High Street, Churchgate Street, London Road and Station Road
High Streets all over the U.K. have undergone dramatic changes during the past twenty years. Large national and multi-national corporations have taken over a large portion of the retail sector, squeezing out many of the smaller, locally-owned businesses that were always the backbone of High Street retailing. The unceasing efforts of the big corporations to increase the profitability of their operations has led inexorably to ever-larger stores, usually surrounded by acres of parking. Consequently most of the 'big box' or 'superstores' are located on the periphery of the towns or, even worse, miles away at a major highway interchange. In too many cases the desperate efforts of local planning officers to prevent the construction of such stores have been futile. The development of the Tesco store in Harlow's Edinburgh Way is an excellent example of such a story.
There is no doubt that the new retail landscape is more convenient for those who shop by car, that prices are lower and the selection of goods better. But the inevitable result has been a steady erosion of the rich retail mix that characterized the High Street, and the increasing isolation of those, especially the elderly who either do not, or cannot shop at the peripheral superstores. The cultural landscape of Harlow, like so many other towns in England, has been seriously degraded by these trends.
The commercial core of Harlow was once much more vibrant than it is today. As recently as 1990 people in Old Harlow could have purchased most of their daily necessities and many of their long-term ones as well in High or Market Street. In High Street alone there were 3 banks, 3 restaurants, 2 butchers, 2 greengrocers, 2 bakers, 2 newsagents, a pharmacy, a hardware store, an optician, an undertaker, an off-licence, a fish-and-chips takeaway a public library and several estate agents. Some of these functions remain, but many have disappeared, too often replaced by the office of an estate agent. There is now one estate agent’s office in Station Road, two in Market Street, one in Fore Street and 6 in High Street. The number of similar businesses trading in any one area is supposed to be regulated by Harlow Council but it is difficult to see how this policy has been applied in the case of the Old Harlow Shopping Centre.
What follows is a description of what you will see if you take a walk in High Street, Churchgate Street, London Road or Station Road. The aim is to give you a sense of the interesting history of this small piece of England, and to remind you that Harlow has been successfully adapting to the social and economic changes of the past 900 years.
I have not been able to identify every individual trader or house occupant, nor map the locations in which they all lived or worked. Archival and anecdotal material has provided the names of many butchers, confectioners, saddlers and harness makers, bootmakers, stationers, builders and jobbers, outfitters, drapers, corn merchants and provisioners who traded in this small area of Harlow. But in many case their exact location has not been recorded. However, as you walk through these streets, you should keep in mind that today’s traders are only the most recent in a long line of craftsmen, merchants and entrepreneurs who have contributed to the development of the town.
The notes are based on a number of sources. These include the 1875, 1921 and 1947 Ordnance Survey maps, the Kelly Directory of Essex, a description of Harlow in 1938 which can be found in the archives section of the Museum of Harlow, and a series of maps dating from the 1950s and 1960s prior to the redevelopment of the High Street by Sir Frederick Gibberd.
The historic images are reprinted with the permission of the Museum of Harlow.
1. 'Listed' Buildings, i.e. those considered by English Heritage to be of particular architectural and/or historic merit are identified by an asterisk (*).
2. The text was originally written in the spring of 2004, and then extensively revised between November 2010 and July 2011 and again in November 2016. In spite of my best efforts, some of the descriptions will now be out-of-date, so if you note errors or omissions, please contact Chris Sharpe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Station and London Roads run almost due north/south. High and Market Streets run east/west. All four meet at what was historically known as The George Corner. The following reproductions of parts of various Ordnance Survey (O.S.) maps will help you to make sense of the descriptions of the buildings along the various streets. Note that Market Street was formerly known as Back Street.
Chris Sharpe Shelburne, Nova Scotia. 20 May 2019
High Street: South Side
2 High Street*: An early 18th century facade on an older house. Sarah Flower Adams, author of the hymn 'Nearer my God to Thee', reputedly the last piece of music played by the band of the R.M.S. Titanic, was born here in 1805. She is buried in the Non-Conformist cemetery in Foster Street. The house has a splendid Georgian door under an open pediment with Doric half columns.
