Have you looked at the photograph of Upminster’s Station Road at the top of each page on this site and wondered when it was taken? What clues are in the photo to help you pin down a date or range of dates?
The newly completed Congregational Church, which opened for worship on 29th March 1911, can be seen so, assuming that the exterior was completed a month or two earlier, the photograph must have been taken sometime after early 1911. A sign can be seen on the site at the corner of Branfill Road, which became the London, County & Westminster Bank (later years the Westminster Bank, 49 Station Road) and while it isn’t possible to read what it says it may well announce that the site will soon see the new bank’s development – but when was this?
It can be confirmed from the surviving Building Registers of the Romford Rural District Council – who had to approve all planning applications in the area at that time – that on 1 October 1913 W.P.Griggs & Co applied on behalf of the owners to develop the new bank on the site (see below). These plans were approved four weeks later on29 October 1913 and if we assume work started soon afterwards then the Autumn of 1913 is the latest that the photo can date from.
Therefore we can pin the photo down to sometime the years 1911-1913.
Shop names can also be used to date photos more precisely, but in this case the premises on the far left, Humphreys’ chemists, was run by the same family throughout this era, as was the butchers next door, run by J.H. (James Henry) Cox, while the corner shop – Gooderham’s grocers & post office, changed ownership in 1917 after William Gooderham gave up the business after the death of his son in World War One.