Sunday, 15 December 2013

Urban Wandering around Oxford in search of ghost signs

As I have almost certainly mentioned before in previous blog posts, Oxford is one of my favourite cities alongside London. Whether it's a lazy day walking around Oxford's dreamy spires, on on the hunt for Inspector Morse and Lewis locations, it holds an enduring appeal to me. Leaving home early last Saturday morning to get into there before the shopping crowds arrived, I had parked up was breakfasting by 9am. The aim of my day out was Christmas shopping, but as when I go anywhere these days, still hugely inspired by Psychogeography I am always armed with my iPhone just in case there are ghost signs, urban decay, or other items of interest which need to be photographed. The weather was fairly grim and grey but hopefully the pictures aren't too adversely impacted by the poor light.

Ducking down a couple of side streets, away from the main streets, I headed towards the Jericho area. After only a few minutes I had bagged my first ghost sign of the day.

THE
FINEST
TURKEY
COFFEE
1/4
IN ONE POUND
CANISTERS

followed by

TRY
GEO LUMLEYS
 2/6
TEA

And if you look closely you'll see that both ghost signs are in fact doubles.
Ghost sign in Jericho, Oxford
Ghost sign in Jericho, Oxford

 Next up we have a slight hint of urban decay, not too much though, and I suspect if I were to return again this interesting old building will have been renovated.
Boarded up building in Jericho, Oxford
Boarded up building in Jericho, Oxford

The next three photographs are all of the same ghost sign as I was unable to chhose just one which did it justice. It was also one of those signs that no matter where I stood I cound't quite get the angle I wanted. This is another double ghost sign and there is a lot more writing there than I can decipher.

J.B.BLENDOWE 
??? GROCER
AND
CONFECTIONER
Championship(?) Prize(?) & Silver Medalists

Plus of course the HOVIS sign running both top-to-bottom, and also more feintly across the sign as well.
Ghost sign in Jericho, Oxford
Ghost sign in Jericho, Oxford

Ghost sign in Jericho, Oxford
Ghost sign in Jericho, Oxford

Ghost sign in Jericho, Oxford
 Ghost sign in Jericho, Oxford

This next ghost sign is a complete mystery. Not only can I note read it at all, but also I cannot recall where I took the picture. I think it was probably Jericho but may equally have been just off the Cowley Road, which was my next stop.
Ghost sign in Oxford
Ghost sign in Oxford

Ok, so maybe mystery solved, as this next ghost sign was in the centre of Oxford as I moved between Jericho and the Cowley Road area, so that does make me think the one above was in fact in Jericho.

FRANK
BAST 

Ghost sign in Oxford
Ghost sign in Oxford

The Cowley Road section of Oxford revealed a whole different sort of ghost sign. Whereas those in Jericho had all been painted on to the brick, these ones were either painted on to plaster or on signs attached to the brickwork.

F.W.COX
SWEEPER

Ghost sign just off the Cowley Road, Oxford
Ghost sign just off the Cowley Road, Oxford

BUTLER'S
IRONMONGER 

Ghost sign just off the Cowley Road, Oxford
Ghost sign just off the Cowley Road, Oxford

My final ghost sign was also a bit of a mystery. Whilst I'm fairly sure the last word is contractors, the rest of the sign is long gone.

???
CONTRACTORS


Ghost sign just off the Cowley Road, Oxford
Ghost sign just off the Cowley Road, Oxford

So, ovearll not a bad haul, and I even managed to get some Christams shopping done as well.

    

Also, I had not started out with this intention, but the prompt for this week's Sepia Saturday included a few signs, so I thought this would do nicely for that too.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Urban Wandering around Fulham, Parsons Green and Putney Bridge

I think I managed to find time for my latest Urban Wander on what must have been the bleakest days of the year so far - grey, cold and windy, so please excuse the quality and jaunty angles of some of the pictures which follow. Actually these pictures were taken on two separate wanders, although the first wander only resulted in one picture, the first one below. This is of a shop front in the New King's Road just beyond Parsons Green tube station. The shop is in the process of being restored and I'm assuming that this old sign has recently been uncovered as part of the renovation. I'm a bit annoyed I managed to miss out half of the final letter, but I was taking this from the road and worried about the approaching bus,

Old sign in the New King's Road, London SW6
Old sign in the New King's Road, London SW6

The next set of pictures are all from my second wander around a similar area, and feature a mixture of ghost signs and abandonment. First up is a great ghost sign for Brymay Matches which I found along Lillie Road.

