MAPLE ROAD MARKET

The handcarts are now gone, as is the sales patter of the market stallholders…

“The traders are tough and pleasant and nearly always cheerful,” Doris Pullen wrote in her 1990 book about Penge.

As well as the street market, the pubs on Maple Road are also a thing of the past, other than The Maple Tree further up towards Betts Park. (The final segment used to be a stationery shop. Who knew?) 

The Golden Lion opposite, which closed its doors in 2016, is now converted into flats.

Imagine Maple Road 150 years ago… I wonder if E. Juniper, boot & shoemaker, passed the time of day with Thomas Downer, cowkeeper & dairyman; or perhaps either or none chatted to F.W. Young, the furniture broker, about the price of beeswax.

Elsewhere on the street now home to the Blue Belle, did Henry Nest the chemist tip his hat to Mrs H.M. Taylor, she of the milliner and dressmakers?*

Closer to the present day, this YouTube clip from the 1980s gives a snapshot of a typical market day, a blustery one judging by the overcoats worn by punters queuing at the fruit & veg and fish stalls.

The footage includes a Ford Cortina and the number 12 Routemaster bus. (If you have an issue with clowns, avoid the sinister moving one in a shop window about 5 minutes in.)

Attempts a few years back to revive a Saturday market on Maple Road didn’t last, alas … but who knows what the future holds?

(*A list from Aspinalls Directory 1867 appears in Pullen’s book.)

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