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

As the project builds during 2024 and beyond, in-depth descriptions of more than 70 shops and their proprietors since the 19th century, with historic photographs and other images, will be available on this website. Customers will be able to scan a QR code at each participating shop, or browse this website from home, to find out about its history.

Copyright notice to come

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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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…