened to them.

Update: 27/4/12. I would like to thank my sister Catherine who deals in genealogy at for taking the time to search the Tappy name and reveal some interesting information.
Not only did Joseph Tappy build and repair carts, or 'Barrows' as he puts it on the census form in 1911; he also leased them to the traders. This must have been a lucrative business as many of the Coster's may not have had the money to own and store the carts so it would have been easier to rent them; a lucrative and wise move by Mr Tappy. Also I found out that on the census there was an Elisabeth, a daughter, who must have been only  a few months old at that time; she may well be the relative who later helped in the business of repairing barrows in East Street Market that I wrote about above. And the J & J Tappy that traded from Newport St later on may well have been either a business set up by either the original Joseph and one of his sons, who were called John and Joseph or by the two brothers.
The census records show that the original Joseph Tappy was born in Lambeth in 1873, his wife, Julia, was born in 1881 in Southwark and that they married in 1901; they may well have lived in Southwark during the early part of the 20th Century, as the first three children: Joseph, John and Rebecca, were all born within that Borough in 1902, 1903 and 1905 respectively. The last three: Julia (1907), William(1909) and Elisabeth (born between 1909 and 1911) were born in Lambeth  . So the Elder Joseph has already settled in Lambeth at least by 1907.
Finally, there is another site that deals with the barrows/carts of Spitalfields, Leather Lane and also possibly other markets within the City of London; that family was called Hiller and is extensively written about plus has information on different aspects of Spitalfields past and present; it can be found here.

Update 29/4/12. On searching through Google pictures, what seems like a sheer stroke of luck, I came across this photograph from the City of London Library collage site; it shows the address of   22 Saville Place being demolished and the sign of "J. Tappy: Barrow Builder and Lender". It says that the firm was established in 1903 which corrects my assumption that it started in 1910.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Help requested and always welcomed.

If anybody has any information on the following areas, The New Cut street market, The Lambeth Walk, The Lower Marsh and Carlisle Lane, in the Victorian era. Also, if you know the makers names of the carts used in the markets, where they were/are made. I would very much like to know any information basically related to the history of the market that you might know about or have heard. Do you know of any family members that used to be costermongers or own or work in shops in any of the streets where the market was held? Maybe you or a family member lived nearby? Any information would be helpful to me.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Possible link between growth of new Cut market and immigration in 1840's.

From what I can see in various sources, there seems to be a link, albeit a tenuous one, between the growth of the New Cut Market after about 1847 which is coincidental with the arrival into Lambeth of large numbers of Irish Immigrants from the Potato Famine and Scottish highlanders from the clearances.
I have also found an earlier entry from the 1849 Mayhew article; in 1845 there were complaints made about the obstruction of the costermongers and their various pitches plus also the religious outrage at Sunday morning selling of items.

Still no written reference as to why the market was positioned where it was.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Twitter link.

Added a twitter link (on the right) any new notifications will be flagged on there.

Location, location, location!

There must have been a reason for the New Cut street market to have positioned itself where it did originally; my first piece of research will be to ascertain why the New Cut and not, say, St George's Circus, which is just as accessible,  or one of the main roads.
At this present moment, the first mention I can find of the New Cut Market, is in November 27th 1849 from the Morning Chronicle by Henry Mayhew in an article about street markets. Mayhew, who would go on to publish "London Labour and the London Poor", says about the New Cut Market : "
Of these street markets there are fifteen held throughout London every Saturday night and Sunday morning. The largest, or rather the most crowded of these, are held in that part of Lambeth called the New Cut, and in that part of Somers Town known by the name of the 'Brill'. These are both about half a mile in length, and each of them is frequented by as nearly as possible 300 hucksters. At the New Cut there were, between the hours of 8 and 10 last Saturday evening [Nov. 1849], ranged along the kerb-stone on the north side of the road, beginning at Broad Wall to the Marsh, a distance of nearly half a mile, a dense line of itinerant tradesmen - 77 of whom had vegetables for sale, 40 fruit, 25 fish, 22 boots and shoes, 14 eatables, consisting of cakes and pies, hot eels, baked potatoes, and boiled whelks; 10 dealt in nightcaps, lace, ladies' collars, artificial flowers, silk and straw bonnets; 10 in tin ware-such as saucepans,tea-kettles, and Dutch-ovens; 9 in crockery and glass; 7 in brooms and brushes; 5 in poultry and rabbits; 6 in paper, books, songs, and almanacs; 3 in baskets; 3 in toys; 3 in chickweed and water- cresses; 3 in plants and flowers; 2 in boxes, and about 50 more in sundries, such as pig's chaps, black lead, jewellery, marine stores, side combs sheep's trotters, peep-shows, and the like. The generality of these street markets are perfectly, free, any party being at liberty to stand there with his goods, and the 'pitch' or stand being secured simply by setting the wares down upon the most desirable spot that may be vacant. In order to select this, the hucksters usually arrive at the market at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and having chosen their 'pitch,' they leave the articles they have for sale in the custody of a boy until 6 o'clock, when the market begins. The class of customers at these places are mostly the wives of mechanics and labourers." - Henry Mayhew (Morning Chronicle, Nov. 27th, 1849)
  It seems in the beginning it was a weekend evening or night time market with no procedure of securing the 'pitch' other than placing the goods down and keeping watch over them; there seems to be no recourse to any payments to officials-certainly not in this article- and with nearly 300 'pitches', there must have been some money flying about. It seems similar to the Sunday market at Brick Lane, where some parts have people who just stand with open cases or throws on the ground with various bric-a-brac on.
Waterloo station had just been opened a year previous to the above article, and this may have had some influence on its position; the builders of the station and railway would have lived nearby and may well have used the market for shopping for various items.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The beginnings.

This blog has been created to help with my researches into the origins and heyday of the New Cut Market in Lambeth, South London that became notorious in the nineteenth century.  This market, at two miles in length started sometime in the mid 1840's and during the later part of the nineteenth century occupied a continuous  two mile stretch that included:The Cut, Lower Marsh, Carlisle Lane, Sail Street and The Lambeth Walk all the way up to Vauxhall.
Every conceivable item was sold; similar to what a modern market would sell: Fruit and veg, meat and poultry, fish and shellfish, clothes and footwear, hats and head wear, tools etc. This market must have drawn to it people from all over the area for very different reasons; it's my hope that I can find information relating to not just the market but the side trades that fed off it.