A History of the Beulah Rd Shops

BeulahPostcardStrolling down Beulah Road today, it’s hard to believe that at the turn of the 20th century, there were more shops lining the road than there were on Orford Road at the same time.
In 1887, there were a total of 43 outlets located on Beulah Road and by 1907, the number had risen to 45 which included two dairies, four tobacconists /confectioners, two butchers, three drapers , two bakers, two grocers, a greengrocer, a fruiterer, a hairdresser, two builders, a chemist, an oilman, a fishmonger, a general store, a boot repairer /maker, a toy dealer, a jeweller, an upholsterer, a laundry, a plumber, a coachbuilder, a removals firm, a furniture director, a beer retailer, a stationer, a printer and a paperhanger. Add these to the 30 or so shops on Orford Road and you can imagine a thriving and busy retail hub, right on the doorstep!

I became interested in the history of the Beulah Road shops on my daily commute to and from the tube station, noticing how many redundant shop fronts there were and wondering what had lay behind them over the years. I first wrote an article for this newsletter in 2007 and thought it worth updating as the fortunes of the area continue to ebb and flow.

Tenby & Penny, glass merchants, at no. 38A is one of the oldest surviving outlets in the road and was a corn merchant in 1907 and prior to that had been part of a Ladies School next door at no. 38 run by Mrs. Mary Wood (Beulah Villa). Occasionally, the current resident at Beulah Villa displays the history of their house on a board in the front garden, a common-place custom in small German villages. Perhaps others might be encouraged to do the same?

Nos. 18 & 20, now Deep Clean Laundrette, was Westcotts (Sweet Clean) Laundry in 1957. In 1907, an upholsterer and a greengrocer separately occupied these properties.
Fullers the builders at no. 68 was founded by Edward Fuller in 1872. In the 1880s, Joseph Amey had a building business just down the road at no. 102 and between the two families, built many of the Victorian terraces in the locality. The painted Amey sign can still be seen at the top of no. 102.

No 6 was a confectioner’s from the early 1900s through to the 1950s (at one time called The Little Wonder). Interestingly, in 1957, Norman J. Chivers was the proprietor at no. 6 while next door at no. 4 Mrs. Hilda Chivers ran a ladies’ outfitters. I wonder what their relationship was?

BEULAH ROAD NO 27In 1907, the Blythe family had a confectioner and newsagent’s at no. 92 and until relatively recently it remained a newsagent’s, lastly as Beulah Road News. It has now been sympathetically renovated into a residential residence with the splendid original shop sign T.E. Blythe back on display which was found during the restorations.

In 1887, George Thomas Tuckwell owned a butcher’s at no. 57 which was still in the same name in 1957. You can still see the shop name below the original window.
No 40, until not so long ago was J.C. Meadows Removal Contractors (still operating in Chingford). In the 1930s, I hear that their yard was occasionally used for housing the elephants when the circus came to town.

In 1957 there were 32 outlets; in 1977 there were still 27. By 1988 the number had dropped to 13 and now only a small handful still exist.

Fortunately, Orford Road is enjoying a revival these days with its mix of eateries and various outlets and there has been a stirring of activity of late on Beulah with occasional pop-up shops, a Saturday market and reopened shops. Not many photos seem to exist of the old Beulah Road shops but the few that I’ve found give a flavour of how it might have looked back in the day.
Teresa Deacon

Beulah Rd shops table




This article first appeared in the Sep 2014 edition of “The Village” magazine.

28 Responses to A History of the Beulah Rd Shops

  1. Julie Twomey says:

    I enjoyed reading this article but was disappointed that there was no mention of Pat’s Stores at no 38 Beulah Road which was a grocery store owned and run by my mother in law from at least the 1950’s till late 1980’s when the owner passed away.

    • Helen Lerner says:

      Dear Julie,

      Thank you for so much for your email that I have passed to Teresa Deacon who will, no doubt be in touch shortly. We will look forward to hearing about Pat’s Stores in a future issue!

      Best wishes,

      Helen Lerner

      • John F Gray says:

        Hi Helen
        I remember Pats Store very well, as a child I was in and out of the shop daily. I was about 4 years old in 1940 when my family started renting number 18 next to Wescotts Laundry. Number 18 was then a derelict empty shop with glazed shopfront windows [mostly broken.]

