London, 47 St. George Street, East
Thomas Herbert had started his business in a shed in the back garden of his father-in-law's (Benjamin Brinkhurst) house at Catherine Street (later renamed Anthony Street).
In about 1843 Thomas took a shop in Cannon St Road, and soon engaged two men who had been with his former employer Thomas Pallet. Then in about 1849 the business moved to these premises at 47 Ratcliff Highway, later renamed St George Street, and now called The Highway. The photograph on the right dates to c1870.
Thomas's son George was 7 years old at the time of the move to St. George Street, and later recalled the works that were carried out: ‘A new front had to be put on and additions and workshops had to be made at the back'. Also ‘I well remember while the alterations were about seeing my father walking up the temporary staircase with his left arm in a sling, he having had an accident being pitched out of a cart while driving.'
George married Mary Ann Stephens in 1866, and after a honeymoon in Hastings, the couple returned to live in the upper part of 47 St. George Street, ‘which had been thoroughly repaired and done up consisting of four rooms upstairs and a kitchen parlour, scullery at the back of the shop, really no yard only a passage leading to workshops and forge, shed and stable with back entrance.'
The firm moved out of 47 St George Street in 1916.
The building was destroyed in WWII, but still (in 2011) standing in magnificent isolation four doors up is The Old Rose pub, at No 51, pictured here in 2007 by Kake Pugh. The building looks very similar to the Herbert & Sons former building, and was probably built at the same time.
This old sign from a previous building and dated 1678 has been built into the wall. It dates back to when the road was called the Ratcliffe Highway, and was notorious for crime, like many dock areas. A particularly gruesome double murder on two nights in 1811 left seven dead. The alleged murderer committed suicide in prison and his corpse had a stake driven through its heart at Cannon Street Road.
The two sketches on the right were done by Jim Herbert in 1993 from photographs in George Herbert's scrapbook taken around 1900, and after discussion with Steve Marriage. All the addresses mentioned on this page can be seen here in the Map of London 1868 by Edward Weller, although all were destroyed in WWII.
Some excellent maps of the area during our time in 47 St. George Street are available, in particular:
- Wylds 'New Plan of London' (1844), where Catherine St has become Anthony St
- Cross's ‘New Plan Of London' (1853), where Ratcliffe Highway has become St George St
Click on the Image(s) For Detail