228 Coldharbour Lane – from hosiers to heel bar to sourdough bread in 120 years – Brixton Buzz

Briefly reappearing in Loughborough Junction was this old, hand painted shop sign for ‘Super Dry Cleaners Super Heel Bar.’

The sign was seen above 228 Coldharbour Lane, along with a telephone number – and the lack of an area code prefix suggest that the sign could be pre-1990.

Here’s the full sign snapped from a passing bus – the next time we passed by the new owners were busy painting it over.

228 Coldharbour Lane through the years

The earliest photo we could find dates from around 1905, when the building was used by hosiers Brown and Son. [Pic: Lambeth Landmark]

The shop offered ‘Special Value in White Shirts,’ which were knocking out at 3/6 each or 10 bob (50p) for three, with a range of prices for shirt refitting.

Note the fine four lamp gaslight in the foreground, complete with directions to Kennington and Herne Hill.

A post on the Brixton forum added some more historical detail.

From the British Newspaper Archive: In the late 1870s and 1880s 228 CHL was Allen’s Lending Library which also acted as a clearing house for small ads in the South London Press (servants wanted, furniture for sale et).

Perhaps a precursor to the Tate Library. Kelly’s Directory for Surrey 1878 lists Joseph Allen (Stationer) at 228 CHL. Shops like Boots and WH Smith operated Lending Libraries back then (even into the 1940s), so plausible that the shop operated as a stationer and library.

In 1886 it was Leslie’s Free Registry Office for Servants though possibly still just a PO address.

In 1894 J Allen was looking for post-season fixtures for his football team Denmark Rangers of the Camberwell and Brixton League.

Still selling hosiery as late as 1927 by mail (prop: S. Haim).

In July 2008, the building was still being used by Super Dry Cleaners, although the Super Heel Bar seems to have legged it.

A year later, the Michelle Creative unisex salon had moved in.

By April 2012, it seems that Michelle had left the building.

Two years later, it had become the Blessings Grace Hair Salon.

April 2015 saw the arrival of a Touch of Difference, which boasted colorful artwork and described itself as a ‘barbers, hair and beauty salon.’

Just over a year later, Frikal Fabrics and Couture were in the house, and they remained in business until at least July 2021.

The occupiers in Dec 2022 were Mano Amiga who offer office services, translations, flight tickets and Latin products.

Here’s how the building looked yesterday, with its new Travel Caffe sign. Mano Amiga seem to live on in the corner of the shop.

See more Brixton history

Brixton Buzz’s features on Brixton’s history
Brixton History discussed on the Brixton forums
View the comprehensive urban75 Brixton history archives
Lost pubs of Brixton
Discuss Coldharbour Lane on the forums

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