4 High Street*: Grace Amelia, offering tailoring, laundry, dry cleaning and key cutting. The previous occupants of this early 18th century shop included Belvoir Lettings estate, Bairstow Eve Estate Agents, Sheila's General Store, Melias Grocery and Sweet Shop, Meadows Confectionary, Caton's High-Class Grocers and Provision Merchants and the OSO Fragrant Tea Stores and Cafe Ltd.
6 High Street*: Another early 18th century building which has been occupied by Giuiletta and Romeo Hairdressers since 1974. Previous occupants were G.E. Read , Practical Wireless Engineer ("All makes supplied. Repairs a specialty. Accumulators Charged"), Arderne's Gentleman's Outfitters, and from 1920 Fred Scatley's Gent's Outfitter and Boot Mercer for whom ‘bespoke tailoring was a speciality’. In the late 1960's the business was re-branded and transformed into "Blue Meaning".
8 High Street*: J and L Nailbar. Until 2010 this was part of Giuiletta and Romeo. It was originally a blacksmith shop, later occupied by Vincenzo's Hairdressers, Beard's Gentleman's Hairdressers and F.W. Dearlove, outfitter.
Walford's Close. This is the walkway to the carpark and was the source of controversy during the rehabilitation project. It was a cobbled passage, described by the architects as "one of the most attractive features of the High Street" and the original intention was to retain the cobbles. However, the rough surface was deemed a danger to pedestrians, and it was repaved. Some cobblestones have been retained in the narrowest section near the High Street as have the irregular line of the passage. Two pollarded trees that originally graced the blacksmith’s yard survived until 2010, when they were felled.
10 High Street. Since June 2011 this building has been occupied by Fine Wine and Spirits, an excellent, locally-owned off-licence, tobacconist and delicatessen. The shop was vacant from 1999 until 2005 when Fur 'n Feathers pet shop began trading here, and then vacant again from 2008 to 2011. Prior to 1999 it was occupied by Traidcraft, which sold gifts and crafts from around the world. For many years before that it was occupied by Relph and Williams, Chemist and Optician, and in August, 1980 became the first High Street location of Ramco Pharmacy, which relocated to number 40 High Street in 1993.
12 High Street: Dorrington's Bakery has occupied this an 18th century
cottage which retains its original double-range, clay peg-tiled roof and a meticulously restored traditional shop front since 1925. Between 1910 and 1920 it was occupied by Stutely the barber.
18-22 High Street: The block of shops, with flats above, was built during the redevelopment and pedestrianization of HighStreet in the mid-1960s. The previous building, which had been severely damaged by a fire, was formerly occupied by Dines ("The Blue Bird Cycle Stores, Agents for all makes of bicycles”); Pye (selling Marconi and Murphy Radios and which advertised ‘battery charging on approved plant'), Kenville Jackson, which sold radios, records and televisions; and Markham's tobacconist and confectioner. The current occupants are:
18 High Street. Joe Jennings Bookmakers since 2000. The first occupant of this space was Cramphorn's Garden Shop, which became the Harlow Garden Store. Jennings originally traded in the Old Bank House at 2 London Road building, now occupied by D ‘n G Barbers.
20 High Street. Co-Operative Funeral Care which took over from the Co-
Operative grocery store which had moved here from its previous location in Station Road.
22 High Street. The first occupant of the newly built shop was a hairdresser. Loveday's Opticians took over the premises in 1975.
30 High Street*: The 18th century façade hides a 17th century cottage which has housed the Old Harlow Branch of the Essex County Library since 1970. Prior to this it was Read's tobacconist and confectioner. When the building was converted for use as a library the children's section was placed in the old cottage at the front, to maximize the amount of natural light. The adult section is located in the one-storey brick extension to the rear which was built in the former Bluebird (or Pratt's) Yard where there had been a carpenter's workshop accessed by a passageway on the west side of the cottage.
