It’s quite amazing where you end up when you’re surfing the internet.
The other day I was looking at a Facebook group, Fulham A Community Page For Your Memories, a rich source of photographs & information about the area. Someone had posted a digital image of Charles Booth’s poverty maps of London (1902-1903). I clicked on it and began browsing areas of London that I had known well.
Our home for a while had been in Musard Road, Fulham which Booth’s map categorized, “Mixed, some comfortable others poor”. Nearby the now nonexistent Church Path where my maternal grandfather had lived was described, “Very poor casual, chronic want”. We moved to Inglethorpe Street, still in Fulham but off Fulham Palace Road. It was nearer to the river and Craven Cottage where my wife Barbara worked for Fulham Football Club. At the time of Booth’s maps, the road did not exist and the area was occupied by small agricultural plots. Child’s Street in Earls Court, my childhood home was in the “Mixed, some comfortable some poor” category.
I continued tracing my way across London following a path that I knew well. As a teenager, I travelled daily by train from Earl’s Court to Victoria and then by bus to Camberwell Green where I worked.
In the 1950’s I worked as an apprentice painter and sign writer for the building firm GE Wallis and Sons Ltd. I was based in a workshop in Hopewell Street, (formally Chiswell Street) Camberwell. The old building has now given way to modern Egyptianesque flats incorporating the original yard for car parking.
Well, this brings me to another anecdote that was not quite true. This time the person guilty of passing on the untruth was, I confess, yours truly.
I was told that the building and yard had been a horse-bus depot and for years I have been telling people this story. It was only a few days ago that during some internet research that I discovered a more accurate account of the history of Camberwell Stables. It had in fact been a depot for Carter Patterson the haulage company. Benjamin Jenkins has written an interesting history of Carter Patterson with some great images.
I was curious to know how long ago it had been since the horses were there for believe it or not when it had rained heavily overnight, the following morning when you arrived for work you could actually detect their smell.
Benjamin Jenkins writes “Their first motor van was a 10-cwt chain driven Daimler in 1897, but this was destroyed in a fire at Goswell Road the following year.” writes
So it seems 1897 was the beginning of the end for the horses, but how much longer did they last. I well remember a few local traders still using horses in the 1940s but Carter Paterson left their premises in Hopewell Street in 1933 and I guess the horses may have gone before then but their smell certainly lingered on.