Outside Christ Church – a Mainly Pictorial History

Christ Church was built during the second half of the 1850s to serve the recently started Cubitt Town development. At the time of its construction, there were only a few houses in the area: along Church Street, which connected Manchester Road to Stebondale street, and along Manchester Road itself. The church and the nearby Newcastle Arms must have been quite empty in the early years of Cubitt Town.


Seven years later there were far more houses in the southern half of Cubitt Town. The junction of Church Street and Manchester Road – the subject of this article – would remain pretty much unchanged for the next seventy years, until the start of The Blitz.


In the 1900s, the premises on both sides of Manchester Road south of the church were shops.


North of the church there were shops and houses on the west side, and the vicarage on the east side.


In 1891, Church Street became part of Newcastle Street, which before then ran from Manchester Road to Newcastle Draw Dock.


Shops on the west side of Manchester Road during the 1900s included:

No. 153. Chandler’s Shop, Mrs. Lamont
No. 155. Greengrocer, Ernest May
No. 157. Bootmaker, Thomas Smith
No. 159. Newsagent’s, Alfred Morgan
No. 161. Laundry
No. 163. Confectioner, Ellen & Alice Dack
No. 165. Butcher, Arthur Partridge

And on the other side of the road:

No. 146. Butcher, Henry Thorn
No. 148. Toy Dealer, Samuel Spencer
No. 154. Dairy, Thomas Wakeling
No. 156. Fried Fish, Frederick Farrow

1910s. Newcastle Street (section leading to river), looking towards Manchester Road and the rest of Newcastle Street. Photo: Tony Clary.

Circa 1920. Manchester Road, opposite Christ Church on the corner of Newcastle Street. Clary’s Bicycle Repair and Gramophone Shop. (Photo: Tony Clary)

1929. Newcastle Street. Photo: Phyllis Holdstock

Newcastle Street was itself renamed Glengarnock Avenue in 1937, around the time that the following photo of the street was taken (view from Manchester Road). At that time, people took nowhere near as many photographs as today, but effort was usually made for weddings and other celebrations…

1930s. Newcastle Street / Glengarnock Avenue. Photo: Daisy Woodard

1930s. Bride and groom entering Christ Church. Newcastle Street / Glengarnock Avenue and Clary’s shop are in the background. (Island History Trust)

1919, opposite Christ Church. Going on an outing (Island History Trust)

1920s (estimated)

In the 1930s, the shops on the west side of Manchester Road included:

No. 153. Chandler’s Shop, Caroline Moriarty
No. 155. Greengrocer, Ernest May
No. 157. Boot & Shoe Repairs, Albert Street
No. 159. Newsagent’s, Alfred Morgan
No. 161. Cycle Agent, Albert Clary
No. 163. Confectioner, George Selby

As mentioned in many of my blog articles, World War II changed everything. In particular the west side of Manchester Road near Christ Church was heavily damaged (it’s amazing that a building as prominent as the Church itself, with its narrow spire, suffered only light damage). In this 1950 map, the free-standing buildings are prefabs which were built on the site of destroyed houses and shops.


Circa 1950. Photo: Island History Trust

Circa 1950. Boy Scouts opposite Christ Church. Photo: Maureen Knight.

Late 1940s, opposite Christ Church Vicarage, with prefabs and Parsonage Street Orlit houses in the background.

Outside Christ Church. 1953. The bridesmaids at the wedding of Brenda Dow and David Mulford. Left to right: Shirley Dow (in apple green); Margaret Mulford and Peggy Dow (both in lavender). The bouquets were horseshoes of sea lavender and carnations. Onlooker, Mr Brotherwood of Mellish Street.. Text and photo: Island History Trust

Circa 1950. Neighbours watching a wedding group outside Christ Church. Photo: Elsey Family


1920s (estimate)

1920s (estimate)

1959 Manchester Road Glenis Franklin outside her house at 149 Manchester Road

1960. Island History Trust

Tremain’s fish shop. Photo courtesy of Malcolm Tremain

Tremain’s fish shop. Photo courtesy of Malcolm Tremain

Tremain’s fish shop. Photo courtesy of Malcolm Tremain

Circa 1960. Photo: B. Bennett

Year and origin unknown. Prob. circa 1950s

1968. Photo: Hugo Wilhare

1970. Edie’s Cafe, 148 Manchester Road.

The late 1960s saw major changes for the area: clearance of the prefabs and surviving premises on the west side of Manchester Road, followed by first the construction of the Schooner Estate, and then the flats in the area bounded by Glengarnock Avenue, Stebondale Street, Seyssel Street and Manchester Road. The construction of the latter involved blocking Glengarnock Avenue at Manchester Road (the river section was then renamed Glenaffric Avenue).