32 High Street*. Sugar Palm Thai Restaurant and Sam's Chinese Restaurant. Until April, 2019, this 17th century timber-framed cottage had been occupied by The New Crystal Palace restaurant for many years. A previous tenant was Chattel's, a stationer and picture framer. The original shape of the bay-fronted cottage with its recessed front entrance has been preserved.
34 High Street* The Golden Grill Turkish Restaurant occupies the western half of a 17th century range with an 18th century façade has been occupied by the Golden Dragon restaurant since 2015. This building, with its semi-hexagonal two-storey bays, housed an Off-Licence from the beginning of the last century to 2010 when it was taken over by the Golden Dragon Restaurant. In the years prior to the First War a Mr. Walsh lived in the cottage on the west side and ran the Ind Coope Brewery off-licence outlet in the east bay. Victoria Wine then occupied the building for many years until it closed in 2010. The shop was then occupied by a chicken and kebab take-away, then a Chinese food takeaway , .
36 High Street*: Rina Antonio hairdressers has occupied the western half of this building since 2015. The previous occupants were Sweet Delights, Creative Designs -The House of Flowers which according to its sign was ‘Commissioned for the Princess of Thailand’ and Lane's Audiovisuals.
50 - 54 High Street. This is another one of the blocks of shops with flats above added to the High Street in the 1970s, to the designs of Sir Frederick Gibberd. Several shops and two cottages were demolished to make way for the new development. Prior to the reconstruction, the buildings housed a number of prominent businesses.
William and Samuel Deards, painters, glaziers and gas fitters, operated a business in High Street between 1874 and 1882. After 1874 Samuel Deards was listed in Kelly’s Directory as an 'inventor'. The impressive semi-circular glass roof over the eastern bay was undoubtedly erected using Deard’s 'dry glazing' method of roofing large buildings. When Deard moved his manufacturing premises west to The Broadway the glazed roof on this shop was replaced by a simple peaked roof and the building was taken over by Harry Coleman and Co.
The Coleman family ran a number of successful businesses in Harlow for a long time. Two brothers had a falling out, apparently around the turn of the 19th century, and William set up his son Harry in competition with his brother John. Kelly's Directory tells us that in High Street you had William, a coal merchant, from 1874 to 1882 and Harry Coleman between 1908 and 1933. Harry advertised his business as: "Furnishing and General Ironmongers; Whitesmiths and General Smiths; Locksmiths; Plumbers, Gas and Water Fitters; Cycle Makers and Agents; Agricultural, Horticultural and Sanitary Engineers; Electric and Crank Bellhangers; Builder's Ironwork and Iron and Wire Fencing." Meanwhile, between 1878 and 1908 John Coleman, general smith, traded out of premises in Back (now Market) Street.
Martin's Bakery. Steve Martin ran a bakery and sold Lipton's teas in this High Street shop from about 1905 to 1933. Then he moved into the former Seeley's premises in Fore Street. Martin sold yeast to those who wanted to make their own bread, and would bake customer's bread late in the day for ½ d. The large sign projecting into High Street says: "Cyclists Rest. Teas Supplied".
Since the early 1950s the three shops built by the Harlow Development Corporation have been occupied by:
50 High Street: The Raj Lodge Indian restaurant. In the early 20th century this was the Carter Seed Agency, run by a Miss Thurgood, who became Steve Martin's second wife. It was then taken over by Goulds, and then Cramphorn's Seed Merchants.
52 High Street: Belvoir Lettings. Previously occupied by Bairstow Eves Estate Agents. Once occupied by Martin's sweet shop and tobacconist, it was then taken over by followed by Ramco Chemists. Mr Patel, the chemist, who traded here from 1993 to 2001, when he moved his business into much larger premises across the street. Before him it was Dane's Cleaners, which had taken over from Blakeley's which offered a variety of services: "General Draper, Milliner, Costumier, Boots and Shoes; Agents for Achille Serre Ltd., Dyers and Cleaners".
