Christmas Days: A sunny day in Knightsbridge

It’s always good on a cold winter’s day to remind yourself of the pleasures of city life in the summer. If it’s a more innocent age so much the better. These pictures go back to the 1950s and were taken in Knightsbridge, on or around the Brompton Road, a busy street which had wide pavements with pleasant mews streets running off it.



A street with a passing 2CV  trundling along, dogs walking, women strolling, men  sitting in benches, on eof them smoking a pipe. And, Erik’s ladies hairdresser, one of the many small businesses.

I’ve taken advice on the two buses, by way of dating the pictures, assuming they were taken the same day. Between the 14 above and the 9 below my transport correspondent got it down to a date between 1952 and 1958, which looks about right in terms of what people were wearing.


Oh, and it’s apparently a Sunday. The 9 ran further on Sundays as many buses used to, and this one is ging all the way to Becontree Heath. (It ran out of the Barking Garage)

The gentleman with the newspaper looking back at the Roller. Is a notable person about to emerge?


This sort of chair stringing activity used to be seen quite a lot, even up to relatively modern times. It’s a bit of street theatre in some ways. It has certainly captured the attention of the boy with the almost finished ice lolly.

More leisurely work activity below, in a nearby mews.


Are the two young women making miniature trees? Something like that, with a non-working friend sitting nearby. Check out all the chalk messages on the wall. 1950s graffitti? One of them appears to read “Cymru am byth” – “Wales forever” of course.


Nearby perhaps , in Brompton Square I think, some more light work as a man waters hanging plants, assisted by a lady and watched by a couple of poodles.

And as it might be a Sunday, the best leisure activity of all, just hanging out in the park. Did they hang out in those days?



The photos were taken by a photographer named Mark Hamilton. Our thanks to him and whoever gave them to the Library.

Miscelleany: what a way to earn a living

While we’re in Knightsbridge I have another snippet for you.  I came across this Harrods Christmas catalogue last year in a filing cabinet containing some quite dull ephemera, along with with a few interesting items.  The nice people at Harrods thought it might be a good idea to persuade this young lady to put on a silly costume.


As we sometimes do at Christmas. But how did they persuade her?

Perhaps it was a fun afternoon out. If you know who she is, please get in touch.

More tomorrow I hope.


5 responses to “Christmas Days: A sunny day in Knightsbridge

  • Peter Barron

    “Nearby perhaps , in Brompton Square I think, some more light work as a man waters hanging plants, assisted by a lady and watched by a couple of poodles.”

    No, that’s Ennismore Gardens Mews

  • teresastokes

    Nice to look at what is clearly a baking hot summer day, on the second shortest day of the year as it is today. The Harrods woman is in a Pierrot costume, you never see or hear of Pierrots now but you can see a troupe of them performing at the seaside in the creepy Richard Attenborough film Brighton Rock. Zooming in as best I can on the women making “trees” in the mews, I think they are little white terrier type dogs.

  • Johnny Lyell

    The two women are making clay poodles , not trees. I spent many a happy hour there as a child, The older woman, with her back to the camera, lived nearby, in a flat in Brompton Road, and had this mews garage rented as a little ceramic shop. She had a kiln inside and used to make all sorts of small ceramic items. The neighbours weren’t happy as they thought it lowered the tone of the street (Cheval Place),and she was eventually forced out (late 60’s?). I lived in Brompton Square. The poodles in the photo in Ennismore Garden Mews look incredibly like my families two poodles…….lovely photo in any case. It was a great place to grow up there in the 50’s & 60’s; it is completely different now.

    • Dave Walker

      Thanks for this background story. Excellent.

      • Johnny Lyell

        Just been in touch with my brother and he also remembers it well. He reminded me that the woman’s name was Sylvie and she used to let us smash her “faulty” ceramics against the wall for fun. Probably wouldn’t be allowed now some reason or other! Simple times.

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