1 Fore Street*
The Gables is a mediaeval hall house built around 1500 The cross-wing on the east end has a 17th century oriel woindow (more recently re-glazed) on the first floor where the best rooms were, facing London Road. An original door, now blocked but still visible, gave access from Fore Street to a shop which housed a bakery in the 1840s. The cross wing on the west end was added ca. 1600 and strangely has no internal connection with the rest of the building.The whole structure was 'Georgianized' in the 18th century, the roof was raised and the interior arrangement of rooms changed. The present front door was the mediaeval entrance to the cross-passage.
At the turn of the 19th century, part of the building was occupied by the offices of the Water Works. During the 1940s, Rhoda's Snack Bar was located here. The Gables Restaurant occupied most of the building from some time in the 1970s until 2015. Undoubtedly one of the more memorable events it hosted was the Arsenal football club’s celebration of its 1979 FA Cup victory. The building is now occupied by Geoffrey Matthews Estates, which moved here from its previous location in High Street in 2015.
The west wing was reorganized in the 19th century to accommodate a shop. From the 1930s until the mid 1950's it was occupied by A. Goodwin's Harlow Electrical Installations. He advertised: 'Complete systems installed for lighting. Bells, power, heating, lighting repairs and renewals speedily executed'. He was succeeded by David C. Evans, Electrical Engineer. Since 1990 it has been the premises of Graham Rogers, jeweller and goldsmith. He is a member of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, one of the 12 great Livery Companies of London, which received its first Royal Charter in 1327, and is still responsible for the issuance of hallmarks on gold, silver and platinum.
The appearance of the building has changed over the years. The 1910 image shows the building rendered with stucco in the traditional manner. By the time the lease was renewed in 1917 this ancient method of protecting the structural timbers had become unfashionable. The new lessee wanted to expose the main timbers and the stucco was removed, leaving the exposed timbers subject to deterioration.
Seeley's. This modern housing estate occupies the site formerly occupied by Chaplin's Brewery and the Brewery House. Thomas Chaplin operated breweries in Essex between 1848 and 1926. The Fore Street brewery and the adjacent house were built in 1897. The chimney of the engine house, which powered the brewery’s water pump, is a prominent feature in many old photographs. By the late 1920s the brewery had been abandoned and the buildings were taken over by Windowlite, manufacturers of a type of plastic sheeting reinforced with wire mesh that was much used in greenhouses. During the Second World War it was being used to replace windows in some of London's bombed-out houses. Brewery House survived until the development of the Seeleys neighbourhood in 1965. The Seeley family owned a large house beside the brewery, facing London Road. After that family moved on the building was converted to offices and occupied by the Ministry of Labour. It was demolished in 1965 to make way for the new houses of the estate which was named in honour of the family.
17 Fore Street*
A late-Georgian (ca. 1840) house and shop formerly known as Gresham Villa. The shop front is probably original. Kelly's Directory indicates that a saddlers and harness makers was located in Fore Street from the 1870's until 1933 - the most recent edition available to the author. John Thomas Mumford was the first (1978-1898), then William Malcolm Thomas (1922) and finally Joseph Young (1933). There are very few places where these saddlers could have traded in Fore Street, and it was most likely here. In 1956 there were still two occupants of this building - Mrs. M. Young at No. 17 and Gresham Villa at No. 19. The two units were integrated, probably in the 1980s. For many years this has been the home of Joan Lloyd, manager of the MUN Harlow Campus in the 1970s, and her husband David, author of The Making Of The English Town, a wonderful book which I used as a course text for many years.
21 Fore Street*
Orchard Cottage is a 16th century timber-framed cottage. Note the frame of the small original window just to the left of the door. The rest of the windows are later additions. A photo taken ca. 1960 shows that the timber frame was rendered over and the window was hidden. The exposed timbers are now protected by beeswax. The extent to which the level of Fore Street has risen over the years is shown by the level of the door sill.
23 and 25 Fore Street*
Two brick cottages, dated 1835. From 1896 until 1979, #23 was the shop and #25 (now known as 'Ashton') the house of the Collins family which established a wheelwright and coach building business in the High Street in 1816, before moving to Fore Street in 1896. Three generations of the men in this family ran Collin's Cycle shop., selling Raleigh, B.S.A. and Royal Enfield cycles and motorcycles. They later diversified into automobile repairs and the sale of petrol. Theirs was the first house in Harlow to be provided with electricity supplied by a gasoline-powered generator.
The bicycles collected by Mr. Collins were sold to the Harlow Town Council in 1978 and are now in the Museum of Harlow, housed in the former Mark Hall stable block.
Baptist Chapel: Rebuilt in 1865 to replace an older chapel built in 1764.