This is Pinner’s First Fire Engine and the fireman was a Mr Beaumont
The first post office opened in Pinner during the 1820s and occupied at least four shops in the High Street before moving to the one above, 23 High Street,now Bishops Walk, in 1903. Pinner’s first telephone exchange was established there at the same time. Both were at 16 High Street, now incorporating Barters Walk, from 1910 to 1932, when a purpose-built post office was erected in Bridge Street and a purpose-built exchange was erected in Marsh Road.
See also: The Telephone in Pinner, by D Perry, and The Post Offices of Pinner, by P Clarke, both in The Pinn, No. 2 (PLHS 1986).
The building still stands in Pinner High Street, beside the ancient church. An early 19th century house on a much older site, it was bought by Edward Barber, and part of it rebuilt as a temperance tavern n 1878, with the new name of Ye Cocoa Tree.
The ground floor had a coffee room and a kitchen where customers could have their on food cooked, while the room above was a club room for local workmen, on payment of a subscription. Though the original purposes do not seem to have enjoyed much success, ‘Ye Cocoa Tree’ became a flourishing tea-room, very popular as a venue for day outings for individuals and organisations from London and nearby villages.
It closed about 1930 and the buildings was taken over by the Pinner Conservative Club. In the 1960s the premises were adapted for commercial use, as which they have remained, under the name of Elthorne Gate.
In late Victorian and Edwardian times the Cocoa Tree was frequently the venue for public meetings, occasional lectures such as penny readings, and meetings and dinners for local organisations. The premises were first managed by William Pendry, a local man, then by outsiders Henry Hickman, followed by Henry Malley Albert Cross, probably the fourth manager, came 1890-91, and managed it until sometime between 1902-06.
The last date is approximate because it depends on street directories published only every four years (1902 and 1906). Albert Cross printed a brochure for the Cocoa Tree, not dated. (the name Norwar/Nowar should be Nower.)
In those days Pinner was still a country village, although linked to London by the Metropolitan line of the underground from 1885. Royal celebrations such as jubilees and coronations were marked by parades, sports and school activities, well supported by local traders.
By 1901 Cross was renting a local mansion called Pinner Place in what is now Marsh Road. It’s not known when he left, but he was not there at the census of 1911. We have no further details about him. Pinner Place was demolished just after World War Two, having been derelict for some decades.
See also Pinner in the Vale, by E.M. ware (1955)