Monday, 7 December 2009

Alf. The Purse King, Stoke Newington

Stoke Newington Church Street is home to an incredible concentration of ghost signs, one of which has already been presented on this blog. If several of these painted signs advertized well-known products, there's one that displays a more intriguing name: Alf. The Purse King (click on the picture for an enlarged version).

The left-hand side reads
Alf. The Purse King. Reg
A. Rubinstein- &
The right-hand side reads
Leather Goods
Purses, Pouches, Hand Bags, Wallets, &c.
Also At 8 Kimberley Terrace, Gt. Yarmouth
In the phone number, Dal stood for Dalston.

Unfortunately searching the web doesn't throw much light about the London side of this business. In Great Yarmouth however, Alf the Purse King seems to be still in business, but at a new address in Regent Road. On another website, a page about the town's market written in 2007 mentions that
Up until recently, one of the bag stalls on the market belonged to 'Alf the Purse King', who had seemed to go on forever until his recent death.
Back in London, the only information I could find is about the late 18th century house built of yellow bricks the sign is painted on as no. 89 is grade II listed and as such appears on the Images of England database. The building is also mentioned a couple of times, including to say that by the 1980s it was in a very dilapidated state, in The History of the County of Middlesex (Volume 8) edited by T F T Baker and C R Elrington. This seminal work includes a fascinating account of the development of Stoke Newington Church Street from the late Middle Ages until the early 1980s.

Location: Stoke Newington Church Street / Picture taken on: 10/04/2008

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