“History of Shops” is a new research project about the shops and other businesses of Herne Hill, London SE24.

As the project builds during 2024 and beyond, more detailed descriptions of local shops and past proprietors, enhanced by photographs and other historic images, will become available. You will be able to scan a QR code at each shop – or browse this website – to discover its history.

Copyright notice: if you wish to reuse or repost any of the texts or images on this website, please contact us first (see below).

Comments are welcome. Feedback on the project can be made using our Contact Us form.

317 Railton Road

This shop is currently home to Lark. It was at first a tobacconist and later a fishmonger’s. n 1871 Octavius Down was a clerk “out of employment”, working as a tobacconist at 317 Railton Road (called Station Road at that time). He lived there for nearly 10 years with his wife Frances and their five…

139 Half Moon Lane

This shop is currently home to Splash (Dry Cleaners). The first mention of this shop is in 1910, when it was a bakery run by James Swan. Born in Scotland in 1875, James Swan lived above the shop with his wife Christina, their children and Christina’s brother, William Steen, also a baker. James had been…

220 Railton Road

This shop is currently home to Sharp Works. It was built by 1870 as part of Commercial Terrace – like the other eight houses in the terrace it was not used initially as a shop but solely as a residence. But by 1900 it had become a shop, the first shopkeeper being Alfred J. Furness,…

232-234 Railton Road

Today, this is the home of Brockwell Art Services. These were originally two shops and built with two storeys above for accommodation for the shopkeepers and their families. Damaged in World War II, the two houses never regained their upper storeys. They were built in about 1885 and started life as Nos 7 and 9…

Herne Hill Books at 289 Railton Rd, Herne Hill

289 Railton Road

This shop is currently home to Herne Hill Books. Today, it is an independent bookshop… but over its lifetime this premises has served many purposes, and for many years was a tobacconist’s. It was originally known as 25 Lett Street, but following street re-numbering in 1888 became 289 Railton Road. Lett Street comprised the stretch…

297 Railton Road

This shop is currently home to The Flower Lady. Today it is a flower shop, but it was for many years a coal merchant’s office. Whether the building standing on this site today is the very same that stood there in 1880, the first mention in a directory, is open to question. It is clear…