Lorchy Blane? That was how I knew Lordship Lane when I was 4 years old in 1923. I can clearly remember being wheeled along in a push chair with the rain pattering down on the hood on one of the many weekly shopping expeditions. There was no traffic apart from the occasional horse and cart of some local trader or a coal merchant on his way to make a delivery. I remember the sound of the rattle and bang of an electric tram bouncing on its way to Forest Hill.
There were no supermarkets in those days. The nearest approach to a supermarket was David Greig's at numbers 145-153. I am not sure, but I think the name is still on the tiled entry to one of the shops. One went to the right-hand counter for bacon and ham, which was sliced on a lovely hand-operated bacon-slicer which could be adjusted for thickness of slice and went "Kersway, kersway,kersway, kersway" as the handle was turned and the slices cut. When the right amount was cut, it was wrapped by the operator who then gave you a bill with the cost marked on it. You then took this to the very posh mahogany cash desk with a big clock above it. The cashier took the money and receipted the bill and you returned with this to the bacon counter to receive the wrapped bacon. The left-hand counter was for sugar, biscuits etc., and the same procedure was followed. Sugar was kept loose in big red bins and shovelled out as required. I have one of these bins at home.
A few yards further on was Piper's, a more comprehensive grocer. This was on the corner of Hansler Road. Many of the old names were still around until fairly recently. Shinkfield has had several different shops in Lordship Lane from time to time. Opposite what is now Somerfields (formerly Whybrow's radio shop) was a large ladies' wear emporium comprising about four shops knocked into one. This was Trundle's which sold millinery and lingerie. It had a fascinating cash collecting system whereby, the cash and the bill were put in a screw-capped wooden container which whizzed along overhead wires to the cashier and was returned with your change.
Between Trundle's and Goose Green was a large greengrocer's which was there until recently and almost opposite was Redgewell's which was a very good butcher's. Recently this was opened as a restaurant and upon restoring the shop front the name Redgewell was exposed in large gold leaf lettering. It was decided to keep the name for the new restaurant.
Going south from here there were many assorted businesses including three branches of Curtis Brothers and Dumbrill, the predecessors of the United Dairies, which eventually became Unigate after merging with Cow & Gate Dairies. On the corner of Bassano Street was the Champion Hill Steam Laundry. This had a huge boiler in Bassano Street where I spent many happy moments watching and listening to the steam!
Crossing Lordship Lane and continuing south at 263/5 was Mr. Marsland's South London School with a classroom in the back garden. This was my class for a short while. It is still there as a dwelling with the entrance in Heber Road. Beyond this were residential properties until the shopping complex around the Plough P.H. was reached. This area was badly bombed in WWll but has not basically changed much except for the 'new' St. Thomas More R.C. church, and from there onwards was housing until the junction with Court Lane where there was a Fire Station where the telephone exchange now stands. On the site of Bew Court flats stood no. 508, this was Marsland's South London Preparatory School, a large dilapidated house, of which I have pleasant memories of slaving away in the first floor front room on a hot summer's day with the sound of the trams gliding down the hill with the soothing "toc, toc, toc" sound of the current collector clicking over the joints in the live rail in the slot beneath the road surface.
Beyond was the Grove Tavern and then St. Peter's church, which had a pleasant country-sounding clock chime, now, sadly, disused. To conclude this interesting street was the railway bridge just before the Horniman Museum where there was also Lordship Lane station, on the branch line from New Cross to Crystal Palace High Level station on the Parade.