25 September 2012

Chas Baker of Seven Sisters Road, North London

One of my birthday presents this year was a sweet little book called the A-B-C Guide To London
It's a modern reprint of a handbook put together in 1905 listing all sorts of places in London at that time, including some informative maps great illustrations.
The book was actually a piece of very clever marketing material made by a company called Chas Baker & Co Stores Ltd. Almost every other page has a reference to the nearest branch. And at the back there are pages of ads showing the kind of clothes and accessories one could buy at their emporiums.
The company's head office was at 271-274 High Holborn, with other large shops at Ludgate Hill, Tottenham Court Road, Edgware Road, an a North London branch at 5, 6 & 7 Seven Sisters [Holloway, N7]. Illustrations of the shops are included in the book.
Most of the Holloway building is still there as you can see in my comparison photos, below. The street level and first floor now look nothing like they used to a century ago, but the upper floors are still basically the same. I am a bit confused how the 1905 drawing shows only three windows with pointy bits above them on the third floor, yet today you can see that there are matching ones to the right, but not on the part of the building that used to be the shop! Artistic licence or a matching extension?
I feel the urge to go and take photos of the other four locations now...


  1. There is a similar greek key/swastika frieze on the Bourne & Hollingsworth building in Oxford St. I know that they're not particularly uncommon but I wonder if they ordered them from the same catalogue?

  2. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  3. Malcolm... I think you mean the key pattern on the building next door. But yes, I definitely think these kind of mouldings were purchased from a catalogue, just like they are today.
    It's a shame the street level windows and lights aren't still as elaborate as they look to have been 100 years ago.


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