Coincidence is a strange thing, first this morning I received the picture above with the following email
“Dear Michael, saw this on the net and wondered if this bookshop used to be your's or has the photo been wrongly labelled as Ramsgate. If it was your shop, where was it as I can't remember seeing it, the nearest building that I remember looking like this is along from your present bookshop opposite The Hamilton pub. kind regards Ron”
It is of course a picture of Blackburn’s furniture shop and undertakers in Ramsgate taken in about 1910 which has had the signage modified.
Then later this morning I had a historical enquiry about Blackburn’s furniture shop in Broadstairs which is due to cease trading at the end of the month. I should stress here that this isn’t related to Blackburn’s the undertaker in Broadstairs which is continuing to trade.
My guess – an informed guess because I am a shop assistant – is that the story will go something like this, sometime in around 1960 the landlord bought the freehold of the shop for around £10,000 or in around 1970 for around £20,000 – pick your year and amount, it doesn’t really matter. And since then the value of the site has appreciated to around £300,000. well for most of that time the landlord will have received a rent of around 10% of the site value, this is a bit like Monopoly you understand, and worked fine while the goods the shop was selling and the value of the shop all appreciated at about the rate of inflation.
Of course this is beginning to bite the property landlords too, the picture above is of Blackburn’s Shop in Ramsgate now, its been empty for about seven years when the freehold for the whole lot sold for around £90,000 it went in the auction about three years ago with a reserve of £170,000 failed to sell and sold after the auction for £106,000 it comprises three shops larger than mine and market forces suggest that each of these shops has a real value of £20,000. this would suggest a rent of £2,000pa or £40 per week with rates of around £20 per week, dream on though.