Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Urban Wandering: Tower Hill through Southwark to Lambeth

I easily have enough photos from the weekend for another post about my urban wandering around Shoreditch, but having posted twice already this week, I think I'll save the third instalment for later. Instead I'm going to share some pictures from the latter stages of the weekend's urban wander, which took us south from Shoreditch, through Tower Hill, across the Thames to Tate Modern, and then through Southwark and Lambeth.
This first picture is of the hydraulic accumulator tower from the Midland Railway's City Goods Depot on the London and Blackwall Line. Of all the ghost signs I've seen to date, this is one of my favourites. The lettering beneath the windows reads, "CITY GOODS STATION AND BONDED STORES". There is also lettering above the windows. I've read in a couple of places that this says "LONDON MIDLAND & SCOTTISH RAILWAY" but I'm pretty sure this is not the case as I can definitely make out the word "STORE" above the two windows on the right. I think there's probably a lot more to explore along this line as it heads east, but that's for another day.
Ghost sign near Tower Gateway DLR station
Ghost sign near Tower Gateway DLR station

So, now we come to south of the river, and the next two pictures are of quite well preserved ghost sign, obscured by a tree. I managed to make out the words "INSU ...", presumably "INSURANCE", followed by "GLASS", "ACCIDENT", "MOTOR" and "ETC". However, after a bit of internet research, it would seem that someone managed to get a photo of this ghost sign when the tree was not quite so big. The full sign actually reads:

SUN
Founded 1710
Insurance
Office Ltd
Fire
Plate Glass
Accident
Motor
Accident
Etc

Ghost sign in Chancel Street, London SE1
Ghost sign in Chancel Street, London SE1

Ghost sign in Chancel Street, London SE1
Ghost sign in Chancel Street, London SE1

I originally only intended to take this next photo to make sure I had a street name against which to post the last two pictures, but as I brought the camera (or rather phone) to my eye, I found that quite an interesting view came into focus. The locked grey metal gates, the light blue woodwork of the windows, with the filled railway arches and bridge in the background.

Chancel Street, London, SE1

This next picture was taken a bit further down Chancel Street and shows the doorway to what used to be the Baths and Wash House. The lettering cut into the stone is covered in years of grime but is still just about legible.

Entrance to old Baths and Wash House, Chancel Street, London SE1
Entrance to the old Baths and Wash House, Chancel Street, London SE1

No ghost signs on this next picture, I simply thought the glasses between the 2nd and 3rd floors of this building in Lower Marsh, were quite unusual interesting.
Lower Marsh, London SE1
Lower Marsh, London SE1

And for my final picture of this urban wander, we return to ghost signs. Given the proximity of the newer building to the left, this was really hard to get an even half-decent picture. A bit of research later suggests what the lettering says, and also indicates that the sign is much more visible from the passing trains.

DOVER CASTLE
Proprietors
The Pioneer Catering
Co Ltd
Luncheons &
 xxx Dinners
xxx  Prices
xxx Stout
I wonder if the words before "Stout" could have been something like "Fine Ales & Stout". The building that this ghost sign adorns was heavily boarded up, with broken windows and graffiti. I'm not sure what the future holds for it, it was some sort of college, but I hope this wonderful ghost sign survives.

Ghost sign on the side of a building in Lower Marsh, London SE1
Ghost sign on the side of a building in Lower Marsh, London SE1

    

So after quite a hectic week and weekend, where I think I have posted almost every day, I'm in need of a bit of a rest now. I'm working up in London for a few days again soon, so as well as posting the final batch of my Shoreditch visit, I hope to have some new wanderings to share.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Urban Wandering: a return visit to Shoreditch, London EC2 (part 1)

With some unexpected time on our hands this weekend because of cancellations to the kids' normal weekend sporting events, we went up to London for the day, primarily to visit a couple of exhibitions, Schwitters in Britain at Tate Britain and Lichtenstein at Tate Modern, but needless to say we also managed to get some, fairly serious, urban wandering.

After spending an hour or so in the first exhibition at Tate Britain, we headed off towards Shoreditch. The luck of the tubes meant that we couldn't quite get to Liverpool Street which was my planned starting point, so we travelled to Whitechapel instead and headed over to Shoreditch from there.

