In nineteenth-century London, dry goods merchants were among the city's mercantile high class. The Forest City, so called not because of its tree-lined streets but because for many years it inhabited a cleared space in the encompassing forest, was expanded and was made increasingly prosperous by the merchants who lived there in the nineteenth century. As the century wore on, many merchants replaced parts of the old Georgian blocks of the 1840s and 1850s with distinctive stores of their own.
Among the earliest of London's dry goods merchants was Andrew Chisholm, who started his business at 142, Dundas Street in the 1860s. The façade reflects an elegant Italianate style, and the clock he added to the façade in 1867 demonstrated his success. Today, Chisholm's clock is on display at Museum London. Following Chisholm's retirement in 1877, his store was taken over first by James Eaton and then, in 1884, by R.J. Young, another dry goods merchant, who remained at 142, Dundas and the adjoining store at 144 until 1962.
142, Dundas was also home to Grandma Lee's bakery, a popular pastry shop. Since 2012, the building has undergone major restoration and the beautiful stone façade has been completely cleaned up and brought back to its original splendour. The renovators, Hassan Law Firm, report that they found old love letters dating back from the Second World War hidden under the old floors as they were being torn apart in order to be replaced.