Gascoyne Tobacconist and Hairdresser

Gascoyne Shop
Gascoyne - Tobacconist and Hairdresser Shop c1924

Today would have been my Grandfather’s 95th birthday. He kept this photograph in his wallet all his life along with a piece of paper with his father’s burial plot in West Ham cemetery.

My Grandfather, Frederick William Gascoyne, always told me that the shop in this photograph was the shop his father, Alfred Gascoyne, and his Grandfather, Harry Gascoyne, worked in as hairdressers before they joined the Army in WWI.

My Grandfather with his two brother’s, Alfred and Arthur, were originally standing in the doorway, but the corner broke off and got mislaid many years ago and now only Arthur and part of my Grandfather are visible.

Unfortunately Alfred and Harry never returned to hairdressing at Gascoyne’s after the war. Rifleman Harry Gascoyne, 20th Garrison Battalion The Rifle Brigade died at Sea on 15 April 1917 after “HMS Arcadian” was torpedoed in the Mediterranean Sea. His body was never found, but his name is listed on the Mikra Memorial, Mikra British Cemetery, Thessaloniki, Kalamaria, Greece.

Fred Gascoyne's Christening photo
Fred Gascoyne's Christening

Alfred joined the Essex Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner on 8 May 1915 at Stratford, but was wounded and sent home. He received the silver war badge and was entitled to wear a Blue Chevron with one wound stripe on his uniform. Unfortunately Alfred died of his wounds in Queen Marys Hospital, Putney on 5th February 1921 and the small piece of paper my Grandfather kept in his wallet shows he was buried 56NE West Ham Cemetery. I contacted the cemetery ten years ago as I wanted to visit and pay my respects, but sadly they said they have no record of Alfred being buried there and the area has since been redeveloped.

One of the things that has always puzzled me is where the Gascoyne Tobacconist and Hairdresser shop was situated. The family lived in Leytonstone before the war and in Forest Gate after, so I assume it must be in this area.

If anyone knows where this shop was situated I would love to hear from them.


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