One of the first sights that greeted us was this magnificent chimney, with the ghost sign "TRUMANS" written vertically. Unbelievably the sky was a glorious blue behind us, but unfortunately a dull grey in front. What was slightly odd about this ghost sign was that the "S" of "TRUMANS" is in a different colour and almost unreadable.

Ghost sign on a chimney in Shoreditch, London EC2
 Ghost sign on a chimney in Shoreditch, London EC2

Those of you who read the post on my previous Urban Wander around Shoreditch will have seen this ghost sign before ... well, actually that's not quite true, you will only have seen the lower part of it. Approaching this building from the other direction I realised that there was also lettering between the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building, so instead of just "NET FACTOR" we now have "BUTLER" followed by "NET FACTOR", and after some further research on the internet, there's a suggestion that the latter may in fact be "CABINET FACTOR".
Ghost sign in Shoredtich, London EC2.
Ghost sign in Shoredtich, London EC2.

These next pictures are a series of  three ghost signs, all on the same building in Garden Lane. Each ghost sign has different words, and the ability to decipher each one gets worse as I walked down the street. The first one seems to read, "C.W.Waters Entrance No 72 Great Eastern St" followed by a hand pointing to the left.

Ghost sign in Garden Walk, Shoreditch, London EC2
Ghost sign in Garden Walk, Shoreditch, London EC2

On the second ghost sign I can just about make out (or rather guess) the words:

?
Electric 
?
Goods ?
Empties
Entrance

The word "Electric" is a complete guess but given that I can definitely make out the letters "lect" and that there was an electricity sub station around the corner, I think this is a reasonable guess. And as for "Empties", well, I'm struggling to think of another word ending in "pties".

Ghost sign in Garden Walk, Shoreditch, London EC2
Ghost sign in Garden Walk, Shoreditch, London EC2

On closer inspection, the third one may in fact be the same as the second one, as I think I can just about make out pties" and "Entrance" again.

Ghost sign in Garden Walk, Shoreditch, London EC2
Ghost sign in Garden Walk, Shoreditch, London EC2

This next picture probably does not meet the dictionary definition (if there is one) for a ghost sign, but it's old, battered, and clearly used to say something. Again it's in the Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch, and is a parking restriction of some sort.
Battered, car parking sign in Shoreditch, London EC2
Battered, car parking sign in Shoreditch, London EC2

This next picture definitely looked better in real life and is in fact quite hard to read on the photo. It's actually a metal sign as opposed to a sign painted on to the brickwork, and reads "CABINET BENCHES".
Old (ghost) sign on Hoxton Street, Shoreditch, London EC2
Old (ghost) sign on Hoxton Street, Shoreditch, London EC2

Ghost sign on Commercial Street, Shoreditch, London EC2
Ghost sign on Commercial Street, Shoreditch, London EC2

I did take more pictures of Shoreditch, and also at other places in this urban wander, so will include those in a subsequent blog post, or two.

    

Friday, 26 April 2013

Urban Wandering around Shoreditch, London EC2

My second urban wander of the day was out to Shoreditch. This has been on the “to do” list for a while now so I was quite excited at finally being able to make it. There were so many interesting buildings and railway bridges in various states of disrepair, that I could have taken 100’s of photos. Instead however I decided, for this visit anyway, to focus on ghost signs, of which there were an abundance.

Well, actually the first one is not a ghost sign in the true sense of the phrase, i.e. it is not a painted sign which now only has feint lettering visible, but this is a rusting sign of a disused car park and petrol station on Curtain Street. The car park sign boasts the Meyers Bros Parking System which is a US based car parking company founded in 1964. The car park still exists but the petrol station is long gone and has been replaced, like so many, by a hand car wash.

Car Parking sign in Shoreditch, London EC2
Car Parking sign in Shoreditch, London EC2

Next we have a real ghost sign, also on Curtain Street. The only lettering I can make out is “NET FACTOR” but looking at the right justification of the lettering against the lighter background, I would assume that there was either some sort of logo, or perhaps more letters on the left.