FOR BRITISH HOMES
BRYMAY

Ghost sign in Lillie Road, London SW6
Ghost sign in Lillie Road, London SW6

Despite the cold wind, I was inspired by this one, so kept on going, and turning into Munster Road I found another two beauties. First up is a ghost sign for Walpamur Paint spread across two wall panels. The ghost sign on the right hand side reads:

S.G.PURKISS
& CO LTD
STOCK AND
RECOMMEND
WALPAMUR
QUALITY
PAINTS

The one on the left hand side is harder to decipher but contains:

WALPAMUR
WATER PAINT
???
 ENAMEL PAINT
???
SATIN FINISH
Ghost sign in Munster Road, London SW6

Hot on the heels of the previous one, I came across another, even better one, spread across three sections of wall:

REDFERNS
RUBBER
HEELS

CHEAPEST
&
BEST
FULHAM
LEATHER

Ghost sign in Munster Road, London SW6
Ghost sign in Munster Road, London SW6

Towards the end of New King's Road I found another, which is a bit difficult to make it, but I think it says

THE
DRIVE
???
Ghost sign in New King's Road, London SW6
Ghost sign in New King's Road, London SW6

Coming out of the New King's Road and on to the Fulham High Street, I was greeted with signs of abandonment, dereliction and decay ... and if I'm not imagining things then some of the pictures below also have faded lettering in the brickwork of what I assume is an abandoned garage of some sorts.

Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London W6
Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London SW6

Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London W6
Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London SW6

Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London W6
Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London SW6

Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London W6
Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London SW6

Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London W6
Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London SW6

Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London W6
Abandoned buildings on the Fulham High Street, London SW6

Unfortunately I have not been able to find any information as to what this building, or rather set of buildings, may have been.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Urban Wandering: an early morning drift around Southwark, London SE1

Having seen that the forecast for the morning was crisp and clear, and given that my modest hotel room afforded a magnificent view over the Shard, I set my alarm for 6:40am to catch the sunrise. The photos I took from the hotel window are all a bit grainy through the combination of iPhone, dirty hotel room window and my unsteady hand, but I was still quite pleased with them.

Early morning view of the Shard, London
Early morning view of the Shard, London, SE1

Early morning view of the Shard, London
Early morning view of the Shard, London, SE1

I have wandered through some parts of Southwark before, but by no means all of it, so I headed off in a random direction and was soon rewarded with a raft of photo opportunities. This first sign made me chuckle, which is no mean feat at just after 7am. 

COMMIT NO NUISANCE

So I hurried on in case my camera shutter was too noisy for the neighbourhood.

Old sign in Southwark, London SE1
Old sign in Southwark, London SE1

This next sign looks quite new but there was no evidence of a tin-box maker anywhere in the vicinity so I assume this is just a well maintained, or maybe preserved sign.

G.WALLIN & Co. Ltd.
TIN-BOX MAKERS
GLOBE St. WORKS 

Old sign in Globe Street, Southwark, London SE1
Old sign in Globe Street, Southwark, London SE1

No ghost signs or old signs in this next picture, but a beautiful old building nevertheless, with its old windows and old lift arm still intact.
Old building, Cole Street, Southwark, London SE1
Old building, Cole Street, Southwark, London SE1

The final picture on this short by pleasant urban wander took me to Tabard Street where I came across this old building with no less than four distinct, but connected and related old signs.

HARDING & SONS
HARDWARE MERCHANTS
TIN PLATE WORKERS
JAPANNERS

Being new to the term Japanners a quick bit of internet research shows it to be the European imitation of Asian laquerwork.

Old sign in Tabard Street, Southwark, London SE1
Old sign in Tabard Street, Southwark, London SE1


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Urban Wandering: Baron's Court and Fulham, London W6

Having thought I was running out of places to explore during my lunchtime wanders, I decided to head off in the same direction as my very first wander in this area as I was sure there was plenty more exploration to be undertaken in that area ... I was not mistaken.

After walking past the beautifully preserved exterior of Baron's Court tube station, I headed across Margravine Cemetery (aka Hammersmith Cemetery) in the general direction of Fulham. The station exterior itself is huge, but the majority of it is now, and perhaps always was, occupied by small shops and cafes. Purists amongst you may argue that the EXIT sign is not actually a ghost sign, but given that I am fairly sure this is no longer a conventional exit (maybe it's an emergency one) then I'm happy to classify it as one.

Baron's Court underground station, London
Baron's Court underground station, London W6

Exiting the cemetery I walked down through a housing estate and on to Greyhound Road. I spotted this old advertising sign on a shop. If Guinness Time was 12:03 then I'd missed it by half an hour, although in reality I suspect this clock has been stuck at that time for a while now ... still, at least it's right twice a day.

