Empty streets: Earls Court Road 1904 – part two

Just to get you orientated, this is part of the final picture from last week’s post.

Earls Court Road 172 1904 LTE285 - Copy (2)

There’s our friend and his horse and above him the office of Hugo’s Language School.

Earls Court Road 203-207 1904 LTE269

It’s the following day, April 22nd, and Ernest Milner is back on the Earls Court Road looking at the buildings on the odd-numbered side of the street. Hugo’s Language System is course still with us. So is the London and County Bank in a later incarnation.

Earls Court Road 195-197 1904 LTE268

In 1909 it merged with the London and Westminster Bank to form the Westminster Bank which later became the National Westminster Bank. If you take a look at the same building today you will see that it has grown slightly with a matching section being built into that empty site.

Earls Court Road 189-193 1904 LTE266

You can see in this picture that the empty site was quite narrow, that there were contractors in already and that the next building is another bank. The London and South Western was absorbed into Barclays in 1918. Barclays still have a branch in this spot in a completely new building. Banks are one of the great survivors of the high street. That is also true of the institution next door.

Earls Court Road 181 later 187 1904 LTE267

The Courtfield Hotel, public house and restaurant. It’s now known as the Courtfield but still offers fine dining on the first floor.

We’re at Earls Court Gardens now. Today there is a two storey Post Office building between this street and Hogarth Road right over the railway line but Milner ignored that. Perhaps the railway company already had it covered. On the other side of Hogarth Road was Ephraim B Goody, fancy drapers and milliner.

Earls Court Road 179 E B Goody 1904 LTE263

Just as at Edwards cross the road there is a man up a ladder making adjustments, possibly to the awnings. Upstairs Goody’s offered showrooms for baby linen and corsets.

Earls Court Road 175 1904 LTE260

On the other side of Hogarth Road Milner didn’t take a picture of Hardiman’s, a dressmaker’s shop and not much of Whitley and Sons, dyers. But he did cover Smith and sons the confectioners who offer lemonade and ginger beer by the glass and Cough No More lozenges. The man with the brush is from the shop next door and he also contrives to get into the next picture.

Earls Court Road 173 1904 LTE257

Here he takes up a proud pose outside Hurley’s Decorative Florist while another man pauses as the picture is taken.

Earls Court Road 171 1904 LTE258a

Next door is another growing chain of shops, the Home and Colonial who had over 500 stores by 1904 retailing tea and general groceries. The company was eventually absorbed into the Safeway group.

I said last week we would return to J Rugg and Son, the builders who were working down the road at number 168, and here they are ready to take on any building job.

Earls Court Road 165-167 1904 LTE256

The last shop Milner photographed that day was Blake and Everett’s grocers according to Kelly’s Directory.

Earls Court Road 163 1904 LTE255

But Mr Everett was not much in evidence if you look at the classic extravagant shop front depicted here. Perhaps he was the sleeping partner, or there’s some other story we’ll never know. Check out the massive milk urn – or is that for some other liquid?

Before we go let’s take a quick stroll back to Goody’s, seen here in a side view of Hogarth Road taken on April 21st.

Earls Court Road 179 1904 E B Goody LTE264

Mr Milner took the close up view below for some reason of his own.

Earls Court Road 179 1904 detail LTE262

Perhaps he liked the artist’s palette sign. I’m more interested in my own close up:

Earls Court Road 179 E B Goody detail 1904 LTE263

Two women stand in the doorway. One is too blurred to see properly. But I think Milner took care with the other lady, perhaps even asking her to stand still.

Earls Court Road 179 E B Goody detail 2 1904 LTE263

So her slight smile and enigmatic expression was captured for us to look at more than a hundred years later. I doubt if Milner knew that would happen but I expect he would have been pleased.

Finally on a technical note I should add that the numbering of Earls Court Road has changed a little since 1904 so those of you comparing these views with those of today will notice a few anomalies. many of the buildings are still there of course which will help.

Next week my Christmas present to you, some seasonal darkness.


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