A wander down Woodgrange Road in 1900 - West Side

Friday 24 April 2015

 As this web site enters its third year, we thought it would be good to look at Woodgrange Road, Now and Then. We'll be running two posts to try and give a feel for how this central high street was at the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth centuries, and compare it with how things look today.

So, using the contents of the Kelly's 1900 Directory, we've been able to discover what shops operated along this thoroughfare at the start of the last century, and adverts from the short-lived Forest Gate Weekly News, of 1896 give a little of the flavour of what the shops sold, and sometimes, looked like.

There are a number of photos and postcards surviving from the first decade of the twentieth century.  We've added a few of these, to give a more visual feel for how the street looked at the end of the Victorian era.

This feature will be run over two postings, the first is of the West side (the odd numbers) and next week, we'll give a similar treatment to the East side.

Not all of the 1900 buildings survive, of course.  World War II bombs took out the lower East side of Woodgrange Road (From Romford Road, to Osborne Road) and parts of the West side (notably the section from Earlham Grove to Forest Gate railway station, and the section north of what is now Brooking Close (then Forest Street). But in most cases, there have been replacement buildings, and many of them continue to offer a retail option.

So, what follows are the businesses listed in the 1900 directory, by name and function, with what occupies the space today - where appropriate - (in brackets and italics), immediately after. The photos are of street scenes, usually looking down the roads, as they are crossed Woodgrange Road, or significant buildings like the train or fire station.

West Side

Princess Alice Hotel (
Palm Tree, Chum Chums - Restaurant)

Princess Alice c 1908

Looking up Woodgrange Road,
 from Romford Road c 1903
1a - H Williams - Hatters 
1 - Home and Colonial Stores (Betfred - Bookmakers)
3 - John Spurgeon - Tailor's (Westex - Clothing)

5 - Lipton - Tea and provision merchants (Woodgrange Supermarket - Supermarket)
7 - Edmund Hussey - Ironmonger (Sharon's - Clothes)

9 - Parkes - Drugs Store (Subway - Fast food)
11 - Benjamin Byatt - Pork Butchers (Assam Enterprise - Mobile phones)
13  - Rockley - Piano and musical warehouse (Percy Ingle - Bakers)

Rockley's - shop to the left,
Public Hall to right of photograph

Public Hall (Rail ventilation shaft)

Forest Gate Public Hall, built 1902

15 - Frederick White - Confectioners (Mansons - Pharmacy)
17 - John Sainsbury - Provisions (Sola Satellites - Electronics)
19 - Alfred Shortland - Hosier (Alert in Newham - Charity)

21 - George Santer - Draper (WH Smith and Post Office)

23 - Joseph Brain - Bootmaker (WH Smith and Post Office)

25 and 27 - RJ Bridgland - Mantle manufacturer (Woodgrange News - Newsagents and Gift for You - Household goods)
Artist's sketch of buildings, c 1900,
 after construction of these shops
 in 1897, to replace the former
 Pawnbrokers' Almshouses
29 - London and Midland bank (H+T Pawnbrokers - Pawnbrokers)
31 - Eugene Avery - Fancy stationer (KFC - Fast food)

33 - CF Wheeler - Oilman (Paddy Power - Bookmakers)
35 - Mrs Emma Meita - Servants' registry office (Karuri News - Newsagents)
37 - William Maggs - Watchmaker (Willam Hill - Bookmakers and Papa's - Fast food)
39 - London and County Bank (Gregg's - Bakers, Fonefingz - Mobile phones and Sky Travel - Luggage)
 41 - 47 - Private residences (Noor Farm Fresh - Grocers, Santander - Bank, NUR Grill - Restaurant, Khan Brothers - butchers, Favourite Chicken - Fast food, Chain 21 - Clothes and Madina - Dry cleaners)
49 - Robert Miller - Physician and surgeon (Jennings - Bookmakers and Barry's Meat Market - Butchers)

Earlham Grove

Earlham Grove, 1903

55 - Rupert Cumine - Dental Surgeon (Angie's Stock Shop - Grocers, Vacant, Durning Hall Charity Shop)
57 - WJ Harris - Sewing machine manufacturers (Tennyson Monroe - Solicitors)
59 - 61 - Lilley and Skinners - Boot manufacturers (Hallmark - Card shop, Forest Restaurant - restaurant
63 - Singer - Sewing machines (Malchem - Pharmacy)
65 - Edward Wright - Photographer (Vacant)

67 - Alfred Wood - Newsagent (Co-operative - Supermarket)
69 -George Ernest Stanfield - Tailor; South Essex Club (?) and A C P Commercial College (Co-operative - Supermarket)

71 - Alfred Quail - Bootmaker (Unnamed - Greengrocers)
71a - Robert Peach - Hosier (Unnamed - News stall)
73 -  Frederick Warren - Coal merchants (Station Parade: 1, Sky View Travel - Travel Agents , 2  Haj and Umra Travel - Travel agents)

Forest Gate Station
Forest Gate station 1906

1899 third class ticket from Forest
 Gate to Stratford - 1d (half a penny!)