54 High Street: Shwe Beauty. Old Town Stores. This shop previously housed a newsagents, confectioner and tobacconist for many years: The Bookstack, S and N Stationers, The Newsrack, and then Old Town Stores. In the 1960s it was occupied by Beard's Ladies Hairdressers, the address of which was advertised as "No. 1, Old Bakery, High Street", recalling the days when the shop was occupied by Martin’s Bakery. Beard’s advertisements urged ladies to ‘Let Beards redesign your hair’ and offered ‘permanent waving by skilled artists’, promising that ‘a visit to their exclusive salon will delight you’. Beard later moved his hairdressing business to 12 New Road where the building, which has been derelict for more than twenty years, still bears his sign.
At the end of the pedestrianized section of High Street are two 'pavilions' intended to act, depending on your direction of travel, either as a distinctive closing point of, or the entrance to the shopping precinct. Designed by Frederick Gibberd, they each contain 3-storey, 3-bedroom flats. Beyond them in High Street are:
The Wayre*: A mid-18th century house that was a V.A.D. (Voluntary Aid Detachment) hospital during the First War. It now serves as the Harlow Council day centre for the occupants of the 12 elderly persons bungalows in its grounds.
Marigolds*: An early 19th century facade on a late 17th / early 18th century house. The front door and case are possibly original.
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 was occupied by Lea's Drapery Shop, from 1955 to the mid- to late 1960s and then by Welford's.
9 High Street was 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.
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 - 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.
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.
37 High Street: This building is now incorporated into the Cross Keys Restaurant. Prior to the conversion in 2015 it had been 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. They were preceded by Dannielle's Beauty, Flickers video rental shop, an antique shop, a delicatessen and, until 1974, H. Muffett, purveyor of fish, poultry and game. Muffetts had previously traded out of a shop 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 Intercounty Lettings (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 current occupants of the block 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 George 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 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 Villa (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.
On the outside of the curve just before Mulberry Green are the Fire Engine House, built by John Perry-Watlington of Moor Hall in 1870, and the 1931 St. John Ambulance garage, built in memory of Dr. Charles Chalk who lived in what is now Mulberry Green House (see below). Funds for the building and maintenance of the ambulance station were raised at an annual August Carnival which was held from 1929 to 1939.
The cottage on the north-east corner of Mulberry Green occupies the site of The Green Garage. On the other side of the road is The Green Man* public house, a Grade II Listed, 14th century coaching inn.
West of the Green Man public house is the 16th century Old Forge, now occupied by Strettons Chartered Surveyors. Next is the large building now occupied by Gies, Wallis, Crisp Accountants, but formerly the home of Samuel Young, grocer, draper, milliner and gentleman's outfitter. By 1971 the grocery side of Young's business had been shut down, and the building occupied by Chapman's Hardware.
East of this range of buildings is the late 18th century Mulberry Green House, a Grade II* listed building. This provides an excellent example of how heritage conservation works in England. Originally occupied by doctors Day and then Newcombe, it had no name or number until 1947 when the Harlow Development Corporation gave it one. An arsonist set fire to it in April, 2000 and the building was gutted. The ruins remained untouched until 2007 while several redevelopment proposals were considered. A condition of the planning consent was that the building be "restored to its condition as first listed". In a strict sense this was impossible - a building almost completely destroyed by fire cannot be restored. But it has been rebuilt and now incorporates seven apartments. Ten houses (with 4 to 6 bedrooms each) have been built in the open ground behind the 'restored' house - in a yard last used in the 1990s by Harlow Council as their paper recycling facility. With some exaggeration the development as advertized by the developers as "Late 18th century with 19th century additions". The houses in the development sell for more than £750,000.
At the corner of Mulberry Green and Gilden Way is the old police station, built by John Perry-Watlington for the town in 1852. A new police station was built in London Road in 1908, and the old station converted to a residence.