Ghost sign on Curtain Street, Shoreditch, London EC2
Ghost sign on Curtain Street, Shoreditch, London EC2

Unlike other places I’ve been and taken photos, I felt a bit conspicuous in some areas of Shoreditch, so I don’t actually remember where the next ghost sign was. There was an even better one on the front of the building, but that would have really been too much in the faces of the people standing directly beneath it, so I had to settle for the “R.HOLLINGTON” one on the side of the building instead.

Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London EC2
Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London EC2

The next three are all of the same company, W.A.Hudson Ltd., Furnishing Brassfounders, and again just off Curtain Road. When I was taking the first photo I didn't realise that it was partially obscured by a branch from a nearby tree, which slightly spoilt what would otherwise have been a great shot.

Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London EC2
Ghost sign in Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London EC2

No branhces in the way of the next two photos though.

Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London EC2
Ghost sign in Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London EC2

Of the three photos I took of the ghost signs of W.A.Hudson Ltd., this is my favourite. I particularly like the striking contrast of the blue woodwork against the brickwork. It's unfortunately a little grainy (as after all I was only using a mobile phone) and it's a shame about the glare from the windows in the top two doors. And interestingly, a very similar picture graces the cover of a book called Behind the Veneer: South Shoreditch - The Furniture Trade and Its Buildings: The South Shoreditch Furniture Trade and Its Buildings.

Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London EC2
Ghost sign in Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London EC2

My penultimate photo is of a ghost sign unlike any other I’ve seen before. This is a very thin and very tall sign, “POULTON & NICHOLSON” written top to bottom. It looks like there may have been a sign to the left of this at some stage given the difference in brick colours.

Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London EC2
Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London EC2

By the time I found my final ghost sign it was beginning to get dark, so unfortunately the quality of this last picture is not that good. However it was such a great ghost sign I felt obligated to share it. The advertisement if for Gillette blades, and it runs not only across the wall of the building but also out on to the chimney breast as well. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to revisit in better light in the not too distant future, and if I’m honest I’m pretty sure I only scraped the surface of Shoreditch, so there’s plenty more scope for a return visit.

Ghost sign for Gillette Blades, Shoreditch, London EC2

    

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Urban Wandering: London mews, ghost signs and the Joe Strummer subway

To celebrate the final arrival of Spring, I managed two Urban Wanders yesterday – one at lunchtime, the other after work. The first was through some reasonably familiar territory near my Paddington office, but the second was almost completely new to me and covered some of London EC2, around Shoreditch. This blog post however covers the first of these wanders.

The first set of photos are from Gloucester Place Mews, I have definitely walked along this mews many times but I don’t ever recall taking pictures. This is a curious mews in that unlike most others it has a small dog-leg before it really gets going, but is completely straight after that. And unlike some of the other mews I’ve visited recently, this one consists of almost exclusively white houses, so maybe there’s some sort of preservation order here?

Gloucester Place Mews, London W1
Gloucester Place Mews, London W1

Gloucester Place Mews, London W1
Gloucester Place Mews, London W1

Gloucester Place Mews, London W1
Gloucester Place Mews, London W1

Gloucester Place Mews, London W1
Gloucester Place Mews, London W1

Gloucester Place Mews, London W1
 Gloucester Place Mews, London W1

This next picture is of a ghost sign on the corner of Salisbury Place, but try as I might, I am not able to decipher any of the wording ... "BUS", or maybe "BUSY"?
 
Ghost sign on the corner of Salisbury Place, London W1
 Ghost sign on the corner of Salisbury Place, London W1

And finally on this urban wander, we have a subway, but not just any subway, this one just off the Edgware Road, is the Joe Strummer subway. For those of you not familiar with the ground breaking, UK punk bands of the late 1970’s, Joe was the lead singer and guitarist with the Clash, but sadly no longer with us following his fairly recent death.
Joe Strummer Subway, London W1
Joe Strummer Subway, London W1
      

Monday, 22 April 2013

Urban Wandering: Pall Mall Deposit, London

I've passed this building, albeit from a distance, countless times out of the window as the train slows on the approach to Paddington and it's been somewhere I've been curious about for a while. A quick look at the map revealed it was, just about, within the distance I could cover in a lunchtime walk and return back by tube.

A bit of history though before I start. The Pall Mall Deposit was built in 1901 as a safe deposit for furniture, but is now home to several multi-media and service-based businesses.

