High Street: North Side
1 High Street (Gothic House)
The current occupants are Gothic Insurance Brokers, who have been in this building since 1966, and Howick and Brooker's Estate Agents which has operated here since 1978. In the 1920s the Post Office moved here from its original location at 7-9 High Street (see the 1975 Ordnance Survey map). Between 1800 and 1944 the Post Office was run by the Whittaker family: John, David, Charles and then their relative John Carmichael. Over the years they provided a number of different retail services, trading as milliners, drapers, staioners and booksellers. By the 1950s the Post Office had moved to London Road before moving to its current location at the rear of the Coop Store at 25 High Street.
The ground floor of the former Post Office was taken over by Welford's, a confectioner, tobacconist and stationer specializing in greeting cards. The first floor contained the dental surgery of Miss Sarson, and the top floor was Nora's Ladies Hairdressers. For a brief period the ground floor housed Mick's Rod and Tackle, owned by a man who won £90,000 on the pools, and then by Miller's Estate Agents.
The small extension on the east side of the building was occupied by The Herts and Essex Advertiser, then Harlow Press (General Printers and Bookbinders) and Harlow Gazette, and finally by the West Essex Photo Studios. This has been demolished and replaced by the entry doors to two upstairs flats.
3 High Street
Now occupied by Genesis Financial Services which took over the space briefly occupied by 'Guys 'n Dolls' hairdressers. For more than 20 years prior to this it was the home of Anderson's Bakery which closed on 5 June, 2004. Previous occupants were Sketchley's Dry Cleaners, Ashwell Jewellers, and Akeley's Drapers.
7 - 9 High Street: Café Blue
This was formerly two properties.
7 High Street
Occupied by Lea's Drapery Shop, from 1955 to the mid- to late 1960s and then by Welford's.
9 High Street
Occupied during the 1960s by Arthur Geer: Newsagent, Bookseller, Stationer and Tobacconist, Toy and Fancy Goods Dealer. The premises were subsequently taken over by Thomas Marshall who was a printer and bookbinder, then by Wilce Taylor, newspaper and magazine distributor. The two properties were consolidated and taken over by Martin’s Newsagents and Tobacconists, which ceased trading in 2001.
11 High Street: Sue Ryder Care Shop
Formerly 'The Library'. Before moving to Harlow, Arthur Geer had worked at the main location of Mudie's Library in London, and opened a branch of that library here. This was the second library in the premises: during the 1930s it was a branch of 'The Argos Circulating Library'.
13 High Street: Tasty Fish Bar
This is the former home of a series of butchers: first the London Central Meat Company, then Baxter's and finally Dewhurst, which closed in 1996. Old Harlow has not had a specialist butcher since.
19 High Street
The Bengal Cottage Restaurant formerly the PennyFarthing Restaurant, and before that J.S. Moule, Florist and High Class Greengrocer. The building was converted to a restaurant in 1971 behind a striking new facade designed by John Graham, the architect responsible for the conversion of The Maltings in St. John’s Walk from a disused industrial building into the main building of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Harlow campus. Regrettably this façade has since been removed.
25 High Street
The Cooperative Food Store, which was originally located in Station Road, and then on the south side of High Street. This has been a grocery store for a long time. It was being run by Somerfield until 2009 when the company was bought out by the Co-Op. Many high streets throughout the UK were served by a Somerfield store, and the Cooperative has maintained most of them. These two companies should be commended for maintaining a High Street presence in the face of stiff competition from the larger superstores. the 1970s and 1980s, it was a Gateway franchise and before that the International Tea Company.
29 - 31 High Street
Until the 1960s 29-31 High Street was one property, occupied by W.H. Gardiner who sold fruit, vegetables and flowers, and then by Marions. It has now become two properties.The Co-Op Group has its roots in the North of England Co-Operative Society which was formed in 1863. During the corporate restructuring and rebranding which took place in 2009, the Co-Op had an unusually long 2.5 minute advertisement which was not only aired for the first time during an episode of Coronation Street, but also used part of Bob Dylan's iconic song ‘Blowing In The Wind’. This is one of the very rare occasions when the songwriter allowed one of his compositions to be used for commercial purposes.