        For me the best shops were The Little Wonder, Pats Store and the Greengrocers opposite on the corner.

        As the war progressed there was a Anderson shelter built underground in the garden, the family rushed there whenever the air raids started.

        First it was Incendary bombs then later the first Flying Bombs put-putted over the house. One morning we were in the shelter
        and the sound of a Flying Bomb was in the distance, my father suddenly grabbed me in his arms and rushed me to the top of the ladder. My mother was screaming to him to bring me down!

        Then the Flying Bombs motor stopped and started to descend, it was approaching from right to left heading towards Connaught Hospital, it was about 100ft above our house when it swept over, I still have a vivid mental picture in my head.

        Pause……..My god!….this is the first time I’ve put this in writing
        and it has brought tears to my eyes!…..so it has still left a strong emotional memory and I’m now 78!

        I think that was the Flying Bomb that fell nearby in Hoe Street,
        then later came the Rockets, I was finally evacuated to Derbyshire, I now live in Somerset.

        Best wishes John Gray

        • Teresa Deacon says:

          Hi John – many, many apologies for not following up your interesting response about Beulah Road shops sooner. Thanks so much for taking the trouble to give us ‘newcomers’ a flavour of how it used to be back in the day, particularly in the war years. It has such a fascinating history and I’m glad to be able to keep some of the memories going. If you don’t come back to the area to visit, I’d be happy to send you a photo of how no. 18 now looks if that would be of interest? Let me know. Again, many thanks and kind regards. Teresa

    • Pat Durrant nee Parsons says:

      I read this article with interest and remembered that one of the girls in my class, was a Pat Twomey. She would have been born 1946/47. I once went to the shop with Pat and she showed me a very old motor in the garden, which she swore she had driven. Oh! such memories.

      • Teresa Deacon says:

        Hello Pat – thanks so much for sharing your memory of Pat’s Stores. I’ve passed on your comment to the Twomey family. Best wishes. Teresa

  2. Bob Gray says:

    I am researching early photographers in Waltham Forest. I notice you mention John Forsey – He is listed in the 1891 census as a Furniture Repairer and Photographer – Own Account/At Home, resident at 21 Beulah Road, Walthamstow, Essex with his wife, Alice and their children – John Thomas (born: abt 1882 in Leyton), Alice Ruth Lucy (born: abt 1884 in Leyton) and Kathleen Dorothy (born: abt 1889 in Walthamstow). They appear to remain at this address, with son, John Thomas working as a Photo Assistant to his father.
    The 1922 Kelly’s Directory lists John Forsey as a Furniture Dealer at Belauh Road, Walthamstow, Essex.

    His father was John Andrew Forsey, a Fancy Cabinet Maker who in later life lived at Plumstead House, High Street, Leyton, Essex (He died on 12 May 1891).
    His daughter, Ruth Elizabeth Forsey married James Osey Triggs who was a Photographer in Chestnut Walk, Walthamstow and later Capworth Street, Leyton.

    If anybody has any photographs taken by him I would be most interested.

    • Lynn Clarke Ahrens says:

      Hi Bob
      No info regarding your specific photographer but …..while doing restoration work on the blocked up fireplaces in our Vic terrace house in the Village we found a photo I would date 1870s of a young couple.
      It is a cart de visite style and the photographer on the back is ‘William Kirk -Photographer’ of 1 Elm Cottage Hoe St. I have only found him in the Berretts Directory of 1877 listed as a local resident/business. He also has a studio in West Cowes on the Isle of Wight -following the holiday makers??
      Anyway hope this is some interest and always promised myself to find out more about him but always seem to lack the time !!!
      Best Wishes
      Lynn Clarke Ahrens

  3. Teresa Deacon says:

    Dear Bob,

    Apologies for delay in responding to your comment about John Forsey at 21 Beulah Road. I’m sorry I have no further information apart from what I found in Kelly’s directories that in 1887 and 1907 John Forsey, Furniture Director was at that address (no mention of being a photographer). I’m sure you’ve tried the local Vestry House Museum archives to see if they have any records? Sorry I can’t help but wish you luck with your research.

