History: Caroline MacMillan – Life in Cardross Street in 1928

History: Caroline MacMillan – Life in Cardross Street in 1928

The splendid article about Elsie Paine in the September issue made me wonder what life was like when she was born in Cardross Street in 1928. The area had been open fields, orchards and market gardens until the 1850s but the arrival of the railway at Hammersmith ten years later changed all that and by 1890 the area from King Street to Goldhawk Road was completely built over. One of the first roads completed early in the 1870s was Cardross Street and the occupants would have been working class families, the men employed in local industries. It was originally called Rose Gardens and many of the cottagy terraced houses still have sweet smelling rose bushes in their front gardens.

Elsie mentions her Nan had seven children but large families were on the decline – women in the late 19th century gave birth on average to 4.6 children during their lifetime but fifty years later this had fallen to 2.19. Candles and oil lamps still lightened dark evenings as few houses had electricity, gas remained the main domestic fuel and many homes cooked food on a coal stove.

With no refrigeration, food was bought on a daily basis and Brackenbury Road was the village centre with a fishmonger, dairy, couple of grocers, baker, greengrocer, butcher, chemist, newsagent, boot maker and oilman whilst Joseph Horsnell who lived at 2 Cardross Street ran his farrier business from the address – this is the blacksmith Elsie remembers shoeing horses – whilst several houses are recorded as taking in laundry.

Charles Morse, cow keeper and dairyman of Bradmore Farm at Glenthorne Road supplied many of the local houses with fresh milk each day. A Sunday roast joint would last for days, meat being eaten cold on Monday, turned into rissoles Tuesday and the rest in a stew which lasted for several days. Vegetable soups contained what was plentiful on the day whilst Pig’s Fry was a grand name for tripe and onions. A cookery book of the time includes a recipe for sheep’s head soup and the exotic sounding “Entente Pudding”, the ingredients being one pack of tangerine jelly and a pint of custard made from powder.

Working men returned home for their midday meal whilst those who did not ate plain food in chophouses. As a young lady Elsie would have been familiar with Lyons Corner Houses which served reliable meals in clean and attractive surroundings, their waitresses wore smart black and white uniforms and were known as ‘nippies’. During the 1920s the first sandwich bars opened in Hammersmith, one advertising “no shellfish, no tinned food, no foreign produce, no tips, no waiting”.

This was pre NHS days so the rich paid into private insurance and friendly societies, doctors ran schemes for their less well off patients who contributed a small sum each week for medical cover whilst those who could not afford this turned to charitable institutions.

The most usual cause of death for adults was heart or circulatory diseases and measles and diphtheria the dreaded killers for children. Boys and girls were obliged to attend school between the age of 5 and 11, this being increased to 14 years in 1908. For girls work ‘in service’ was being replaced with shop and office opportunities whilst boys could find jobs in factories or be apprenticed into various trades.

It was safe for children to play in the streets as there were few cars, card games and sing songs round the piano were enjoyed in the evenings and if there were pennies to spare than a trip to one of the new picture houses in King Street. The band stand in nearby Ravenscourt Park provided free entertainment and watching the Boat Race at Hammersmith was an annual favourite.

Elsie has seen so many changes in her life time but one thing remains constant, the charming houses of Cardross Street and surrounding roads continue to be home to families who love living in this part of West London.

If you enjoyed reading this article please share it with friends.
You are welcome to join me Caroline MacMillan on my local walks: www.westlondonwalks.co.uk

© Caroline MacMillan
September 2015.

Read about Elsie Paine

About Editor

Online editor at Keep Things Local

KEEP THINGS LOCAL IS A MEDIA BUSINESS WITH A UNIQUE LOCAL FOCUS

The company publishes four flagship magazines (Chelsea Locals, Chiswick Locals, Richmond Locals and Hammersmith Locals) with more launches planned in London and across the UK. The prime focus of each of these quarterly magazines is to showcase and support the independent traders and small businesses who do so much to give these areas their individual retail character and community spirit. This is achieved through dedicated advertorials which are written, designed and photographed by an experienced team lead by Neil McKelvie.

In every issue, these advertorials are complemented by feature articles which turn the spotlight on different aspects of neighbourhood life and interviews with notable local figures.In addition to appearing in the magazines, every advertorial is also published in the Keep Things Local newsletters, on the website and on social media. Get in touch to be featured in our Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring issues.

Meet the Locals

Newsletter

Receive offers and news