1894 advert for Wanstead Park as
 a day trip/ tourist destination,
 via the nearby Forest Gate railway station

Clock, looking towards Forest Lane
75 - Rickett, Smith and Co - Coal merchants (Station widened)
Forest Lane

Forest Lane

77 -Forest Gate and Upton Liberal and Radical Association
79 - Wood and Page - Florist (De Angels - Restaurant (closed) and Osiedlak - Polish delicatessens)
81 William Quorn - Coffee Rooms (Golden Touch - Hairdresser)
83 - John Richards - Grocer (Karolina - Beauty salon)
85 - Walter Maynard - Fruiterer (Mist Lounge - Night club and Saif - Barbers)
87 - John Wilding - Cheesemonger (Preston Autos - Show ground)
89 - George Tobitt - Confectioner (Ditto)
91 - 93 - Frederick West - Butcher (!!) (Ditto)
95 - London Shoe Factors (Mak - Estate agents)
97 - Charles Richard Nicholls - Fishmonger (Seafood's R Us - Fishmonger)
99 - John Shell - Jeweller (Vacant)
101 - JH Visick - Dairyman (AMB Food4You - Supermarket)
103 - JH Visick - Corn chandlers (Siam Cafe - Restaurant)
105 - John Deave - Hatter (Charcoal Grill - Fast food)
107 - Gardner and Sons - Dyers (Golden Grill - Restaurant)
109 - George Doswell - Sewing machine maker (Skoda Autos - Car showroom)
111 - Horace Allen - Saddler
113 - John Atkinson - Oilman
115 - Edwin Smith - Draper
117 - Mrs Alice Horrocks - Confectioner (Smallholders - Pets and garden centre)
119 - George Paul - Pawnbroker

Forest Street (now Brooking Close)

Council redevelopment in the 1960's and '70's demolished most of the shops, below.  They have subsequently been replaced by housing and the Lord Lister Health Centre)

125 - Paul Salisbury - Butcher
127 - Frank Sizer - Corn merchant
129 - G Pettit - Greengrocer

Parade of shops between Forest Street
 and Oakhurst Road, where the Lord Lister
 Clinic is now situated.  These shops
 remained virtually unchanged until demolished
 for redevelopment in the 1960's/70s.
 Thanks to Carol Price for the photo.

Oakhurst Road

131 - Arthur Pash - Bootmaker
133 - Maurice Manby - Draper
135 - John Adams - Picture framemaker and artists colourman
137 - Wallis' Stores
139 - Robert Arthur - Dairyman
141 - AJ Hewitt - Draper

145 - Napoleon Cattaneo - Confectioner
147 - Savid's Furnishing Stores

Stacey Road

Dames Road


  1. John,
    the shops between Forest street and the railway bridge werent destroyed during the war the council demolished a whole square of shops, houses and roads in the 69s/70s
    and replaced then with a load of rubbish .

  2. that should say 60s/ 70s not 69

  3. Thanks, Carol, I've amended the copy, accordingly. Your encyclopaedic knowledge of Forest Gate is greatly appreciated, as ever.

  4. I remember these shops well, the shop on the left with the victorian dressed lady, was Ernie Stone, wet fish merchant. and the large store was a general store who's name escapes me at present, they had the overhead system , the cash office was self contained, you paid at the counter and your cash was inserted into an overhead container, wizzed off to the cash office and back came your change and reciept.

    1. Hello
      That might have been Hicks

  5. I remember as store if you came out of Oakhurst road and left onto Woodgrange road on the left was Hicks which was a fair size store

    1. I have a label from an old Oak wardrobe G.W. Hicks & Sons Limited. 131/133 Woodgrange Rd, Forest Gate, E.7. Works:- GOLDSMITH RD, LEYTON, E.10.
      If you would like a photograph of the label please contact me.

  6. Does anybody have any information about a very large greengrocery business in Forest Gate in the late 1800s, proprietor named Jones? If so, please contact me at flowersandchains@yahoo.co.uk thank you


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