 Old advertising sign and clock for "Guinness Time", Greyhound Road, Fulham, London
 Old advertising sign and clock for "Guinness Time", Greyhound Road, Fulham, London W6

The clock face on the other side of the sign had lost its hands completely, suggesting that either no time is Guinness time, or conversely any time is Guinness time.

 Old advertising sign and clock for "Guinness Time", Greyhound Road, Fulham, London
 Old advertising sign and clock for "Guinness Time", Greyhound Road, Fulham, London W6

Further along Greyhound Road was this beauty. If you look closely it's actually a double ghost sign. In the foreground we have

BUILDERS & DECORATORS
PHONE FUL 2350
1a  J.PREEN & Co.  1a 

but beneath that I can just make out

F.C. EARLES & SONS

Ghost sign in Greyhound Road, Fulham, London W6
Ghost sign in Tasso Road, Fulham, London W6

My list of areas to explore further is growing by the week, but based on what I managed to see in the short time I had for this particular wander, I feel compelled to promote this one to the top of the list and return again soon.

    

Sunday, 10 November 2013

A wander around the Essex coastline (part 3 of 3) - Burnham on Crouch

The final part of our brief jaunt around the Essex coastline took us to Burnham on Crouch, on the windiest day of the year, although fortunately not quite comparable to the storms of 1987 as many had feared. First and foremost in our minds was breakfast, as it was already mid morning and we had not eaten. We found a basic but excellent cafe on the coastal promenade, and arrived with minutes to spare before they called last orders for breakfast. Feeling pleasantly full and warm we set off to explore the town and its immediate area. The coastline was spectacular in a way that I had not expected it to be. I'm not sure these two photos I selected form the tens I took quite do it justice.

Burnham on Crouch, Essex
Burnham on Crouch, Essex

Burnham on Crouch, Essex
Burnham on Crouch, Essex

After not thinking I'd see any ghost signs here, I stumbled across three as we made our way back to the car to start our long journey back home to West Berkshire. The first ghost sign is for  

SWEETING'S DIRECT FISH SUPPLIES

The sign looks very well preserved, or perhaps restored, but the pristine doorway suggests that this is now a residential dwelling. Maybe I'm wrong (and in fact I hope I am) but it seemed hard to believe that fish would now be sold from this particular location.
Ghost sign in Burnham on Crouch, Essex
Ghost sign in Burnham on Crouch, Essex

These next two ghost signs were on adjacent shops. The first is for

CROUCH BAKERY

which now seems to be a travel agent of some sort.
Ghost sign in Burnham on Crouch, Essex
Ghost sign in Burnham on Crouch, Essex

The second has the words

STANDARD TEA WAREHOUSE

nearing the apex of the roof. I did have a quick walk down the alleyway between these two buildings but couldn't find anything more.

Ghost sign in Burnham on Crouch, Essex
Ghost sign in Burnham on Crouch, Essex

So, my first real visit to Essex finally came to an end. We shall definitely be returning.

If you missed the first two instalments then you can catch these at part one (Maldon) and part two (Mersea).

Tune in next time for a more rural wander around Goring and Streatley.


Monday, 4 November 2013

A wander around the Essex coastline (part 2 of 3) - Mersea

The second post in my series of three from the Essex coastline features Mersea. This day started out very grey and wet, but was livened up by a fantastic breakfast of drop pancakes and bacon, washed down with fresh orange juice and extra strong coffee, in the Art Café in West Mersea, after which the sun came out, allowing us to embark on a dry but windy walk.

Boat off West Mersea, Essex
Boat off West Mersea, Essex

Beautiful colours on this small boat, tied up on the beach as we continued our wander around the coast.

Painted boat on Mersea, Essex
Painted boat on Mersea, Essex

As we walked around the coast we saw boats of all shapes and sizes, with some appearing marooned in the grasslands but all with elevated gangways, suggesting that at high tide they are actually in the water and only accessible by means of these walkways.

House boats on Mersea, Essex
House boats on Mersea, Essex

Despite being low tide, these boats are most definitely in the water.

Jetty on Mersea, Essex
Jetty on Mersea, Essex

As if the houses in this next picture were not perfect enough, the name of the road, City Road, grabbed my attention too as I couldn't really think of anywhere less city like.

City Road, West Mersea, Essex
City Road, West Mersea, Essex


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A wander around the essex coastline (part 1 of 3) - Maldon

As mentioned in my previous Urban Wandering blog post, I was planning to spend the following weekend in Essex. Apart from perhaps venturing out to its nearer reaches on the ends of the District and Central tube lines, I can't really say I've ever been to Essex before, so I was very much looking forward to visiting. Following some guidance from a former local, and trying to keep away from the main towns and tourist attractions, we spent the weekend in pleasant coastal towns and villages. I have quite a few pictures to share so will break the post up into three, one for each day of our visit. Parts two and three will cover Mersea and Burnham on Crouch respectively.

