PENARTH BACK IN TIME 8: 1902 BOER WAR, OIL LAMPS & DISASTER

Coal scuttles hang above the entrance, There are birdcages and Boer War pictures displayed on the left hand window along with fire-irons and paraffin lamps in the window opposte. But where is it?

Mr Frederick David Hill poses in the doorway of his Penarth ironmonger’s shop in around 1902. Coal scuttles hang above the entrance,  bird-cages and Boer War memorabilia and fire irons are displayed in the left window  and paraffin lamps in the window opposite….and now thanks to direct descendant Brian Hope, we know  the shop  was probably on the corner of Glebe St and Plassey St

On PDN this morning we said we had this  picture of an ironmonger’s shop thought to be taken somewhere Penarth  around the turn of the century – but until today it had eluded all attempts to pin down the location and the person in the picture….well not anymore.

.The photograph is amongst a small set of original images submitted to PDN by an anonymous source with no location details or dates. This morning, within two hours of putting the photo on line, we’ve received the following information from a direct descendant of the ironmonger Mr Brian Hope :-

YEs, this is a photo of my Grandfather, Frederick David Hill. … I have the original photo. The shop was located on the corner of Glebe st. And what I think is Plassey St. If not Plassey St. It is the next st. Upper Glebe St. I think it might have been next door to what was later a Chinese laundry. Frederick Davis Hill was born around 1870 and moved from Wisbech …I think Norfolk……to become an electrician building the Great Western Railway in Cardiff. He had five children , the second youngest being my Mother Barbara who married Ray Hope. Barbara only died only 6 years ago aged 96. My Grandfather died aged 84 and is buried in Penarth cemetery”

BOER WAR : The detail isn’t very clear but the portraits displayed in the left hand window of the 1902 shop seem to relate to the Boer War –  the conflict between the British Empire and the Boers (the combined forces of the South African Republic and the Republic of the Orange Free State).

The Boer Republics declared war on 11th October 1899 and after two years and seven months of fierce  fighting the British forces were victorious and annexed both republics . In 1910 both were incorporated into the Union of South Africa .

There was certainly Penarth involvement in the Boer War and a special “Penarth” Medal was struck by Penarth District Council to celebrate the end of the fighting . The medal  bore the “three bears” emblem of Penarth on its reverse side.

Another example of the Penarth Boer War medal - which seems to have been issued by Penarth Urban District Council

The Penarth Boer War medal – which bears the “three bears” insignia of Penarth Urban District Council on the obverse side

It seems likely that Mr Frederick Davis Hill,  the ironmonger in the top photo , was  photographed in 1902 – an era when running an ironmonger’s shop seems to have been a challenge for many.

Two other ironmongers  at 19 Windsor Road run by Thomas King and another at Andrews’s Buildings in Stanwell Road run by John Phillips both went bust. Phillips blamed his failure on  “losses on accommodation bills, bad debts” and “loss of trade in consequence of the strike of labourers, masons, and carpenters at Barry Dock”.

OIL LAMPS : Also of interest is the display of oil lamps in the right-hand window. Readers with long memories will remember that traditional ironmongers’ shops had a distinctive smell about them – particularly of paraffin which, well into the 1950s,  was sold “loose” as  fuel for domestic oil lamps.

Electricity didn’t arrive in Penarth until 1898 and the vast majority of homes would still be lit by gas  or – more likely – by paraffin lamps until well into the 1920s. The story of the arrival of the Penarth Electric Lighting Company in Penarth – just before the turn of the last century-  is on  http://tinyurl.com/za5pyqe

DISASTER STRIKES

On October 23rd 1902 Mr Hill's inronmonger's shop was destroyed by fire

On October 23rd 1902 Mr Hill’s inronmonger’s shop was destroyed by fire

Little was Mr Hill to know when he posed for the picture at the top of the page that his shop would be destroyed by fire before the end of the year . The Barry Dock News reported that on October 23rd 1902 his shop was “burnt out” and three adjoining premises were damaged . The estimated loss was £4,000 .

Penarth's brand new 1902 Merryweather Steam Fire Engine - fuelled by paraffin.

Penarth’s brand new 1902 Merryweather steam-propelled and steam-pump Fire Engine – was fuelled by paraffin. The fire at Mr Hill’s ironmonger’s shop was the first it had ever tackled .

The blaze was the first to be tacked by Penarth’s brand new steam-powered Merryweather  fire engine which is reported to have “rendered good service”.

However the fire engine turned out to be a bit of beast to handle on the road. Later one of the firemen, Jonathan Meazey, was injured when the fire-engine failed to negotiate a bend on Cornerswell Road and overturned.

About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time.
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5 Responses to PENARTH BACK IN TIME 8: 1902 BOER WAR, OIL LAMPS & DISASTER

  1. Brian Hope says:

    YEs, this is a photo of my Grandfather, Frederick David Hill. … I have the original photo. THe shop was located on the corner of Glebe st. And what I think is Plassey st. IF not Plassy St. It is the next st. Up Glebe st. I think it might have been next door to What was later a Chinese launders. FRederick Davis Hill Was born around eighteen sevevnty and moved from Wisbech …I think Norfolk……to become an electrician building the Greaat Western Railway in Cardiff. HE had five children , the second youngest being my Mother Barbara who married Ray Hope. BArbara only died only six years ago aged ninety six. My Grandfather died aged eighty four and is buried in Penarth cemetery. … PLease contact if more info. Needed. My e mail no. Is.. brimaghope@hotmail.com Regards……Brian Hope.

  2. May I say how much I am enjoying this series from PDN. The corner of Plassey & Glebe Streets where Peter Wood Estate Agents now stands would seem to be the place. Personally I always remember this as the location of The Wool Shop – which indeed did have CONCORDE CLEANERS next door, further up Glebe St.

    • Andrew Davies says:

      The Concorde Cleaners was not a Chinese laundry, but the Lee Wah Chinese laundry located next to Plassey Street fish shop is the prime candidate. There was also a Chinese laundry on Plassey Street next to Tabernacle.

      • Thanks for that Andrew, I realize that during my lifetime Concorde was not a chinese cleaners, but had thought that it may have sprung or developed from one. Nevertheless, it is always interesting to find out more about Penarth History. I have always enjoyed local history and was lucky enough to have been taught by Mr Roy Thorne at Albert Road School when his book of historic pictures was released in 1976 or thereabouts.

    • Martin gossage says:

      Yes that seems correct with the angle of the street and the angles tiling accordingly .I thought launderette but street is flat

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