Just west of the Old Police House, 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.
Millhurst*. 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 was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in action at Sindwaho, on 19 October 1858, during the Indian Mutiny when he was 22 years old. He died in the house in 1919. It was later the home of Mrs. D.J. Drake, a relative of Sir Francis Drake.
'Drake's Meadow', the adjoining gated estate of 4 large houses, was built in 1996 on land that previously formed part of the garden of Millhurst The development proposal was unsuccessfully opposed by Harlow Town Council and local residents.
Churchgate Street: East Side
1 Churchgate Street*: Meadham. This house was built in the early 17th century on the site of the old vicarage that was demolished after the suppression of the chantries in the late 16th century. It was encased in brick in the 19th century. It sold for £725,000 in 2015 and its current market value is estimated at £850,000.
7 Churchgate Street. A new house built in the former garden of Meadhams in 2018.
9. Hillsborough House.
13 Churchgate Street*. A house probably dating from ca. 1600
15 Churchgate Street*. Built ca. 1600. Refronted and rendered over with stucco, probably during the Georgian period, but the timber framing is exposed on the north side, in Mill Lane. By the 1880's it was Archbell's grocery and drapery shop. After one of the shop assistants by the name of Jacob married the owner's daughter it became Archbell and Jacob. The grocery side of the shop was closed down when Young's shop at Mulberry Green was taken over by new owners. The drapery shop closed 1936 and became an antique shop.
17 - 19 Churchgate Street*. Deeds for these buildings date from 1664. A sub-Post Office was operated here from 1894 to 2009. The original owners were Mr. and Mrs. French, parents of the two headmistresses of Fawbert and Barnard's School, located in London Road. The telephone kiosk in front of the shop is a Grade II Listed Structure. It's a model K6, designed in 1935 by Giles Gilbert Scott , grandson of Sir George Gilbert Scott, designer of the Anglican Cathedral in St. John's, Newfoundland, to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V. This was the first type of red telephone kiosk to be widely used in the U.K.
21 - 25 Churchgate Street*. A late 16th century range of tenements, timber-framed and rendered. The original 8 cottages were consolidated into 4 in the 1960s and enlarged by the addition of a range of new rooms built on to the back of the original structures. The ground floor of one cottage was removed to provide access to the large rear yards of the two central houses.
Churchgate Street: West Side
2 - 6 Churchgate Street*. Originally three early 19th century cottages, now converted to one dwelling.
Churchgate School*. Built in 1816 and enlarged in 1850 through a gift from John Perry-Watlington of Moor Hall. The school moved to new buildings in Hobbs Cross Road in 1971 and the 'Ex Church of England Churchgate Street School' was sold in 1973 subject to the condition that it not be used for more than 2 houses.
Godsafe*: A mid 16th century range with a jettied cross-wing on the south side. This was formerly the infant’s section of Churchgate Street School. The building was converted to 13 almshouses by Harlow’s Poor Charities in 1975 and renamed ‘Godsafe’. These new facilities took the place of Stafford’s, Reeve’s and Crabb’s almshouses, which were all converted to private residences.
St. Mary and St. Hugh. This church has mediaeval origins but was completely ‘restored’ between 1878 and 1880. Few original features survive. Some Roman brick is exposed and there is still one Norman window in the north-west bay of the nave wall. The lychgate dates from ca. 1880.
Stafford’s Almshouses. The inscription over the door reads: “Given by Julian made a bequest of £12 per annum, or which £5 was for the Church, £5 for distribution to the poor of Harlow and £1 for each of the two women in the almshouses. Life-sized marble statues of Alexander and his wife Julian can bed seen in the wall of the south transept of St. Mary and St. Hugh. The houses were sold to a private buyer in 1958 and rebuilt in 1974.
