Friday, 10 June 2016

Going Shopping

Original post: ww1greenwichwomenatwar.org/2016/06/10/shopping-well-hall-estate/

Well Hall Parade early 20th Century
Shopping for food features quite regularly in Eda’s diary, mainly food shopping. It is apparent that Eda, her mother and her brother all shopped for food. We know that queuing could take most of a day and that Tom had been kept off school to queue. 

Eda’s mother shopped in Woolwich probably when she finished work. David Greigs was a chain of grocers shops that had started in the late nineteenth century in south east London and in the diary is mentioned as a place for bacon. There were two branches in Woolwich, one on Hare Street and one on Powis. The other meat mentioned was beef which was bought at the butchers on Well Hall Parade – Hurdidge’s at No16. On 25th February, the first day of rationing, Eda said that the shop was full of meat. A month earlier she had referred to more horses being slaughtered for meat to feed the nation. Although I cannot find evidence that this happened on the home front, things were different in the trenches.

Well Hall Parade early 20th Century 
The parade at Well Hall contained several shops useful for daily needs. The photos shows it early in the century before the estate was built, and then a number of years later when we can see the tram lines in the road. The first shop on the right is The London Drug Company, a chemist’s shop, but just out of sight was a greengrocers. Interestingly, although now closed, it is clear that this shop was still a greengrocers until its closure; one of only two shops to continue in the same type of use, the other being the newsagent’s at No 11. Beyond the chemist can be seen the canopies of Moore’s, a drapers shop and then there was a confectioner’s. The extract from the Street Directory of 1919 shows the rest of the shops which end with No19, another grocers.

Well Hall Parade now
Another shop explicitly mentioned by name was the Maypole. There was certainly a branch of this dairy in Woolwich and it was one of the places where the family obtained the much sort after margarine. 

The family must also have shopped at the Royal Arsenal Cooperative from which they obtained useful dividends. What Eda doesn’t mention is shopping in Eltham itself. 

The purchase of only one or two non food items is mentioned; Tom’s ‘war’ boots, and I wonder where the other families shopped when the woman of the house weren't working? 
Was Woolwich still an important destination because of the tram link, the range of shops and the market? Did some of the women shop in Eltham itself? 
With food in short supply and in the days before domestic fridges, was shopping a daily activity?

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