PREPOSTEROUS PRESENTS

In the days of Schram & Scheddle the first floor room over the shop with three tall windows overlooking Upper Street was a workroom where up to twenty five tailors made garments. When the floorboards were taken up  to renew the electrical installation in 1996 there was evidence of those days in the form of thousands of rusty straight pins, discarded reels of cotton and several thimbles, one with the end completely worn away.

Also under the floorboards of this room were discovered the wires and pulleys of a servant’s communication system which connected to the basement where the range and kitchen were located. The range was boxed in before I uncovered it in 1996 and I found various Victorian saucepans wrapped in 1929 pages from the Times newspaper. I retained the range which bears the inscription R.H & J Pearson, Notting Hill.

Other items of interest were:

1.   Two faded postcards posted on 5th & 10th August 1909 (this pre- dates Schram &       Scheddle) sent to Miss J. James,  Beulah Cottage, Park Lane, Newington Green bearing a   half penny Edward V11 postage stamp.(Clissold Crescent is now where Park Lane was).

One of them was from M. Bailey of 390, St. John Street E.C asking Miss James if she had received her Kisibau and if she had, requesting payment of 1s/8d.

2.  A 1d. tram ticket bearing an advert for Home & Colonial table jelly and custard powder at 2d. a pint packet advertised under the banner of ‘Dainty Dishes for the summer, blancmange & stewed fruit.’ The Home & Colonial was located in Upper Street and was a multiple grocer which in its day was a rival of  Sainsburys.

3.  An undated card showing a coat of arms and the message ‘To greete ye righte hearttilie and most merrile.

4.  Several Players Weights cigarette packets which were packets of 10 and labelled ‘The Original, made from pure Virginia tobacco.’ A customer in the shop was very interested in the old Weights packet and said that soldiers fighting in the second world war would only smoke Weights cigarettes because the letters from the word Weights stood for ‘When England Invades Germany Hitler’s Troops Surrender.

5.  A number of enrolment forms for the Wireless League of 116, Fleet Street London E.C.4 with a special offer to join the league as a founding member for one shilling instead of the usual two shillings but the forms were undated. On the reverse of the form it stated ‘This is Your League – to be conducted and controlled by you in Your interests. Read what the Wireless League means to the future of wireless as it concerns you.

6.  An advertisement for the Burham Safety Razor Co. of 64-66, Murray Street, New York U.S.A with a special selling point of ‘No strop necessary – strop on hand.’

7.  Several incomplete pages from the Daily Chronicle and Clerkenwell News and the Daily News with dates in the early 1870’s. The Daily News of 26th December 1871 carried an article entitled ‘Workhouse Christmas Depravity’ and had advertisements for a ‘Hole proof corset’ for 4s/8d described as ‘The Acme of Freedom and Comfort,’ and Doan’s Backache Kidney Pills for 2s/9d a box.

8.  A corner fragment of a leaflet for the famous Rackstraws drapery store which occupied premises at 208-213, Upper Street. The leaflet separately listed 208,209, 210, 211, 212 but is torn off before it gets to 213. Under these numbers are another row of smaller numbers 27, 39, 41, 43, 45, 47, 49, 5? And the rest is missing so I don’t know what these referred to. No doubt someone will be interested in finding the answer.

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