Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Old Kent Road, London, 1911

Old Kent Road, London, 1911. This lovely postcard shows the premises of Meta Dowden's shop at 652 Old Kent Road, London, dealing in confectionery, toys and fancy goods. Meta Whitting Dowden was born in 1886 in North Nibley, Gloucestershire. It is very likely that the lady posing in front of the shop is Meta herself. The message on the back is interesting, Meta has sent the postcard to a recently married acquaintance who is in Paris but she has forgotten her friend's married name. She has addressed the postcard to "Mrs F S-----, formerly Miss Corderoy. A Florence Corderoy from Croydon married either Wilfred Blumberg or Reginald Gates in 1911 so it is possible that it is her and Meta has mistaken the B of Blumberg or the G of Gates for an 'S'.

I've included a scan of the back, here is a transcript:
"Dear Flo, I thought I would call and see you to find out how you were getting on. You remember Miss Streeter, a dark young lady in the millinery showroom, rather short and stout. She gets married tomorrow (Wed May 24th) and thinks of calling on you if she has time. She will be in Paris for a few days. Sorry I can't think of your name. Best love from yours, Meta".

The building on the front of the postcard still exists, on the Google Street View image (dated May 2012) 652 Old Kent Road is the premises of Zenith Training. Click the postcard images to enlarge (then right-click and 'save as' to download high resolution copies).

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  1. I don't know which of those windows would be most enticing, the one with the sweet jars or the flags and what looks like postcards etc. Fantastic pc.

    1. I would love to know what the sweets in the jars were!

  2. I can just imagine it was a wonderful place, and so very delicious things too!

  3. A fantastic image of the era. The poster in the front is for a popular operetta The Chocolate Soldier by Oscar Straus which opened in an English version in 1909. It is adapted from George Bernard Shaw's 1894 play - Arms and the Man.
    I really don't understand why the modern shops evolved into such unappetizing boxes. Meta would not be impressed.

  4. Great storefront image! Much more attractive than the Google view.



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