Local Retail

80 Dartmouth Park Hill

CRICK’S CORNER (1912 – 1960)

Albert John Crick’s sixty-year career in newspaper retail began in 1899 when, having left school at thirteen, he would toil fourteen hours a day employed as a newspaper seller. In 1912 he and his wife, Kate, were to open their first newsagents at 80 Dartmouth Park Hill  with subsequent premises also being opened in both Swain’s Lane and Highgate Road. In addition to the standard fare of newspaper sales and delivery, tobacco, confectionery, soft drinks and stationery Crick’s, in later years, also retailed gramophone records, films and ex-libris books. Crick’s also offered a book lending service – probably under a franchise arrangement with Mudie’s  Circulating Library of Holborn – whereby, for a small annual  charge, books might be borrowed.

Mr and Mrs Crick. Outside their recently purchased shop. The photo was  taken in March 1912.

Mr and Mrs Crick. Outside their recently purchased shop. The photo was taken in March 1912. Note the former proprietor’s name either freshly painted over by Albert Crick or redacted from the photo. The photograph can be dated from one of the newspaper posters on the pavement: “North London Arsenic Trial”

Crick's Corner in later years. (poss.1950s)

Crick’s Corner in later years. (poss.1950s)











Whilst the Swain’s Lane and Highgate Road enterprises were to eventually fall by the wayside, Crick’s Corner continued, delivering papers  to those streets between Dartmouth Park Hill and Highgate Road/ West Hill and beyond . Certainly in the 1950′s Crick’s Corner was employing some twenty newspaper boys and girls to deliver the various London morning editions and a half-dozen or so for the later evening editions. After some 48 years of trading Albert and Kate pulled down Crick’s awnings for the last time retiring to nearby Muswell Hill in 1960.


Albert and Kate Crick on their golden wedding anniversary 1961.

Albert and Kate Crick on their golden wedding anniversary 1961.


Here are a few 1950′s recollections of their grandson, John, who grew up at 82 Dartmouth Park Hill (next door to Crick’s) and remembers delivering papers to the Holly Lodge Estate and also Cathcart Hill……..

“…..on the  opposite side of  Crick’s Dartmouth Park Hill was full of shops. I don’t think any have survived, but I can remember all those up to the corner of Balmore Street (reputed to be the “second worst street” in North London), which at that time ran into Dartmouth Park Hill, as well as several further up. It made for a community of a kind that’s rarer in London now and, being in a shop, we knew most of the people around. In my own case, though, I went away to boarding school at the age of 11 and so many of my memories are those of an ingenuous child. I was, however, aware of “differences” / class divisions: I went to Hargrave Park Primary School, together with “posh” kids from Highgate proper and the Holly Lodge Estate and children from the other end of the social spectrum, including some from Balmore Street, where every Guy Fawkes Night they would build a bonfire in the street and one year had a running battle with the police and (I guess, though here I may be imagining) the fire brigade who came to put it out. We watched silently from across the road.”

“…..well, we thought of Balmore Street as a bit rough — there were lots of Mums and children and not too many Dads. When I asked about this one day, I was told the fathers were mostly doing time — probably an exaggeration, but with an element of truth. Doynton Street seemed one notch up, but I guess I thought of our side of the road as “normal”.

Photos courtesy of Mr and Mrs Cricks’ grandson, John Thieme.






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