    Kind regards,
    Teresa Deacon

  4. John Moppett says:

    Much later, but possibly of interest, was a shop owned, certainly in the 1950s by Tom Edwards. Tom had worked at the Ross Ensign camera factory in Fulbourne Road, later the site of a Spring Steel Productions, now flats, and later set up his own business as a camera repairer, in Beulah Road.

  5. Teresa Deacon says:

    Thanks for that info John – how interesting. Yes, I have a listing for T.H. Edwards Ltd, Camera Repairer at 58 Beulah in 1957 (formerly a draper in the 1900s and later in 1977, it became Tilgard Construction Co, builders). Regards, Teresa.

  6. jamie taylor says:

    Hi Mrs Twomey I remember pats stores my grandad owned the removal buisness next door.

    • Julie Twomey says:

      Hello Jamie, sorry that I’ve only just replied to your comment. I married Malcolm who lived next door to your Grandad he also worked for him for a while and also knew your parents and other family members.

      • jamie taylor says:

        Hello Mrs Twomey sorry for the very late reply. Do you have a son and a daughter? I seem to remember playing with children at the back of the shop they were a similar age to me, I’m 38 now.i think my mum (janet) May have photos of a street party in st stephens close wich I’m sure there in .my uncle jeffrey took over the buisness when my grandad retired and he sold the company when he retired to Sheridans I think.

  7. Teresa Deacon says:

    Hello Jamie and thanks for your comment about Pat’s Stores – I’ll email the link to Mrs. Twomey to make sure she sees it. I’ve lived here long enough to remember J.C. Meadows Removals in Beulah Road and see that they are still in business in Chingford. If you have any memories about any of the other Beulah Road shops, please do post them here, or if you have any photos, please do get in touch again. Thanks and best wishes.

  8. Anne Patrick says:

    While doing some family history research, I found that a 3rd great aunt and uncle, Maria and Richard Robson ran a grocers at 12 Beulah Rd, Walthamstow and while trying to find out more I came across this article. However, you do not mention number 12. If you have any further information, I would be very interested.

    • Teresa Deacon says:

      Hello Anne – sorry to disappoint but I have nothing on a shop at number 12 but there were many gaps in the records that I used. I gleaned the information from the Kelly’s directories available at the local Vestry House Museum. I’m planning to research the history of Beulah Road further in the future and will update this page when I have more information. Good luck with your family search! Regards.

  9. Susan Wendy Page says:

    Hi I lived in beulah road as a youngster, I’m now 64, we lived at number 37a, and my dad was Sidney Tickell he ran his business from number 37a which was a wedding car hire, kept his cars big black Austin Princesses, parked on the drive of no, 37a, opposite us was at first a jewellers and then a hairdresser called Charles Stadden,I’m sorry I haven’t exact dates but it was in the 1960s,

  10. Teresa Deacon says:

    Dear Susan – thanks so much for getting in touch about your father’s car hire business. I wrote the original article and am keen to fill in many gaps, particularly from 1930 -1970. I have a note on my records that it was still Tickell’s Car Hire Service in 1977 but I don’t have records about a jeweller’s opposite – I think that will have been number 52 which was a hairdresser’s when I moved here in early 1990’s. If you have any photos of your dad’s business or any of Beulah Road from that time(there are very few), could you email them to our newsletter editor at: newsletter@walthamstowvillage.net. I’d be so grateful. Thanks again and do write again if you have any further memories! Best wishes, Teresa

  11. Jay Hurrell says:

    Hello, can anyone help me?
    I’ve found an old photo of my dad as a toddler from around February 15th 1948. We know he was in a beautiful baby contest. It has an address on the back in pencil saying 6 Beulah Road Walthamstow E17. Does anyone know of a photographer working at number 6?
    Many Thanks

    • Helen Lerner says:

      Hello Jay,

      How interesting. I don’t know about a photographer working at 6 Beulah Road; I live there now though! I know it was a confectioner’s, called Little Wonder, mid-century and a greengrocer’s in the 1970s.