29 High Street: The Cutting Edge
Formerly Marquis Sports, Franco's Hair Salon, Dean's wet and fried fish shop, and in the 1930s, the office of Wright Brothers, Motor Jobmasters. Marquis Sports shop was run by Glenn Hoddle,who grew up in Harlow and went on to a successful career in professional football. He appeared in 377 games for Tottenham Hotspur (1975-87), 69 for AS Milan (1987-91), 64 for Swindon Town (1991-93) and 31 for Chelsea (1993-95). Between 1979 and 1988 he made 53 appearances with the English National Team before becoming its manager from 1996 to 1998, when he guided the team to the second round of the FIFA World Cup when it lost to Argentina on penalties. He also served as Manager for Swindon when it earned promotion to the Premier League; Chelsea, which he took to the FA Cup Final; and Tottenham, which he took to the League Cup Final; and Wolverhampton Warriers.
31 High Street
The Flower Box.
33 High Street
Douglas Jones, Accountant. Former occupants included Dannielle’s Beauty and Flickers video rental shop.
37 High Street
This building is now incorporated into the Cross Keys Restaurant. Prior to the conversion in 2015 it was occupied by Masters and Watkins Estate Agents which had moved down the street from The George. They ceased trading in this location in July, 2011. Until 1974 H. Muffett, purveyor of fish, poultry and game, traded out of this shop after he moved from his previous location on the other side of High Street. When he left number 37 he moved to the premises in Garden Terrace Road now occupied by Marina Fish Bar.
39 High Street: Cross Keys Restaurant
Previous occupants were IntercountyLettings (now located in The George), Curnew and Davies Estate Agents; Harris, Cuffaro and Nichols Solicitors from the 1980s to 2004, before their relocation to Black Lion Yard off Market Street; the Midland Bank; Parnhams furniture store and Selmes Family Butchers. Selmes is listed as occupant in all of the Kelly's Directories in the Museum of Harlow, from the first one in 1874 until 1933, and the family continued providing butcher service to the town until the 1960's.
The Selmes family lived in Harlow for a long time, and were always butchers. They, and the Holmes family, which has lived in the area since the 1640s, were intertwined since the 1880s when two Holmes sisters married two Selmes brothers. One of the brothers was killed during the First World War, and is one of those men with no known grave. His name is inscribed on the Memorial to the Missing at Arras, and there is also a headstone in his memory in the Harlow cemetery.
41 - 47 High Street
Between the passageway to the medical clinic and the bottom of the retail precinct at the intersection where Garden Terrace and Wayre Road connect with High Street are two more of the 1960s vintage blocks: one of shops with flats above, and one just containing flats. The buildings demolished to make way for the new development housed Colman's showroom, Green's grocery, three cottages and Tate's Store. Tate's sold just about everything, from groceries and sweets to paraffin and petrol and bicycles and batteries.
The occupants of the block have been, and are:
41 High Street: Old Harlow Dental Practice
The original occupant of this shop, built by the Harlow Development Corporation in 1970, was Wasson's Fruiters and Greengrocers, Old Harlow has been without the services of a specialist greengrocer since it closed in 2003.
43 - 45 High Street: Ramco Pharmacy
Previous occupants: Jacks Hardware (#43), and Howse's Butchers (#45). The two premises were consolidated in 2001 by Ramco Chemists when it moved across the street from #52. Mr. Patel, the pharmacist, and his brother have been commuting daily from North London to their premises in Harlow's High Street since they first began trading out of #10 in 1980.
47 High Street: Enchanted Bridal Boutique
The previous occupant, Geoffrey Matthews Estate Agents, moved to The Gables in 2016. Before that it was a branch of Lloyd's Bank after it moved down from Station Road. Lloyd’s closed this branch in 1997 and consolidated their operations in the Town Centre.