32 Churchgate Street: The Queen’s Head. Although some published sources indicate that the building dates from the 17th century, the date painted on the main beam (the bressumer) is 1515. It was recorded as being a pub with this name in 1715. A shop window was inserted under the second dormer from the north in the 19th century but otherwise it remains as originally built.
42-44 Churchgate Street. An 18th century range of houses.
The Churchgate Hotel*. Formerly The Chantry, built ca. 1600 on land that had formed the endowment of John of Staunton’s chantry in the parish church of St. Mary and St. Hugh. In 1615 it was bought by Alexander Stafford who built the almshouses in Churchgate street, and whose tomb is in the south transept of the church of St. Mary and St. Hugh. In 1855 it was bought by J.W. Perry-Watlington, the owner of Moor Hall. The timber-framed and plastered building, with a fine doorway and some other original features, has been, as they say, 'much altered'. The hotel declared bankruptcy in 2014 and the building was subsequently refurbished and converted to a boutique hotel as part of a land development project that led to the development of a group of houses in the former hotel garden.
Churchgate Court. Twelve 1-bedroom flats have been created during the recent conversion of a former large house, and houses have been built behind it.
London Road: East side
1 - 3 London Road: Auckland International Limited. Auckland, founded in 1984, sources obsolete and hard-to-find electronic components. It is the current occupant of a building with an early 18th century facade on an older frame. The building faces London Road but is structurally part of a range of buildings that faces High Street. The house had extensive grounds, including an orchard. From 1910 to 1923 it was Cattell's chemist's shop. It was then occupied by a series of banks: the Provincial, then the National Provincial and Union Bank of England. The bank closed in 1965 and the vacant building was then set on fire twice by arsonists before it was bought by Robert Mead Insurance Brokers in 1974 and occupied by his firm until August 2016.
Carlton Place. A new building, located in the former garden of 1-3 London Road, containing 12 'luxury' 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom flats. The flats are on the market in the spring of 2019 for $399,995.
Domino's Pizza. Harlow's first Post Office, opened in 1823, was located at 7-9 High Street. It then moved to number 1 High Street (Gothic House) in 1909 before relocating to this building in the 1920s. . By 2003 it had been downsized to a small office at the rear of this building, with the rest of the space occupied by an AllDays convenience store. In 2010 the post office relocated to the back of the Cooperative Store in High Street, and this building remained vacant for several years until it was taken over by Domino’s. Immediately south of the old Post Office, in Watford Close, is the original Telephone Exchange, which has been converted to a private residence.
Fawbert and Barnard's School. Built in 1836 on the basis of a bequest from George Fawbert of Waltham Cross. The executor of his will was John Barnard, a Harlow maltster.
London Road: West Side:
2 London Road: D 'n G Barbers. The Old Bank House was built ca. 1875. It may originally have been a branch of Sparrow, Rufnell and Co. of Bishop's Stortford, which was absorbed into Barclay's Bank in 1896. Prior to becoming a barber shop it was occupied by Charles Varney's Betting Office, Harlow's first travel agency, prior to its relocation to the Town Centre. It was then taken over by Joe Jennings Bookmaker, before the relocation of this business to High Street, and then by an estate agent.
Station Road: West Side
Oakwood Mews, consisting of 7 cottages and flats, was built in 2004 on the site of Darlington Motors, which moved to Edinburgh Way in the late 1990s. Arthur Sutton was the first motor engineer in Old Harlow, and he established his business here in 1914. He was succeeded in 1925 by Dearloves Garage and petrol station which also had workshops across the road. During the Second War the workshops were taken over by F.D. Products, which manufactured fish paste. In 2003 the workshop site was sold and Darlington Court was built on it.
In the mid 1950s E.C. Careless, ‘China and Hardware Stores: Any and Every Necessary Article For Your Home’ traded out of premises in a cottage at the end of a narrow alley known as The Dockyard, apparently because horses were brought here to have their tails docked. The cottages were demolished to make way for an extension to Darlington's premises. Select House now occupies part of the site.
