A Penny for your Thoughts…
A Penny for your Thoughts…Arments 103rd Birthday!
Whilst sorting through some of our old shop boxes recently, I came across a dusty coin between some papers. At first thinking it a 2p piece, I picked it up to set it aside only to realise that the darkened, worn copper coin in my hand was in fact an old penny piece. As I looked at the George V penny, I was struck by the date – 1914 – the year Roy’s Grandparents, William and Emily Arment, bought the pie and eel business in Walworth from the Evans family…103 years ago, just three months before the outbreak of the First World War.
My thoughts started to wonder. What has George the penny seen? When George left the Royal Mint on Tower Hill in The City of London and entered circulation, the world was a very different place! Transport was predominately horse drawn, the streets were cobbled, homes and streets were lit by gas.
Arments was one of many traditional pie and eel houses feeding Londoners the first fast food; Eel pie, mash and liquor.
In those days the shop was decorated with glazed wall tiles, marble table tops, opening sash windows and saw dust on the floor!…And a pie cost 2d! Emily, William and sister Liz, would have worked long hours in the dimly lit shop preparing the pies and potatoes entirely by hand.
I wonder if they could ever have imagined the same family would still be running the same business 103 years later. In fact I wonder if they could have ever imagined London, and indeed the world, 103 years later!
During the 103 years Arments have been trading there have been many changes, events and inventions. We met and fell in love with Charlie Chaplin and the silent movies. Families would have gathered around the radios for entertainment and to hear the outbreak of the Second World War. Later the popularity of the radio was replaced by the television. Who of a certain age, would ever forget the first time they saw the screaming Beetles fans or Watch with Mother! Today we have the internet with its instant access to pretty much everything, including Arments pie and mash!
The streets are still crowded and the roads are still congested, but whilst the tram may have gone, along with the trolley buses and the Routemasters, the Boris bus is moving hundreds of thousands of people around London every day. The horse drawn Handsome Cabs are long gone too, being replaced by the iconic Hackney Carriage.
During this period also the Suffragettes secured the vote for women, Maggie Thatcher became Britain’s first woman Prime Minister. With the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936, and the Crown passing to his brother George VI, Queen Elizabeth II crowned in 1953, is our longest reigning monarch.
Life expectancy has grown. The discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Alexander Fleming started the treatment of a whole world of illnesses. Together with this, the birth of the NHS in 1948, better housing, food and education, the health of people has improved dramatically.
The sky line of London still has St Pauls, the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben Clock, The Tower of London. But goodness hasn’t it changed ! The Millennium Dome, now the O2, The Millennium Wheel, the Emirates Air Line cable car, The Gherkin tower. All these fantastic feats of engineering were not even a consideration in the mind of an, as yet, unborn designers eye.
Londoners still know how to greet the world. Just think of the 1948 Olympics, the world cup in 1966 and the 2012 sporting extravaganza.
The London Stock exchange, striding the financial world for hundreds of years, is still a financial powerhouse making London a place of wealth and power.
So while mobile phones, tablets, self-driving cars, high speed travel and virtual reality rule the world today, though the saw dust may be gone, Emily and William would still be able to recognise Arments handmade pies, mash and liquor. We are proud to be still doing what we have done for 103 years! And we invite you, our valued customers, to come and join us in celebrating our birthday this weekend.
A penny for your thoughts…
email us with your memories to firstname.lastname@example.org