Here’s an Ebay find – an invoice/receipt from J S Smith of 192 Clarendon Park Road, to Mr Stimpson of 102 St Leonards Road, for a variety of items presumably relating to a gas lamp fitting (gas/plumbing experts correct me if I am wrong). Mr Stimpson purchased 15 inches of flex tube, a cock, 2 chains, a 6 inch tube, a Cora burner, a globe and mantle – all for the sum of 14 shillings and 8 pence. There’s no date, but the collection I found this document in dates from around 1917-23, and the image and design would fit nicely with that.
192 Clarendon Park Road has changed hands at least four times since I have lived nearby. In the last 13 years it has been a hairdressers, a peace cafe, a pottery studio and a strange shop selling clothes and computer parts. Most recently, about 8 years ago, it become a tattoo parlour. The current owners have been there for about a year. Tattooing is rather different from the very first business to operate from number 192, which was a wholesale and retail ironmongers and hardware shop, the above mentioned J S Smith, purveyor of Ironclad gas mantles from 1899 to 1957.
The wonderfully-named James Squibb Smith (1856-1928) married Elizabeth Ann Gilbert (1856-1951) in 1876. They had five children, who were Gilbert Harry (1877-1957), Frederick James (c1879), Mabel Helena (1882-1950), George Sydney (c1886) and Edward Henry (c1897-). After their marriage James worked as an assistant in a hardware shop and the family lived at 46 Avon Street. In 1893 they moved to 192 Clarendon Park Road and in 1899 James started his own business, described in Bennett’s 1901 Business Directory for Leicestershire as a “wholesale and retail dealer in all kinds of hardware goods, petroleum, lamps, lamp fittings, glass, china etc.” Elizabeth’s father, Edward Gilbert, lived with the family until his death in 1914. Mr Gilbert had been a Baptist minister connected with the Baptist chapel in Charles Street.
James ran the hardware business, assisted by his eldest son Gilbert, until he died in 1928. Gilbert had moved out to live with his wife in Adderley Road after their marriage and he didn’t return 192 Clarendon Park Road to live with his widowed mother, but he did continue to look after the business until his own death in 1957. in the meantime he took on apprentice to learn the wholesale and retail hardware trade, advertising in March 1939 for a 14 year old “strong lad”. It can’t have worked out well because Gilbert advertised the post again in August 1939 only this time the lad needed to be both smart AND strong. James, Elizabeth and Gilbert were all buried together at Welford Road Cemetery along with Mabel Helen.
As for Mr Stimpson who needed all those gas mantle accoutrements – Albert Stimpson (17 Jul 1893-) and Celia Annie Wood (1894-1950) married in 1917 and moved into 102 St Leonards Rd, where they lived for 14 years. Sometimes they kept a lodger. Albert was from Clarendon Park – he had lived in Bulwer Road when some of the houses were so new as to not have numbers or house names. He worked as a groom in one of the big local houses until after the First World War, when like many men who had previously worked with horses, he trained and worked as a chauffeur. Albert and Celia had three children: Joyce (1920-1986), Eileen (1926-2004) and Margaret (1929-2013).
The Stimpsons moved to 82 Gainsborough Rd in 1931 and then by 1939 lived at 64 Kingsmead Road. In September 1950 Celia died and was buried at Gilroes Cemetery. I haven’t been able to find out when Albert died or where he was buried.