Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thames (NZ): Albert Street - a closer look

When you look at a photograph of the Thames Streets, do you ever stop to consider what life was like for your Thamesites who walked those streets? Is that my family in the photo? What are the people doing? Who owns the shops? And so it goes on...
 Description: View looking up Albert Street towards houses on the hill above Upper Albert Street. On the lefthand side of the street in the foreground are the premises of Archibald Burns, grocer. On the opposite side of the street (at an intersection) are the premises of Gillespie & Burns [should read THOMS]. Identifiable buildings further down the street are the Queen's Hotel (F Grubb) and at the end of the street the office of the Evening Star. In the foreground, standing on the road and looking at the photographer are two little girls and a boy with a pram. Photograph taken ca 1900 by William Arthur Price.
Source:  Ref: 1/2-001170-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

A portion of the photo above, shows some of the people wandering the street. There are a lot of unattended it school holidays? After school? Is there mother in one of the shops? Two men are talking outside the Queen's Hotel on the corner of Albert and Queen Streets. Another two children appear to be playing a game to their right. It looks like it was a cold day, both women are dressed in coats and wearing beautiful hats.

Below, F Grubb's name proudly adorns the entrance to the Queen's Hotel. Francis Grubb was publican at the hotel from 1907 to at least 1927. The Evening Star office is near the Pollen Street corner, staff inside busy no doubt with another edition of the newspaper.

What a difference one hundred years makes - pause and think what an important and vibrant street, Albert Street, Grahamstown was. Today businesses still operate from the street, but the important thoroughfare and meeting place is long gone. Time moves on...
Source: Google maps
Further information:
See the Pre 1930 Business Register & Street Directories at The Treasury

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