Street View: 14 Suppl.
Address: 42 Ludgate Hill


The picture above of the front of Treloar’s shop has suffered slightly from being depicted in the fold of the original Street View sheet, but it will have to do. Treloar’s coconut fibre warehouse only appeared in the 1847 Supplement; in the earlier edition of 1839 number 42 was still the Irish linen shop of Brown & Co. More on them some other time, but for now we will concentrate on the carpet shop. Thomas Treloar originally came from Portished, Somerset, but when he obtained his freedom of the City of London in April 1847, he listed his father as William Treloar, late of Bristol, gent., deceased. It is not entirely clear when Thomas came to London, but in the 1841 census he, his wife Elizabeth, their young son Thomas, and 60-year old Ann Treloar (Thomas’s mother?) could be found at Princes Road, Lambeth. Thomas is described as a clerk and when his second son, William Purdie Treloar, was baptised in 1843, Thomas is given the occupation of bookkeeper. From 1846, however, we find him at 42 Ludgate Hill, selling brass and iron bedsteads, mattresses and bed furniture. In a booklet he published in 1852, The Prince of Palms (online here), he claimed, however, to have been at Ludgate Hill from 1842 as he “respectfully presented” the booklet to his “numerous customers … with grateful acknowledgement for ten years of their patronage”. An 1846 advertisement for his shop lists the virtues of coconut fibre, not just for mattresses, but also for carpets and mats.(1)


Illustration from The Prince of Palms

Illustration from The Prince of Palms

It is unclear whether Treloar ever lived above his shop in Ludgate Hill, as already in 1851, the census finds him and his growing family at 3 Dartmouth Terrace, Lewisham. When Elizabeth died in 1859, the address is given as Pitmain Lodge, Granville Park, Lewisham. In 1861, the family is still at Pitmain Lodge with Thomas senior as coconut fibre manufacturer and all three sons, Thomas junior, William Purdie and Robert, as commercial travellers. That same year, Thomas senior married Isabella Purdie, no doubt a relation of his or his first wife, judging by the fact that her last name was used as son William’s second name. In 1862, Treloar entered some of his fibre products in the International Exhibition and from the catalogue we learn that he had already won prize medals in other exhibitions.


At the beginning of that same year, on 2 January 1862, Treloar was mentioned in The Standard as having provided the matting that was laid in St. Paul’s Cathedral “by the kindness and liberality of the dean and chapter” and which would, according to the paper, “most assuredly contribute to the comfort of the numerous auditory”. For sure, one’s feet on matting in stead of on cold marble during evening service was no doubt more comfortable. But Treloar did not just stick to coconut fibres for his floor coverings; an advertisement of 26 August in The Standard also mentions kamptulicon, India rubber and Cork cloth. And a report on the Royal Agricultural Society’s International Show in June of that year mentions Treloar’s netting for sheepfolds, coir yarn for thatching, and kamptulicon of extra thickness for paving stables and padding stalls of kicking horses.

Advertisement in Frasers Magazine for Town and Country, 1865

Advertisement in Frasers Magazine for Town and Country, 1865


Some pieces of Treloar’s floor coverings have been preserved and the Stockholm Nordiska museet (Nordic Museum) has uploaded some images of their collection onto DigitalMuseum. I have chosen the sample you see here because it includes a label, but you can see more items here.

In 1865, the Treloar warehouse is briefly listed at number 10, but later at 69 (which before the renumbering used to be the neighbouring property at number 9 and was occupied in 1847 by Harvey, a linen draper), which was across the road from the original shop at number 42. They also had premises at numbers 68 and 70, which was not the renumbered original shop at number 42 as that ended up under the new railway bridge, but the old numbers 38 and 39. The new building at nos 68/70 was designed in 1871 by J.R. Meakin for land investor Robert Pettit (information from Terence Hodgson). There was a lot of building going on at Ludgate Hill since 1864 when it was decided to allow the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Company to build a bridge across the street with the added ‘bonus’ of creating Ludgate Circus, all meant to improve traffic flow. In the twenty odd years following, property in Ludgate Hill itself was bought up to allow for the widening of the street. The houses were set back and the southern side was the first section (numbers 51-71) to be demolished. Terence Hodgson sent me an illustration from The Building News of 1873 showing Treloars new shop at number 69, for which my grateful thanks.



The improvement scheme of Ludgate Hill was more or less completed in 1889.(2) See for the involvement of William Purdie himself his Ludgate Hill, Past and Present (2nd ed. 1892; online here), esp. pp. 134-141. You may remember from a previous post that Hooper’s printing business moved to 69 Ludgate Hill in 1874 or 1875. There is no clash with Treloar as the gentlemen shared the building. Treloar used the ground floor, which, by the way, extended all the way back to Pilgrim Street, and Hooper used one (or more?) of the upper floors. Goad’s insurance map of 1886 just lists the occupants as “carpet warehouse & others”, but the 1904 insurance map says “carpet warehouse, stationers’ warehouse & offices over”. The colours on the 1904 map are not terribly bright, but if you click on it to enlarge, I think you will see what I mean. In an advertisement, Treloar’s made full use of the fact that their two shops were on opposite sides of the street by paving the street between his shops with one of their Turkish carpets. The same advertisement claims that Treloar’s were floor covering specialist for over 90 years, which would date the start of the business in 1833 or before (see bottom of this post). Well, possibly, but not at number 42 as that did not house a carpet manufacturing business before Treloar moved in.

Thomas senior died in June 1876, 58 years old. In the probate record he is still described as coconut fibre matting manufacturer, so he presumably had not yet retired.(3) In 1881, both William Purdie and Robert claim their Freedom of the City by patrimony and are described as of 69, Ludgate Hill, carpet factors. They continued the business under the name of Treloar & Sons until Robert died in 1898.(4). William Purdie, by then Sir William Purdie, died in 1923(5) and that is where my story ends. I will leave you with some advertisements for Treloar.

Advertisement in The Graphic, 23 April 1887

Advertisement in The Graphic, 23 April 1887

Advertisement in The Pall Mall Gazette, 14 April 1897

Advertisement in The Pall Mall Gazette, 14 April 1897

Advertisement in Punch, 1923

Advertisement in Punch, 3 October 1923

(1) The Examiner, 18 July 1846.
(2) The British Architect, vol. 32, 15 November 1889, p. 343.
(3) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1876. Estate valued at under £35,000. Sons Robert and William Purdie were the executors.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1898. Estate valued at roughly £16,500. Brother William Purdie is named as the executor.
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1923. Estate valued at roughly £36,600.


<– 43 Ludgate Hill 41 Ludgate Hill –>