Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The old corner shop


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.

10 comments:

Leif Hagen said...

It looks like a hip and happenin', artsy-fartsy place! Groovy!

Ann said...

I miss the old corner shop. The dark blue one is beautiful. Artsy fartsy is a very good description.

RedPat said...

it is the same here - there used to be corner shops sprinkled throughout the residential areas but they have been either converted to living spaces or are trendy little boites!

Dianne said...

I think I'll just sit a while at Gusto's Julie and ponder the question - is this and artsy fartsy district or not! Love the top photo with the exquisite ironwork that is definitely up-market.

Kay L. Davies said...

A part of a long-ago life now, a part many of us remember well, in our different corners of the globe.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Kevin said...

It's good that many of the Paddington corner shops are still used as cafes or specialist shops. Interesting post.

J Bar said...

Great collection of old and reused corner shops.

IWASNTBLOGGEDYESTERDAY said...

really interesting post. I miss the old corner shops,I always get a thrill when I do find one,intact, the smell in there is ...pure memory.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I'm back ... I think the corner shops have made a bit of a come back in the form of the Convenience Stores.

Julie said...

Mmm ... not really, IMO. The Convenience stores are an updated version I guess. However, the corner shops are more easily compared with the Fruit Shop that has diversiified with a counter for a deli, some shelves for tinned goods, plus lots of sweet aisles. There is a 24/7 on the corner of Park & Elizabeth that even has a machine with about 10 types of connectors to enable you to quick charge your mobile phone.