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Photos from London’s Oldest Ironmongers

May 20, 2013
by the gentle author

David Lewis, the proprietor of London’s oldest ironmongers – specialising in serving the coach-building trade and operating from the same location in the Hackney Rd since 1797 – is the proud custodian of this archive of photographs which illustrate the history of his business and some of its key protagonists over the past century.

Originally opened as H. M. Presland & Sons, the business became W. H. Clark Ltd in the eighteen-nineties and has traded as Daniel Lewis & Son Ltd – The One Stop Metal Shop since 2002 . In a rare and astonishing survival, the company trades from premises built to suit their purpose in the early nineteenth century, remaining largely unaltered over two hundred years later. Yet CCTV cameras enforcing parking restrictions have resulted in the loss of half their customers recently and as a consquence, this summer, they will be leaving the Hackney Rd forever.

Timber components for assembling wagon wheels in the wheelwright’s shop, c.1900.

This wheelwright’s shop is unchanged today, c. 1900.

Mayor of Hackney, W.H.Clark’s car parked outside his business in 1920.

Mrs W.H.Clark who managed the business on her husband’s behalf – she was a member of the businesswomen’s league and an active participant in many local social charitable projects.

W.H. Clark vans, 1930

Gwladys Lewis outside her grocer shop and dairy in the Hackney Rd with her son Daniel on the right.

The gasometer at the rear of the premises next to the Regent’s Canal.

Daniel Lewis and his dog in the yard with the bombsite of the Chandler & Wiltshire Brewery, 1945.

Daniel Lewis at his sloped-top desk in 1953.

Daniel & Audrey Lewis.

The staff, 1950.

Daniel Lewis outside the premises, 1963.

Lewis Lewis, dairyman, outside his grocer’s shop and dairy in the Hackney Rd with his grandson David and daughter-in-law Audrey, nineteen sixties.

Lewis Lewis and David in the nineteen sixties.

Daniel Lewis with the Royal Carriage for which he supplied two-hundred-year-old-oak panelling from his stock for restoration, 1975.

Arthur Hinton, shop manager, 1980.

Shop staff, 1980

W.H.Clark van, 1960.

In the twentieth century.

In the nineteenth century.

The One Stop Metal Shop, Daniel Lewis & Son Ltd, 493-495 Hackney Rd, E2 9ED

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. Libby Hall permalink
    May 20, 2013

    Wonderful photographs!

    It is always a treat to be allowed see these sorts of family archives.

  2. May 20, 2013

    Love the family photo’s. It’s a shame this business is going to leave Hackney.

  3. Robert permalink
    May 20, 2013

    I was very sad to learn about the closure of WH CLARK in Hackney Rd, I have been in this shop many times over the year’s, even recently, and ALWAYS been pleased to find what I was looking for, their trade may have decreased in recent time’s but it will still be a very big loss to the area when they go, and I for one will miss this shop very much.

  4. Sherine Ali . From Lebanon .17 years old permalink
    August 30, 2013

    Wow Very nice really (y) I’ like london really but I can’t go to london :( :* good luck

  5. September 10, 2013

    Sorry to hear that the shop has been closed. I remember being sent there with a list to get some nails and screws, and being given a biscuit while I was waiting! That must have been in 1954. Valerie

  6. John permalink
    November 3, 2013

    Gutted to find out that W.H. Clark has closed. You could get all sorts of well-made quality gear in there – all sorts. I’ve been doing upcycling and salvaging furniture for years now, and wanted yet more large ‘wheelie bin’ wheels for a shelving system that Ikea junk can’t cope with.. Where now for no-nonsense service, and on the high street too? Gutted.

  7. roger permalink
    February 21, 2014

    Was a great shop.

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