Our first stop was Maldon, where after filling ourselves up with an excellent pub lunch overlooking the Blackwater estuary, we set off to explore the town. The weather wasn't great which meant it wasn't ideal for taking photographs, but at least it wasn't raining.

Old (disused?) building on the Blackwater Estuary, Maldon, Essex
Old (disused?) building on the Blackwater Estuary, Maldon, Essex

Now some sort of gym and sports centre, the old sign on the Maldon Iron Works Company Limited building can still be seen.

Old sign on the Maldon Iron Works Company building
Old sign on the Maldon Iron Works Company building

I can never resist walking along any road called Station Road. Often the walk is in vain and there is sometimes little or no evidence that there was ever a railway in the vicinity. Here however, the Maldon East railway station, closed in 1964 and now serving another purpose, is clearly visible. I couldn't see any evidence of the line itself although suspect it must have run close to the Iron Works building in the previous picture.

Maldon East railway station, Essex
Maldon East railway station, Essex

The sun came out briefly while we were wandering around Maldon, and as we headed back to the car park I came across this ghost sign for R.L.ORTH & SONS LTD. An unusual name which took some deciphering as initially I thought the surname was LORTH.

Ghost sign in Maldon, Essex
Ghost sign in Maldon, Essex

Hopefully I'll manage to get the next instalment, Mersea, posted later this week.

    


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Urban Wandering: the Mews of Kensington

After having almost written-off being able to do much urban wandering last week because of the rain and short evenings, I found myself with a lunch break and some autumn sunshine, and the pressing need to get out of the office into the fresh air. This wander took me through some reasonably familiar territory, but not one I think I have photographed or blogged much about.

Apologies for these first two pictures but I have to confess I was only half paying attention and did not make a note of the name of the mews. Maybe, and not fr the first time, an intrepid reader can help me out?

Unknown mews, Kensington, London
Unknown mews, Kensington, London

Unknown mews, Kensington, London
Unknown mews, Kensington, London

From a distance this pub looked like it was still a going concern, but as I drew nearer and saw the flat numbers on the blue doors, I realised it had been converted into residential accommodation. A quick search on the internet showed some reviews from 2010, so it had been a pub until relatively recently.

Former pub, the Kensington Arms, Abingdon Road, London W8
Former pub, the Kensington Arms, Abingdon Road, London W8

 And so on to what is one (or two actually) of my favourite London mews: Radley Mews and Lexham Mews. If I'm honest I was a little disappointed with this first picture as I had managed to partially hide the Radley Mews sign behind the street lamp. I must return and see if I can get an angle where I can get the lamp to sit neatly between the signs.

Radley Mews and Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8
Radley Mews and Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8

Turning right along Lexham Mews, the street curves around eventually taking a sharp left hand turn before emerging through an archway on to the main road.

Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8
Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8

The autumn colours of the leaves looked much better in the flesh but hopefully these next two pictures give a bit of an impression of their splendour.

Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8
Autumn leaves, Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8

Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8
Autumn leaves, Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8

Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8
 Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8

Just before the mews ends it turns sharply left, revealing an arch as it emerges on to the main road.

Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8
Looking out from Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8

Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8
Looking into Lexham Mews, Kensington, London W8

I did think this wander and post were going to be ghost sign free, but as I re-entered the mews to head left into Radley Mews I spotted this. Unfortunately I can only make out the letters "AUTO" so am assuming that, given its proximity to a car garage (more of which later), it says either "AUTOMOBILE" or perhaps "AUTOMOTIVE".

Ghost sign in Radley Mews, Kensington, London W8
Ghost sign in Radley Mews, Kensington, London W8

 I've walked past the Graeme Hunt garage on Radley Mews many time before, often lusting after one of the E-type Jaguars in the forecourt window, but had never seen cars out in the street itself. This was a real treat seeing these two near identical vintage cars ... I can't work out however whether they are Rolls Royces or Bentleys ... sorry, I am not a car aficionado.

Old cars on Radley Mews, Kensington, London W8
Old cars on Radley Mews, Kensington, London W8

Walking on past the old cars, the mews arrives at the intersection with Lexham Mews, so I had gone full circle and time to head back to the office.
Radley Mews, Kensington, London W8
Radley Mews, Kensington, London W8

So, that's it for another week. I spent the weekend after this wander in Essex where I took loads of pictures so hopefully will find time this week to weed out the half-decent ones and draft another blog post.

    

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