32r44 Exmouth St shop wall, Edgecumbe St corner, 1982 -
Images on this site are arranged into rough areas by location as in my book 'Still Occupied', available on Blurb. Eventually this site will contain all the images in that book and more.
It should have been simple to locate where I took this picture as the sign on the wall clearly says it is Exmouth St, but finding he exact site of this shop 35 years later was still something of a problem. There are only around 10 corners where other roads meet with Exmouth St, a road parallel to and a few yards west of Newland Ave; not all have gables on them but those that do are of a similar age to this building - but none of them now look much like this.
Memory and a little logic led me to think that his was at the south end of the street and eventually this proved to be the case. The adverts for Smarties and Nescafe are on top of a 'ghost sign' which shows just the top of the letters, and MAR are fairly clear. Google's StreetView is fortunately something of a time machine, and takes me back as far as 2009, when those advertisements have gone, and the crumbling letters below can just about be made out, showing the sign to read:
By 2009 the first floor window with its decorative moulding remained, but the ground floor had been remodelled and the brickwork covered with a white rendering. The small window above the shop doorway is lower, and there is a new window to the left of the door. The central window has become a second doorway and the left hand window replaced by a double window - and all three decorative mouldings about the ground floor windows and door have been lost.
Around the end of 2014 the wall changed again, losing the former shop door, the window above and the new window to the side and gaining a few inches of external insulation - which now covers the whole wall, with a cut-out still revealing the street sign, but the last decorative moulding above the top window disappears. The external insulation is a very sensible addition - we did the same with our gable end and it makes a great difference to our comfort and the heating bills, but the changes over the years have made the house rather blander.
The window display is dominated by cleaning products - Surf, Ajax and washing up liquid, while the door favours Corona soft drinks - with bottles, perhaps of them visible on a counter inside, and State Express 555. And inside the shop is a large plastic sack of what I think is coal, or rather some kind of solid smokeless fuel. It was an expensive way to buy fuel, but the only choice for those with small budgets on weekly pay and often limited storage space.
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