Granny and her shop

Granny's shop

Granny's shop was located on the Esplanade, opposite the Royal Hotel on the corner of Robe Street. 

During the 1860s Granny and her shop were famous and beloved local institutions, especially to children visiting the beach.

J B Cooper tells her story in his book History of St Kilda:

Granny used to sit under the gum tree outside the Royal Hotel and sell apples and lollies. Children flocked to her. James Mooney who owned the Royal Hotel took an interest in her and had a cupboard attached to the tree trunk for her convenience. In 1864 a great storm blew the tree down, smashing her cupboard. Granny's business was wrecked. There was great public concern for Granny. She was a widow with no means of support. A neat, clean, little woman who wore a white 'grannies' cap, her wrinkled face beamed with good nature. Councillor Tullet and James Mooney, assisted by leading St Kilda residents, organised a benefit concert to raise funds to build Granny a weatherboard room which would be suitable as her stall. The civic hall was granted without cost for the event. Council also allowed her permissive occupancy of the land upon which the shop was built. When Granny was too frail to continue her stall a home was found for her in the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum. She died soon after in 1872. Many people wanted to rent her stall from the Council but they said "no, it was Granny's stall. Granny had gone, her stall would go too".

In this photograph, Granny can be seen in her apron, bonnet and walking stick standing at the front of her shop. Benind it is one of the last of the original she-oak trees growing, on the slope of the Esplanade. To the right, steps lead down to the Royal Ladies Baths in the background.

Photo: Granny's Shop, The Esplanade, c.1870 (Port Phillip City Collection sk0608)

HistRec-G27_Grannys_Fruit_stall.jpg

"Granny" asking for financial help. At the age of 87 she is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain her little shop on the Esplanade. December, 1870


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