A snapshot view of St John's Wood in 1905

St John’s Wood has conservatories at the back of its houses, banks of geraniums along its garden walls, and sprinklers on its ample lawns.  The electric light is not wanting here, being, in fact, used lavishly and without regard to expense by all who have it laid on, and the front doors are each garnished with two bells, one marked Visitors and the other marked Tradesmen.

I should consider that as a health resort St John’s Wood is almost without rival in the kingdom.  The death rate is very low and there  is no active cemetery nearer than Willesden. There is a barracks somewhat adjacent, it is true but for reasons that are inexplicable you never clap eyes on a soldier, excepting on Sundays, when a few files are marched out to church.

And I am sincerely of opinion that St John’s Wood contains some of the nicest, prettiest and cosiest confectioners shops in Great Britain.  Here you may purchase chocolates of every known species, together with calves’foot jelly, sponge-cake,  pound-cakes,  birthday cakes with little boys and girls names on them, wholemeal bread, and Abernethy biscuits.  Here, too,  you may partake of afternoon tea, served in eggshell china and on dainty if somewhat cocklety tables, for the small sum of one shilling; and if you be so minded, I believe you may, at a pinch, hire from the obliging shopman all that is requisite in the way of extra plate, glass, china and general table requisites, for the furnishing forth of your little luncheons, dinners, ball suppers and other refections.

The one puzzle about it is that it contains at the present moment probably a greater number of unoccupied houses than any other suburb round London. the reason for this, I am told, is that the comfortably placed, five hundred to a thousand a year, up-to-date intellectual, in-the- swim suburban has of late taken it into his dunderhead that great joy is to be  derived from the pitching of one’s domestic tent in a flat.  Five rooms up a giddy lift and near the stars, with electric lights let into the ceiling, electric bells throughout, hot and cold water night and day, private restaraunt, a gold -laced porter and no taxes, are luring the sharp sighted suburban out of his old villas and secluded gardens, which therefore fall into emptiness.

This page was added on 02/04/2018.

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