High Street memories

AN unusual clue to the date of this photo of High Street South, Dunstable, can be found in the booklet from which it was taken.

Sunday, 6th November 2011, 4:12 pm

Titled The Excelsior Pictorial Post Card Budget, it contained six views of Dunstable which were perforated so they could be detached and used as postcards.

It was produced on behalf of A.D. Sinfield, a tobacconist and stationer, whose addresses (27 High Street South and 30 West Street) are included on the cover together with mentions of his trade in daily and weekly newspapers, superior British and foreign cigars, cigarettes, pouches and pipes.

He also sold walking sticks and ran a circulating library.

His shop in High Street South can be seen in the tall building a few doors down from what is the entrance to Wood Lane, with trees concealing the almshouses and Chew’s Schoolhouse. The view today is virtually unchanged, with the Sinfield premises now occupied by the Sliks Barbers shop.

Fascinatingly, the booklet contains a drawing of the Sinfield shop showing daily newspaper posters from the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Lloyds News and the News Chronicle.

These say: “Japanese Defeat At Port Arthur, 20,000 losses”, “Russian Rout – Carnage at Port Arthur”, “Japanese Repulsed” and “Will Kuropatkin Escape?”.

No doubt, then, that the big news of the day was the great war between Russia and Japan which raged in 1904 and 1905.

Alexei Kuropatkin was commander in chief of the Russian land forces in Manchuria.

And a very parochial bi-product of the posters is that they usefully suggest a date for the photo.

The booklet was preserved by Alec Sturman who helped run an antiques stall on Dunstable market in the mid 1970s.

It now belongs to his niece, Mrs Vera Griffiths, who lives in Tilsworth Road, Stanbridge.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society