Last week I was contacted via Twitter about a ghostsign at the rear of a property in Hornsey Road. Archway Ramblings @UpArchway asked if I knew any more about an old painted sign visible from Bracey Street. Well, this was the first I knew about it, which is not surprising seeing as Bracey Street is a little back street that I have rarely ever used, and the sign fairly inaccessible.
|H....ELL, TEA MERCHANT....... 408 Holloway Road. Photo: @UpArchway|
A quick bit of sleuthing and it turns out this was Henry Dell who had a grocery shop here at 450 Hornsey Rd, a few doors up from Thorpedale Road, today a launderette.
|647-665 Holloway Rd, 1882 |
|647-665 Holloway Rd, 1939|
Moving fast forward to 1939, I see Henry Dell [and/or his family] is still going strong. The Hornsey Rd shop is listed as "Dell's Store's" and the shop at 657 Holloway Rd is battling for custom with two similar grocery shops next door, namely Liptons, a well-known country-wide chain, and David Greig** the provisions company founded in Hornsey. As for the shop at 408 Holloway Rd, by 1939 it's listed as a restaurant with Mullholland's shoe shop also shown at the same address so I think we can assume that Dell's restaurant was on one of the upper floors.
Some photographic ref would be nice, but I can't find any right now. The Dells might have been trading in the area earlier than 1882 and I don't know if they continued after WWII. So I'll have to leave it there – Henry Dell, a successful family business, established in Holloway for at least 60 years. Nice.
Thanks again to Archway Ramblings for bringing this to my attention.
*I refer to this kind of thing on my Mr Pooter's Holloway guided walk about the book 'A Diary of a Nobody' where the characters of 1888 are living at a made-up place called Brickfield Terrace – I have some very good ideas where this could have been along this busy thoroughfare.
**DG shops are a bit of a 'thing' with me. Note to self; collate and post about the company here – any additional info you might have will be gratefully received, and credited.