Beryl Cheeseman has put together an impressive collection of personal memories and factual accounts of life in the famous Upper Norwood or Crystal Palace Triangle. One can dip into it at almost any point and enjoy a description of the various shops and business that once made the Triangle a busy and successful location. Unlike other books and publications, it includes a lot of what, for many people still living, will be the sharing of enjoyable memories of shops and the individuals who ran them for many years. The world has of course changed, and so has the Triangle. It is becoming increasingly residential due to the unremitting demand for housing, and although, apart from one short stretch in the Church Road frontage, the shop and business frontages have been retained, a lot of them now restaurants and cafes of various kinds, the interior or backland of the Triangle has ceased to be a place of businesses and small workshops. The pattern of shopping, with the advent of the supermarket, has of course also changed, and the colourful pattern of shops described and illustrated in Beryl Cheeseman's excellent book is unfortunately no more. Nevertheless, the book includes many of what, for many, are living memories. If one had to ask for more, it would be for some kind of plan that showed, today, the precise location of many of the shops, but many will remember exactly where they were. Every book, however carefully put together, is bound to include something unusual. The Queen of the Gipsies was Margaret Finch, and not Gypsy Rose Lee, a famous American striptease performer with a colourful history! But compared with the book's overall merit, that is a very minor blemish indeed.
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