      Helen Lerner

  12. Jackie Peck says:

    Hi my name is Jackie Peck ne/ Bristow
    My parents Sissy and Will Bristow moved into no. 6 Beaulah Rd . The Little Wonder in about 1944 . They bought it for about £50 ( a bit different to the prices now) but it was wartime and bombing was rife . They bought it from an elderly lady I’m told but i dont know her name.
    Next door to us no.4 I guess (under the 3 story buildings) was a Taylor’s and next to that a butcher’s. On the other side of us no 8 was a shoe repaired and next to him a draper shop.
    When the customers were in our shop and the siren went to warn of an air raid they would come through to our living room and go under the stairs to shelter, and one very rainy night during an air raid the front widow was blown in and i remember people helping my parent cover the window and stock.Every one was helpful in those were torn days.
    So many memories of that area and time, l was about 5 years old when we moved in . My parent had the shop still when sweets came of ration and the shelves were emptied in hours . I think we moved from The Little Wonder in about 1951/52 After that my parents briefly owned no 1 Beulah Rd ,A lovely house and garden that has sadly been pulled down
    I hope this will be of interest to you I would love to hear that from you , I stumbled on your Walthamstow History guide on the internet and felt it would be interesting to contribute.

    • Helen Lerner says:

      Hi Jackie,

      Thank you so much for contacting us and relating you interesting memories. Funnily enough, I live at no 6 now, we bought it in 1992 (not for £50!).
      I don’t know if you’re local, if you’d like to come and see what no. 6 looks like now, please contact me on 020 8503 6308. I’d love to hear more of your memories and to welcome you back to your family home!

      With kindest regards, Helen Lerner

      • Jackie Peck says:

        Hi Helen
        Thank you for your very kind reply. Unfortunately l haven’t lived in Walthamstow since we left all those years ago,and now live in Southampton . I have over the years been back to see how things have charged including last year when we even took a photo outside no 6. I must say it’s a lot more upmarket than it used to be !
        At the moment we have the family coming over from Australia and then we are away but hopefully later in the year maybe about September l would love to come up and meet you and see the old homestead, I’ll bring all the photos l have of the time and of the Little Wonder
        Thank you again for your interest, l look forward to meeting you . Kind regards Jackie Peck

  13. Linda Hall says:

    You talk about Westcotts Laundry starting in 1957? I lived in that laundry from the day I was born in 1947 leaving when I was around 14 to a luxurious “council flat” with all mod cons. Mum and Dad were there all during the war and there was an Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden. My Brother was born in 1944 and he too used the shelter as a tiny baby. We were always lead to believe that in years gone by the place had been used as a stable. There was a huge shed that looked like a stable that Dad turned into a place to breed his rabbits and part coal shed

  14. Teresa Deacon says:

    Hi Linda and many thanks for your interesting comment about Westcott’s Laundry at 18 & 20 Beulah Road. I wonder if you have been back recently to see how it looks today? There were many gaps in the records that I used for my research so thank you for the information that it was there during the war years. I’ve not come across any records about there being stables at the back but it could be quite likely. If I find out anything further, I’ll let you know. Thanks again and very kind regards, Teresa Deacon.

  15. Roger Tapson says:

    Fascinating site and full of local history.
    I was born and bred in Walthamstow and used to go along Beulah Rd on my way to Henry Maynard school and my mum, Mrs Nellie Tapson nee Thomas used to say she lived at no 54 until outbreak of war. Unfortunately she passed away some years ago so I can’t ask her as what type of shop was at 54 when she lived there. Perhaps she lived over the shop as she gave me the impression it was her and her family living there.
    Can anyone shed some light on this please.

  16. Teresa Deacon says:

    Hi Roger,
    Thanks for your comment about 54 Beulah Road. It’s always fascinating to read about those who lived and worked in this local ‘street of shops’. As I’ve said in other comments above, there are many gaps in the years in my research but it is likely that no. 54 may have been a hairdresser’s when your mother and family lived above. I have a scanned newspaper cutting (from 2014) with a photo taken in the early 1950s which includes some history of the shop (built in 1862) which may be of interest. If you would like to give me your email address via the ‘contact us’ form, link below, I can forward it to you. http://www.walthamstowvillage.net/contact-us/
    Very best wishes,
    Teresa Deacon

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