[Source: Nick Catford]
An interesting view looking due west along Vine Street. To the right of this is a cinema hoarding advertising the 1934 film 'The House of Connelly' so this dates the picture. The The House of Connelly poster is on the back wall of one of the two weighbridges just inside the entrance to the goods yard. The rear of Vine Street station's goods shed is visible on the left as is the (public) Goods Enquiry Office. The station building is out of view to the left. For reasons lost in the mists of time, the subject of this photograph would seem to be Thorpe Brothers office. This building, actually more of a hut, can be seen, thanks to its angular position, in the 1933 aerial photographs. The structure to its right, another coal & coke office and also nothing more than a hut, is also visible in the aerial views as is the what appears to be coal bunker beside it. There is also a prominent sign for Burr & Gibbons, another coal merchant who had an office in the station building. Thorpe Brothers were local merchants of long standing, whereas others came and went. For example, the London Gazette of 14 March 1893 recorded the insolvency of Messrs. William & Alfred Foyer who had premises at Hillingdon and Uxbridge railway station. Given the year, this can only have meant Uxbridge Vine Street but what remains unknown is if Foyer had an office at Vine Street which had been removed by the time this photograph was taken or if their office had been taken over by another merchant. What is known, however, is that debts due and owing (with regard to Foyer) were to be received and paid by Alfred Foyer at Messrs.Thorpe's office at Uxbridge station. The implication is therefore that Thorpe had taken over the remnants of the Foyer business via the Receiver and in turn this likely included the Thorpe office as seen here. Oxcroft Coals presumably refers to the products of Oxcroft Drift Mine in Derbyshire, this being long before that days of the National Coal Board and at a time when merchants could hold agencies for individual mines or groups of mines. Between the wars the Thorpe Brothers brothers coal office found new use as the Victory snack bar. Click here to see two pictures. Today and with the possible exception of some of the trees in the background, absolutely nothing seen in this photograph still exists. The A4020 dual carriageway Hillingdon Road now cuts through the site and Vine Street itself is significantly wider at this point, perhaps taking advantage of the former forecourt area to the left. On the far right F Allen, Bootmaker and Repairer is seen on the corner.
Photo from John Mann collection