Strawberries

Strawberries

Blackfen homegrown strawberries! Does anyone else grow strawberries in their garden? Blackfen has a tradition of growing them. James Lee grew them at ‘Strawberry Gardens’ (where Gwillim Close is now) until he went bankrupt in 1906 after bad crops due to 3 years of wet weather. Blackfen Farm also had a strawberry field where RACS Stores (now Katie’s Playpen, a chemist and off-licence) was later built, and according to the farmer’s granddaughter, they were the juiciest she’d ever eaten.

Former RACS Stores which opened in 1931. Before that, the site of the strawberry field at Blackfen Farm

Former RACS Stores which opened in 1931. Before that, the site of the strawberry field at Blackfen Farm

Last day of business for The Golf Zone

Sad news for golfers: The Golf Zone at 14 Blackfen Parade will close on Saturday 3 January 2015. Although it will remain as an online business it is sad to see a shop in Blackfen close down.

The Golf Zone, Blackfen Parade, Jan. 2015

The Golf Zone, Blackfen Parade, Jan. 2015

RIP Homepride 1932-2014

Homepride, the builders’ merchant in Blackfen Road closed its doors for the final time on 6 December 2014. It will be much missed.

“It was such a marvellous place to get those little things you could often get nowhere else.
The amount of times I have been doing a household job and find I need a handful of screws or some wood preserver or whatever and he has been able to supply for a very reasonable price are innumerable.” [Paul Duffett of Flame Photos]
“I used to work in Homepride as a Saturday boy between 1986 and 1989. Working round the front with Dave in the mornings and round the back with Steve in the afternoons. £10 a day and had such fun.” [Stuart Tanner]
Homepride in 1948

Homepride in 1948

Homepride first opened in 1932 and so it was one of the few original shops remaining, along with Copelands the newsagent and J. Ayre bakers. It certainly is the end of an era.

 

Pie and Mash

With the opening of a new pie and mash shop in Blackfen Road, I just had to try it. I was nervous as I’d never eaten it before and wasn’t convinced I’d like it. What was that green sauce made of exactly?

The shop had previously been ‘Smile Please’ photography studio (one of two branches in Blackfen Road).

Pie & Mash shop in Blackfen Road, Jan. 2013

Pie & Mash shop in Blackfen Road, Jan. 2013

There were huge queues and steamed up windows, which added to the atmosphere somehow.

Pie and mash shops became popular in the East End of London in the late 1800s, providing hot, filling and inexpensive food for manual workers. These first pies were filled with eels which were cheap and plentiful and caught right from the Thames. These days the meal consists of a baked minced beef pie with mashed potato and a green parsley gravy, with or without jellied or stewed eels. I felt better about eating it when I discovered that the liquor is from parsley, not from Thames eel-fishing water!

Actually, it was much nicer than I expected, especially with a splash of chilli vinegar! But I did wimp out at sampling jellied eels…!

Pie, mash and liquor

Pie, mash and liquor