Paddington did not start as the arty-farty, well-heeled suburb which now tumbles down the escarpment from Oxford St (the original South Head Road) to Rushcutters Bay. In about 1818 a gin distillery graced the heights, then in the 1830s to 1840s, the army invaded bringing with it an assortment of pubs and brothels and tradies out to make a quick quid or six.
I have collected together images of typical inner-city corner blocks on which sprang up corner shops(from the 1850s to the 1950s). Graham Spindler, Education Officer at State Parliament in Macquarie Street, and an avid Sydney street walker (of the nicest kind), maintains these corner shops were the lifeblood of the inner city, averaging one every 45 houses. Nowadays, they are cafes, or surgeries, or art galleries. The general corner shop, with it roll-top hessian sacks of flour, and onions and spuds, is no more, being replaced by larger supermarkets which are no way nestled among the residents.