Mulberry Green Estates. Originally a smithy, the building was converted in 1937 by Mr. Bayford to a butcher's shop with a flat on the first floor. In 2003 the flat was converted to commercial premises occupied by P.J. Conveyancing Services. Previous occupants of the ground floor were: Kent and Brown's Turf Accountants; then Geoffrey Matthew Estate Agents, prior to their relocation to High Street; then Caroline Mitchell Hairdressers; and since 2010 by Mulberry Green Estate Agents whose postal address is 'Bayford Shop, Old Harlow'.Bayford Shop.
Evans Garage is the successor to the builder's yard of S.C. Aldridge and, before that, the yard of The George.
Station Road: East side
Zenz Oriental Restaurant occupies the premises formerly occupied by the short-lived Snappers Wine Bar. The original occupant of the two-storey part of the building, which was built ca. 1890, was the London Co-Operative Society store, prior to its relocation to High Street. Part of the building served as the office for a short-lived newspaper called The People's News. The paper folded in 1909 and part of the building was converted to a lodging house called 'The Welcome'. The newspaper’s press room was converted to an antique shop before being taken over in 1911 by the London County and Westminster Bank, later the National Westminster Bank.
Darlington Court. This development of twelve bedroom flats was built in 2003 on a site which was formerly part of Darlington's Garage, which was the successor to Dearlove's Garage which took over from Sutton's Garage. The 1898 Kelly's Directory lists Arthur Sutton as a coachbuilder and wheelwright. In 1922, when he last appeared in the directory, he advertised himself as a coachbuilder and motor engineer. There were shops off the forecourt of the garage. One was occupied by Hefferden the barber. He was succeeded in 1922 by Ashwells Jewellers of Bishop's Stortford, which later moved into High Street and the other by Foot the confectioner.
This photo shows this stretch of Station Road in 1910. In the left foreground is Rochester's Greengrocery who boasted that it could provide wreaths and crosses at shortest notice. Next is Brazier's Harlow Toilet Salon, and then the entrance to Arthur Sutton's Garage. Next is the building which housed the Cooperative Store and then 'The Welcome'. Beyond that is 'Gothic House' on the corner of High Street.
'Faircotes' and 'Fairfield': Wilson Davies and Company, Solicitors, occupy what were formerly two semi-detached, three-storey houses. 'Fairfield' was occupied by the Dearlove family, owners of the adjacent garage, and then by Peggy's Ladies Hairdressers. The most well-known occupant of 'Faircotes' was Herbert Mace a highly-respected apiarist who was the author of several books on beekeeping and editor of The Beekeepers Annual.
Barclay's Bank*: An 18th century house, occupied by the only bank maintaining a presence in Old Harlow. This bank was originally located in the Old Bank House in London Road, but moved to these newly-built premises in 1911.
Masterson Funeral Home. This black and white 'Tudor' style building was originally a house built by a house agent from Bishop's Stortford. It was then the first site of Lloyd's Bank in Harlow. After the bank moved to High Street the building remained disused for approximately 20 years until 2004 when it became a funeral home. Jerome Masterson, the proprietor, is also one of the publicans of The Crown in Market Street.
Beyond the last of the houses in Station Road, one of which was a doctor's surgery, was a row of ten shops built after 1921. In the 1930s one was occupied by the ironmonger Herbert O. Lee and Co. which were 'General and Furnishing Ironmongers, Oil and Colour Merchants; and provided 'Cutlery and Tools, Guns and Ammunition, Lamps, Oil Heating and Cooking Stoves'. At various times there was also an antique dealer, Cornwall Austin's sweet shop, a café, an Employment Exchange, Peggy's Hairdressers and Sworder's Estate Agents. The shops were demolished to make way for the Swallows Estate, but the houses remained until 2010 when the area was cleared. It now contains the 43 houses and flats of Vince Dunn Mews. The estate was named in honour of the long-time publican of The Marquis of Granby in Market Street, who served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Memorial University of Newfoundland campus in Market Street for many years.