Circa 1970


Circa 1970. Island History Trust

Circa 1968


1970s. Stephen Bezzina, Robert Naylor, don’t know, don’t know, Micky Battley.

1977-ish. Mark Fairweather, Mick Lemmerman

1977-ish. Stephen Bezzina, Mark Fairweather, Ricky Newark

The second half of the 1970s saw the closure and demolition of the premises on the east side of the road to make room for the new George Green’s School.

Late 1970s. Photo origin not known.

Late 1970s. Photo: Clare Dunchow

Late 1970s. Merge of two Pat Jarvis photos.





Circa 1980


1980s. Photo: Peter Wright

1980s. Ada Price walking towards the Island Resource Centre.

1980s. Ada Price about to enter the Island Resource Centre.

c1985. Prospects TV Series

c1985. Prospects TV Series

In the late 1990s or early 2000s (I’m not sure when), new flats and houses were built in Glenaffric Avenue, and in the long-derelict area where Tremain’s chip shop and Bob Olding’s hairdressers were.


Circa 2010

In 2013, new flats were also built in the corner of Manchester Road and Glengarnock Avenue.




The only view which has remained more or less unchanged since 1860 is that of Christ Church.

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4 Responses to Outside Christ Church – a Mainly Pictorial History

  1. Malcolm Tremain says:

    I can correct a bit of your history regarding 156 Manchester Road. The date of the card showing 156 being owned by C & E Leaf in the 1950’s is wrong. My Grandfather, Arthur (Tom) Tremain bought the business before the war and my Dad, Jim Tremain, took it over when he was demobbed from the Air Force in 1946. My Dad owned the business until he retired in 1986. The shop moved from 156 Manchester Road in the early 1970’s, probably 1972, to a new shop on the north side of Manchester Road, opposite Christ Church. He sold the business to a Chinese restaurant owner, who subsequently lost the business to pay a gambling debt! We lived above the shop until 1969 when we moved to Blackheath. The old shop and Bob Oldings hairdressers next door, were going to be demolished for the new George Green school, but the school wasn’t built in their place and the buildings remained empty until the early 1980’s. New flats were built there instead. The picture of the young girl with Edie’s cafe and dining rooms behind her can’t be from the 1960’s because if you look at the shop on the corner, the chip shop, it has a canvas awning out. That awning was removed by my Dad in 1959 and the front of the shop was changed. New windows were put in and the front was repainted in a sort of blue/grey colour. Later in the 1960’s he painted it again in light green, as shown in the picture of the wedding, where the shop is boarded up. The very nice old concrete lamp post behind the girl was also taken away in the 1950’s and replaced with one of the standard concrete sodium lamps. The shop behind the girl, with the awning, on the left of the dining rooms, is Alf Hough’s butcher’s shop. It was on the corner of Manchester Road and Brig Street. I used to watch him or his son, Jeff, hang a whole pig or lamb carcass in the doorway of the shop and chop it down the middle so as to make two halves. You wouldn’t be allowed to do that now. The beautiful four storey houses built by Cubitt in Brig Street were stupidly demolished in 1962 and the site stood empty for years. We used to play on the empty site as kids. The big houses in Glengarnock Avenue were demolished later in the 1960’s, leaving just the Waterman’s Arms at one end and my Dad’s shop at the other, and the entire site was left empty until George Green School was built. I don’t think any of Cubitt’s houses have survived on the Island, which is a pity.
    Malcolm Tremain

    • Thanks for all that valuable information, Malcolm – I’m going to give it a careful read, and obviously need to do some corrections (not an excuse, but some of the photos – and their captions/years – came from the Island History Trust and others, and I think they’d be interested in any corrections too.). I was also under the impression, based on information from a (distant) relative of yours, that your grandfather only moved to 156 after being bombed out of premises further up Manchester Road, near the Cubitt Arms.
      I’m curious – do you have any old photos of your shops you can share? Might be enough images and info to write an article about them. Thanks again.

      • Malcolm says:

        The first shop was in Oliffe Street where the Cubitt Arms was. That shop was damaged by bombs in 1941 as far as I know and my grandfather moved the business to 156. My Dad was definitely running the business sometime in 1947 after my Grandfather retired. He moved to Hoddesdon. My brother, Kevin, was born at 156 in May 1949. I have a few pictures of the shop from the 1950’s. I can scan them and email them if you would like.

      • Yes please – can you send them to watermans.arms@gmail.com?

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