Shopping Daze

Dam St is one of the most wonderful places in Lichfield, offering a winning combination of varied architecture, independent shops, duck feeding and ice-cream on route to the Cathedral. 

Three small signs above the shops at the Market Square end may well go unnoticed. They say ‘J Dean Putney Maker’ and have little hooks on them. A quick google search leads to the website of ‘Deans Blinds & Awnings’ established 1894 and tells how the company was started by a policeman’s son called Tom Dean, and was taken over by his brother John. It seems John Dean and subsequent generations of his family were involved in the ownership of Fulham FC as well as manufacturing blinds and awnings.


J Dean Putney


The listed buildings describes them as ‘late C19 shop fronts with bracketed cornice and canvas canopies’. Another look at these buildings and you can also see the chains attached to these awnings, which presumably must still be there, tucked away from sight. I wonder when they were rolled shut for the last time? What kind of shop was this when these canopies were added? There was a drapers & silk merchants in this area of Dam St in 1914, could this have been it?

J Dean 2 with Metal erm thing

On the second photo, there is also a metal….thing. I first came across these in Tamworth, where nearly every shop seems to have one albeit slightly newer looking.

Tamworth version of 'the metal thing'. They have lots of interesting things on buildings in Tamworth including mermaids.

Someone got in touch on flickr and suggested they were holders for flags or Christmas trees. I was in Bakewell in Derbyshire last week where they seem to be using them for the latter, as you can see here in the Matlock Mercury. Looks pretty, doesn’t it! I’m guessing the Dam St one was a flag holder but am more than happy to be proved wrong by memory or photographic evidence or just a convincing argument as to what else it might be 😉

You can also have a look at the Street View here, perhaps whilst eating a mincepie by a roaring fire (although it is out of date, as The Staffs Bookshop is now Realwoods).

Last weekend someone spotted something else interesting high up on another building in the city centre. I’m not saying anymore, as I’m hoping that they might consider doing something on this themselves. No matter how well you think you know your surroundings, there are always still things to discover. So whilst out and about shopping in the 8 (is that all!) shopping days left until Christmas try looking at Lichfield from a different angle. Who knows what you might notice…..

Edit 23/12/2011

Pat’s been on googlemaps and has spotted not only a whole load of these brackets on Tamworth St but also one actually in use outside the Scales! So I think that definitely answers this little Lichfield mystery!

18 thoughts on “Shopping Daze

  1. I think the metal bracket in Dam Street dates back to when we were more inclined
    to put the flag out Coronations, Troops returning from showing someone or other
    how the British do things,Bower Day,it could also double up at Christmas for the


  2. I used to work above the old book shop, had to go through the now-blocked door. I loved working there.
    Oh, and it’s thanks to this fine site that I constantly bump into people in town now – spending my time looking upwards rather than where I’m going! 🙂


    • I think that the exterior of that place belies a much older interior….was there anything you can remember about it?
      And I would apologise for your little collisions except I’m not sorry 😉 Carry on noseing! (My most spectacular not looking where I was going incident led to me falling into a big plantpot)


  3. I used to go through that door, which lead to a solid wood staircase (painted white, as was most of the interior); up which I would breeze along in my 1987’s best suit and briefcase on which was stamped “OHMS” (Only Holds My Sandwiches :)) to the first floor landing. Immediately opposite was the door, always open, to the staff room of a beauty salon that occupied the front of the upstairs, with 2 ~ to me back then~ stunning “older” ladies (I was 16! They were probably 21 or something!) often sat there. To the right was a loo, municipal.

    The book-keeping firm I worked for was to the left, occupying the rear of the upstairs. It had a big, old, heavy door which lead into a hallway, with a small kitchen to the right, a large store room to the left, and our shared office ahead, with our lovely, and much missed boss’ office to the right. She was a wonderful lady and I’ll never forget her, Yvonne Beck.

    The ceilings were high, the windows the old-fashioned one’s that you had to unscrew a lock then push the window up, and then it would usually fall onto your fingers just when you thought it would stay in position!

    I could go on and on about the days of a school-leaving 16 year old trainee book-keeper at what is still the best place I’ve ever worked but I don’t think that’s what was wanted for a reply!

    Anyway, it was and I hope remains, a lovely old place and if the fabled Lotto win should ever fall my way, I’ll buy it and turn it back to June 1987. And everyone else! 🙂


    • Actually that’s even better than I was expecting! It’s great to hear about the bricks & mortar of places but I like stories about people even more 🙂 You’ve got me thinking about the best place I ever worked….definitely a few contenders for the worst!


  4. What a shot with a Musket from the Cathedral to Dam Street during the English Civil War! Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke, was killed by a Musket shot. The shot was fired by John Dyott on 2nd of March 1643. John Dyott was known as “Dumb Dyott” because of his deafness.


    • Thanks! There’s a plaque on Dam St isn’t there? The Dyotts are an intriguing bunch. I read that it was a family tradition to be buried at night in the family vault at St Mary’s Church, following a torch led procession through the streets. Keep meaning to find out more!


  5. And if you believe that a bloke atop the Cathedral could shoot a bloke down Dam Street, at that range with a musket, then you’ll be telling me a fat bloke in a red and white suit’s coming to visit us all tomorrow night next!! 🙂


    • You will find that he had more than one musket with someone reloading
      for him ,He would not have to be a marksman a lucky shot would be all
      that was needed also having him blasting away would have been a moral
      boost for the defending troops.


      • There is a program called mythbusters where they carry out experiments to prove or disprove things like this. So we could carry out our own experiment with permission from the Cathedral to use the spire. All we need is a musket & someone to play the part of Baron Brooke. Any volunteers? 😉


  6. He’d never have reached, Pat! Anyhoo, I’ve just seen Father Christmas whizz across the sky of our fine city. Merry Christmas one and all 🙂
    I’ll volunteer to be Baron Brooke, now who’s going to climb the spire? 😉


    • During the siege of Rushall hall a number of volleys were fired from the
      walls at the attacking troops ,In the 1970s a group of us used to dig up musket
      balls at least 500yds from the walls about six inches into the ground so it would
      be quite easy to kill a man at 250yds or 300yds that it is from the cathedral
      to Brooke house on Dam Street .


    • You are quite right not with a musket on further reading John and his brother
      used a fowling gun or punt gun with a one inch bore eight feet long that could
      bring down a whole flock of ducks using muliple shot or using a single four ounce
      ball a large stag at four hundred yards or a lord of the relm at three hundred
      and fifty yards.


  7. Pingback: What’s the Story? | Lichfield Lore

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