12 September 2023

Keeping it in the family

This is just a nice little collection of independent shop signs across London that feature "& Sons" within them. Some businesses are still trading, some are long gone but the signs remains in place, and others have disappeared completely since I took the photos. 


Chard & Sons, butcher, 101 Gloucester Road, SW7. I took the photo back in January 2009. More info about the old shop here. Most of the marvellous Doulton tiles are still visible but the old name is today obscured.

E. Price & Sons, English & Foreign Fruiterers, 96-98 Golborne Rd, W10. Photo September 2016. Lovely hand-painted exterior, with roll down shutters, very typical of greengrocers of old with one shop as the shop and the other used as storage. By 2019 these two shops were already being renovated and refitted, and this is how they look today. OK, so the name has gone, but it's really good to see that the lovely windows have retained, especially in a street that is known for antiques and bric-a-brac. 

John Lovibond & Sons Ltd, brewery. This lovely tiled sign for this Greenwich and Salisbury company can be found on the side of what used to be a beer retailer at the corner of 28 Clapham Road, SW9.


W. Burrows & Sons, wet & dry fishmonger. This fabulous shop complete with its green tiled and gilded exterior was obliterated over seven years ago as I wrote here. However, a faded painted advertisement, a ghostign of the old business, still clings to the uppermost part of the north-facing side wall and would have been clearly visible from the Savoy Circus and the A40. The top two lines read W.BURROWS & SONS / FISH & CHIP RESTAURANT but I am still trying to decipher he bottom line which starts ALL C...

James Smith & Sons, umbrella makers, 53 New Oxford Street, WC1. Smiths, founded in 1830 in Soho, is still trading here on the edge of Bloomsbury and, thanks to its olde worlde charm, appealing to tourists who want to buy a bit of English craftsmanship, the company continues to thrive within this Grade II* shop. Hurrah. Long may that continue. 

White & Sons, ironmonger, 207 Oxford Street, W1. No prizes for guessing that this shop, which was almost opposite Gt Titchfield Street, isn't there any more – today you'll find a TK Maxx within a modern building. I spotted this coal hole cover plate in nearby Harley Street. The shop would have been a general hardware shop, also selling ironmongery.

Mr White traded here from at least the 1850s as part of Gibbons, White, Smith & Son. Mr Gibbons was already here in the 1840s when it was 345 Oxford Street, the road at that time being consecutively numbered from St Giles westwards to Edgware Rd along the North side and then back eastwards along the South side. The Gibbons cover plate shown here is near Rutland Gate, Kensington. Mr Smith seems to have moved on by the 1870s when the business became simply Gibbons & White. He might have gone into business on his own elsewhere as there are a couple of possible candidates for ironmongers by the name of Smith in Kensington and Bloomsbury, so I am going to leave him be for now. 

Mr Gibbons had also dropped out of the picture by 1882 when the shop is listed as White & Son (just the one son), then upgraded to White & Sons (plural) by 1891 with works at Nags Head Yard (where?). The Whites were still in Oxford Street in 1910 but by 1915 they had moved round the corner to 42 Berwick Street as a limited company but I am not clear for how much longer they traded because there iare no listings for them by the late 1930s.


L. Terroni & Sons, Italian delicatessen and café, 138 Clerkenwell Rd, EC1. Still trading today and claims to be the oldest of its type in London.

C. E. Norris & Sons, 73 Whidborn Street, WC1, opposite the excellent McGlynn's (a proper pub). The style of the lettering looks 1950s to me and, although I have no conclusive evidence, judging by previous occupants here, I'd guess that the Norrises were also greengrocers . What's cool about the hand-painted sign here is it shows the old telephone number; TER 4577. TER = Terminus which was the three letter code for the Kings Cross area equating to 837 in today's terms. More about the old phone codes here.

G. Carter & Sons, hat manufacturer and hosier, 162 Jamaica Road, SE1. Another doorway/threshold mosaic, a stone's throw from Bermondsey tube station. George Carter established his hat making business in 1851. By 1882 he is listed here with a larger shop at 215-217 Old Kent Road and a hosiery shop at 249 Southwark Park Road, SE1, on the left corner of Blue Anchor Lane, today a charity furniture shop. The company office was on the opposite corner at 251a within The Blue Anchor pub building. The Old Kent Road shop was later expanded to include men's clothing and the premises itself enlarged and rebuilt as an impressive and well-known establishment. Sad to report that this was demolished in the 1970s and today is a BHF furniture store

The Carter family continued to trade from the Jamaica Road shop until at least 1915, but they'd gone from there by 1939. Ah, but that's not the end of the story; quite the opposite. The 1939 Post Office directory shows that the family moved the company office to Surrey Square (just over the road from the OKRd store) and other shops were opened across London in Deptford, Shoreditch, Woolwich, Kensal Green (where a lot of the old shop front remains and I will write this up soon), also Brixton, Dalston, Tooting, Camden, Wandsworth and more. But no Islington shops, although it has to be said that Holloway Road and Upper Street were already saturated with men's outfitters. I understand that the Carter family also had stores further afield in the south in Chatham and Croydon.

The company continued trading until the later 1880s. However, I think I am going to have to stop now as I appear to have entered a G. Carter & Sons whirlpool. When I started writing this, having found the montage of nine pics that I made over a year ago, I thought "I'll just do a quick short blog post on that, perhaps a line on each company" – hmm that was many hours ago. I then got completely lost in research. No wonder my tummy was rumbling! If you want to delve further into Carter's history, there's lots of info online about the Carter company and this book by Diana Jones.  


  1. Jane,
    In Leadenhall Market - 1990s I guess - there was a parade of Butchers shops ...and daughters.
    Remember them. Does it mean anything to you. Christmas time Turkeys hanging on the spikes outside the shops. ~ all the spikes since cut off Grrhh.

    1. The metal racks with spikes are still there: https://www.google.com/maps/@51.51282,-0.0835471,3a,75y,268.41h,90.12t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sACIdZFBzv-P7JN7E131y2Q!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3DACIdZFBzv-P7JN7E131y2Q%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D169.15018%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656?entry=ttu


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