Shops in Warwick Street in 1905

The postcard was sent to Lolo Jacquillard of 32, Rue Poncelet, Paris in December 1905
The postcard was sent to Lolo Jacquillard of 32, Rue Poncelet, Paris in December 1905

The reason there is writing on the front of this postcard – sent to Lolo Jacquillard of 32, Rue Poncelet, Paris in December 1905 – is that at that time the backs of postcards sent to most foreign countries still had to be entirely reserved for the recipient’s address.

Alys, the sender, tells Lolo that it was very kind of her to send some books, and thanks her also for a pretty postcard – but reports than the weather is very disagreeable, with fog every day.

However Sunny Worthing was not the location at fault, because the card was posted (and therefore presumably written) in Maidenhead in Berkshire.

Most of the buildings seen here are recognisable today, but Warwick Street – now pedestrianised – was generally full of traffic 111 years ago.

Its near-emptiness here is due to the fact that the photograph was almost certainly taken early in the morning.

The functions of most of the shops are more fully revealed under magnification and by reference to the 1905 edition of Kelly’s Directory.

The shop on the far left – today the Craft Tea Gift Shop – was that of George Staples, whose hanging board describes him as “Picture Frame Maker” and “Artists Colourman”.

An artists’ colourman was a paint-maker. (The Tate Gallery has in its collection a notable painting of around 1807 by J. M. W. Turner entitled ‘An Artists’ Colourman’s Workshop’, which shows the colourman grinding red pigment into oil.)

Next came the Queen’s Café and Bakery, owned by Arthur Claypoole. Today, still an eating-place, it is the Continental Restaurant.

Just visible above the next shop but one are the pawnbroker’s balls over the entrance to the premises of William Alfred Bezant, now County Interiors.

The building nearest the camera on the south side of the street, which at that time housed Bostel Bros, is today the eastern end of the Vintner’s Parrot pub. Although the sign above the shop-door has “Electricians etc.”, Bostel Bros are described in the 1905 directory as builders and decorators.

On the other side of the entrance to Bedford Row is Palmer & Son’s Pianoforte and Music Warehouse, now occupied by Jeremy Silverthorne Fine Jewellery

Next, where Nonna’s Kitchen is today, came Alfred B. Trotter’s Art Needlework Depot.

Art needlework was a type of embroidery that became popular in the later 19th century under the influence of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites, and the Arts and Crafts Movement – and evidently had adherents in Worthing.

Under magnification it can be seen that the shop-sign in the middle distance, just above the two men on the pavement, reads “Steel & Co, Hairdressers and Chiropodists” – while, according to the 1905 directory, the shop beyond was that of William Tappenden, “Gents’ Hosier and Outfitter”.

These two premises are now, respectively, the Pomodoro e Mozzarella restaurant and the Glorious Spa Company.