What’s in a name?

In recent months and weeks evidence of a Loughborough Junction vanished from memory has appeared in the form of old trading signs exposed as part of renovation. Read on to find out more – but first if you have any memories or photos – or any suggestions as to what would make you shop in Loughborough Junction – please share them with us – ljactiongroup@gmail.com

Some look set to remain visible – B.O.Y on the corner of Shakespeare Road for example, whereas others such as the corporate Charringtons beer lettering from the 1940s on the former Crown public house look set to be covered by more corporate lettering. This time, Sainsbury’s.

But first one exposed at the recently renovated small supermarket at 233 Coldharbour Lane. What does it tell us about that building?

The brown hand painted lettering shows Ernest Page Wine and Spirit Merchants, Harbour Stores. But from when and until when and who were they?

Shop front in Loughborough Junction

A quick look at the trade directories held at that fabulous source of local history – the nearby Minet Library – shows Ernest Page first mentioned in 1934. They were also still trading from the same address in 1971. By 1975 the wine merchant chain Unwins were trading from the store with their yellow and green lettering and logo, familiar to many old enough to remember the 1980s. So the lettering uncovered dates probably from the early 1930s. Ernest Page is noted as trading from South Lambeth Road in 1930 and by the late 1940s was trading also in Peckham, Herne Hill, Oval and 78 Loughborough Road. The Coldharbour Lane store was the last to close. Presumably business was brisk.

Interestingly prior to 1930 the store had been a wine and spirit merchants since 1895 (prior to that it was Tea Merchants). The business had passed through various hands. Ellesmere James, Patrick and McGregor, and Stansfields and Co, all lasting about 10 years.

BOY shopfront in Loughborough Junction

What of B.O.Y.? It stands for Brinkler, Osborne and Young Ltd. Pigeon, poultry and bird seed specialist and they traded from c.1932 to c.1974 when they were taken over by Magnet Pet foods which lasted a further 10 years. So does this sign date from the early 1930s also? It is certainly a very different style. A photo on the Lambeth Landmark site from 1963 (landmark.lambeth.gov.uk) shows a similar logo but in different colours. Amazingly the first occupier of what is now the Shakespeare Business Centre when it was first built in the 1880s was Osborne and Young corn merchants. So there was continuous trading for about 90 years.

The Crown public house was called the Crown Hotel until 1895, presumably it had rooms to let. it remained the Crown until about 1990 when it was re-marketed as the Mucky Duck and then “?” although did it ever trade as such? In its later years it had late opening hours and live bands. It appears to have had numerous landlords who only traded for a few years each save for one Albert Lloyd who until 1934 appears to have been landlord for 15 years.

Until about 20 years ago there were about 17 pubs in the area where now there are only four.

So what of the retail offer in Loughborough Junction today?

Most retail premises along Coldharbour Lane remain although the small parades and corner stores in every estate and at every cross roads nearby have mainly been converted to residential. Shops in the roads adjacent to Coldharbour Lane have also closed. Evidence remains in Hinton and Flaxman Roads of this.

Multi nationals – Tesco and Sainsbury’s are returning. Yes they were there before. Lilly and Skinners shoe shop in the 1930s, the Cooperative and Keymarkets Supermarkets in the 1960/70s. Why did they leave? A declining population and rising car ownership and big superstores I suspect. But now the population is rising again and less people use cars…but we also have the internet, so could we have a thriving high street again and what would it contain?

The shops may not exude prosperity but there are many viable and varied businesses, do they reflect the needs of the community? What would people not only like to see but would use to make them viable? From comments on recent planning applications it is clear many people would prefer no more fast food outlets and preferably less.

What would make you spend more £ in Loughborough Junction, whether you live or work or live and work here?

LJAG is keen to support the business community in Loughborough Junction and welcomes suggestions to enhance it and encourage a proactive business forum.

Finally let’s try and capture the history of the area before all local knowledge disappears.

Many businesses survived 50-90 years and only closed within the last 20-40 years.

What are your memories, do you have any photos?

Please email us! ljactiongroup@gmail.com