Inside an ironmongers shop in the early 20th century. Photographed in Amberley
Ironmongers shop front. Photographed in Milestones Museum, Basingstoke
Ironmongers shop in the early 1900s, photographed as a detail from a larger
photograph in Milton Keynes Museum. The main wares can just be made out - oil
and colour [paint] written above the left-hand window, seed merchants
written above the right-hand window, and cooper [maker and seller of
barrels] above the door.
Hardware shops or ironmongers were always known as oil shops in our
family. They sold all sorts of household goods but it was for oil (actually
paraffin) that my mother mostly used them. She would have to take a special can
with a long spout along and buy the oil by the pint. Perhaps it was the oil
that gave these shops a special smell of their own.
The gas mantle was bought from the oil shop,
too. It came in a little cardboard box.
The shop also sold firewood. This was stacked
like a wall in front of the counter in bundles, about a dozen in a bundle, about
6-8 inches long, half 1 inch thick.
Our local shop in Edmonton was owned by Mr Bryant and was on the corner
of Sheldon Road and Silver Street.
Information from the 1911 census
The 1911 census shows that my mother's memory
was absolutely right: It shows that Alfred
Bryant describes himself as an oilman. He was living
at 77 Silver Street, probably above his shop, with his wife Catherine,
56, who assisted with the business and his daughter Mabel, 17 born
Bethnal Green. He, like his wife, was born in Stepney.
The hardware shop / ironmongers / oil shop in Silver Street Edmonton, early 1900s.
provided by Cliff Raven, courtesy of Enfield Local Studies and Archives.
Note the tin baths hanging up that would have been used on
washdays. Larger versions would have been
used for bathing. Detail of a larger photo
on old Edmonton page.
According to Doreen Buckland, there was a hardware shop called Eaton's on
the corner of Warwick Road and Silver Street in the 1930s.
The photo from the early 1900s, courtesy of Cliff Raven,, shows a shop
on this corner. Image processing software on a larger version enables the awning to be
distorted and enhanced so that it is almost completely legible. It