Monday, 15 February 2010

A. Spicknell, fruiterer and greengrocer, Anerley

When I look for some information about the businesses or products advertised on painted signs, I sometimes make some strange discoveries. This morning I came across Mr Thomas William Beach, whose strawberries earnt him several prizes at Covent Garden, the Chiswick Horticultural Society and the 1851 Great Exhibition. But these were not any strawberries: they were real monster strawberries! It is said that some of his fruits of the British Queen variety weighed in at four onces (that is slightly more than 110 grams). The original small business of orchards and fruit fields planted along the Brent River in Heston expanded throughout the second half of the nineteenth century and by 1902, the year Beach died, TW Beach & Sons had become a major manufacturer of jams and bottled fruits. An article about Mr Beach and his fruits written by Janet McNamara was published in the ninth issue (2000) of the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal. It is also available online.
One amusing fact I learnt was that at the rear of his factory on Ealing Road, T. W. Beach opened a theatre. The intention was not only to offer some entertainment to his employees but also (mainly, I would imagine) to keep them away from the local pubs. Entrance cost either one penny, or two empty jam jars. Next time, rather than putting mine into the recycling bin, I'll bring them to the West End. I wonder how many theatres will let me in...?
T. W. Beach's jams and bottled fruits could be found in many places, including Whiteleys department store in Bayswater, where they were amongst the most expensive jams on offer, or the slightly less prestigious shop of A. Spicknell in Anerley.

A. Spicknell
Fruiterer & Greengrocer
Agent For
Beach Unrivalled Bottled Fruits
& Prize Medal Whole Fruit Jams.

At least two more signs were painted on this wall. However only a few words and letters can be spotted here and there. It is a bit tricky to say which one belongs to which. Here is what I could make of it (the "/" indicates they are on the same line):
S. C. Du...
Auction Valuer / ...edd... Manufacturer
... ...ouse Agents

Location: Anerley Road / Picture taken on: 17/06/2008

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