71 High Street*: Chestnut Cottage
Since 1970 this is the only survivor of four old thatched cottages in High Street. The exterior of the cottage is probably 18th century, but the frame may be earlier. The tree that gave the cottage its name was felled in 1925. The other cottages were demolished in 1953 to make room for the cottages of Rosemary Close, and the War Memorial Gardens. Rosemany Close was one of the first sheltered housing schemes built by the Harlow Urban District Council, and was built to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
East of Chestnut Cottage was Wright's Garage and Cottages. Wright's provided 'Open or closed cars for hire, day or night'. Chris Earle, the first coach driver for the English Cultural Landscape Programme in 1986 later lived here. The two cottages west of the site of the garage are named Coachman's Cottage and Earle's Cottage.
81 High Street: Roc Hair and Beauty
Roc Hair and Beauty offers ‘the ultimate experience in service, expertise and luxury, all under one roof in arguably the finest, most luxurious salon in Old Harlow.' Former occupants were Streaks Ahead Hairdressers, Bardot's Beauty Box and Church's Corn Merchants.
High Street then curves eastward past the top of New Road where James Cowlin, builder and decorator, had his yard from the 1880s to the 1920s. He was succeeded by J. Newton and Sons, builders and building material merchants.
The street continues around Ash House (once the home of W.G. Deards, son of the famous Sam), and the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (1886) which was converted to residences in 2004. The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (1950) overlooks Mulberry Green, from a site donated to the church by Mr. and Mrs. Newman Gilbey.
The Old Police House, At the corner of Mulberry Green and Gilden Way is the old police station, built by John Perry-Watlington for the town in 1852, sits at the end of High Street. It was converted to a private residence after the new police station was built in London Road in 1908.
Gilden Way cuts off High Street at the site of Harlow Ford, which was bridged in 1904 by the Essex County Council. The Sheering Road and Churchgate Street continue on the far side of Gilden Way.
13 - 15 Sheering Road*
In his will, dated 1639, Francis Reeve of Hubbard Hall gave £100 in trust to buy land and build almshouses for four poor widows. The houses weren't built until 1716 when land was bought in Sheering Road and four almshouses built by the vicar and sold to the church trustees. The inscription in front of a blind central dormer with a gable reads "These houses were builded for ye habitation of fower poore widdowes with monies left by ye will of Mr. Francis Reeve formerly of Huberts Hall". The original four units were consolidated into two in 1957 and rebuilt in 1974.
17 Sheering Road: Sheering Mill
Built in 1835 as Piper's Mill, and owned by Robert Aplin who ran a bakery in Market Street.
A Grade II listed, late 18th/early 19th century house, formerly owned by Field Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood, V.C. (Victoria Cross), K.C.B. (Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath), G.C.M.G. (Grand Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George) He won his Victoria Cross at the age of 22 for his bravery in action on 19 October 1858 at Sindwaho, during the Indian Mutiny. In 1898, when he was adjutant general of the army, a family friend asked him to intercede on behalf of a young Army officer who was desperate for an appointment for duty in the Sudan. Lord Kitchener, the head of the Egyptian Army had refused the officer's entreaties because, in his opinion, the officer's journalistic and political activities made him undesirable. Prime Minister Lord Salisbury had personally assured the officer that if there was anything he could do to advance his career, he would do so. The family friend told Wood about this promise, he communicated the information to Kitchener and two days later the War Office informed the officer in question - Winston Churchill - that he had been attached to the 21st Lancers and was to proceed immediately to Cairo.
Field Marshall Wood died at Millhurst in 1919. The house was subsequently owned by Mrs. D.J. Drake, a relative of Sir Francis Drake. The adjoining gated estate of 4 large houses, known as 'Drake's Meadow', was built in 1966 in what had been the garden, despite the opposition of Harlow Town Council and local residents.