The building itself is very impressive, but what's always struck me is the signage which is visible even from the passing trains. I'm not sure whether these count as ghost signs on the grounds that they are so visible, and presumably well preserved, but they are signs depicting the previous use of the building.

Pall Mall Deposit building, London W10
Pall Mall Deposit building, London W10

Pall Mall Deposit building, London W10
Pall Mall Deposit building, London W10

Pall Mall Deposit building, London W10
Pall Mall Deposit building, London W10

No doubt about this next photo however, which is a genuine ghost sign spotted on my return journey. The only words I can make out though are "sanitary" and "engineer", and given that they appear to overlap a little then I'm assuming they are actually on overlaid ghost signs.

Ghost sign on St. Charles Square, London W10
Ghost sign on St. Charles Square, London W10

    

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Rural Wandering: a short bike ride through the Deverills in Somerset

I've managed to get a bit out of sync with my postings, and this is in fact from last weekend when we were away for a long weekend at Center Parcs, in Longleat, Somerset. I had not really expected to do much exploring, but was fortunate enough to manage to find time for a couple of bike rides outside the main complex. The countryside was beautiful, the roads were quiet, and on one of the rides the sun was shining. The only downside was on the second bike ride, where my rear disc brakes all but seized up, meaning that it was a tremendous effort to peddle at all, and on the down hill stretches I still had to peddle to keep going. I stopped a few times to take the wheel off, and adjust the brakes which seemed to free them up for a short while, but overall it was really hard going. However, going at this slow speed, I did spot this old AA sign in the village of Brixton Deverill, which marks the villages of Kingston Deverill and Longbridge Deverill both as being 1½ miles away, and London being 99½ miles away.


Old AA road sign, Brixton Deverill, Somerset
Old AA road sign, Brixton Deverill, Somerset


Tales of my Urban Wandering will continue later in the week, with a post about an Urban Wander over to the Pall Mall Deposit building in West London already in progress ... so stay tuned folks.

    


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Urban Wandering: Rossmore Road, London NW1

Having walked many times in most of the different directions from my London office, I was looking over a map of the surrounding area, trying to find somewhere new that was do-able in an hour. Almost immediately Rossmore Road leapt out of the page at me. I have absolutely no idea how I remember this, as I only ever recall hearing the song a few times on the radio back in 1980, probably courtesy of John Peel, but the one time member of XTC and Shriekback, Barry Andrews' song, Rossmore Road, was firmly back in my mind, and I could even remember the tune (in parts). So this was an urban wander with a purpose as opposed to the usual drift.

Street sign for Rossmore Road, London NW1
Street sign for Rossmore Road, London NW1

Rossmore Road, London NW1
Rossmore Road, London NW1

The opening line of the songs is "The 159 runs along it" ... as true today as it was back in 1980.
Bus stop on Rossmore Road, London NW1
Bus stop on Rossmore Road, London NW1

"Next stop on the tube
Marylebone Road
And you can see
Balcombe Street from Rossmore Road
"

Ok, a bit of poetic license here as this is Marylebone train station as opposed to the tube station, and the road is Boston Road (Balcombe Street is the next one along).

View of Marylebone Station from Rossmore Road, London NW1
View of Marylebone Station from Rossmore Road, London NW1

If you've never heard this song before then I urge you to check it out, and if you've never listened to XTC or Shriekback either, well, what can I say ... start with Fossil Fuel and work outwards and onwards from there.

    

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Urban Wandering: Paddington to Sloane Square

Well, as promised when I posted a teaser on twitter on Thursday before I went away for the weekend, here's the full write-up of my most recent urban wander, which this time took me south from Paddington, across Hyde Park,and then through a series of mews and back streets through parts of Kensington, Knightsbridge, and finally on to Sloane Square. I'd wandered through Ennismore Gardens Mews before, but from the opposite direction, and had not ventured further south, so was pleased to drift into some new places and take some photos.

Clock Tower of Russian Orthodox Church, Ennismore Gardens, London SW7
Clock Tower of Russian Orthodox Church, Ennismore Gardens, London SW7


Rutland Mews West, London SW7
Rutland Mews West, London SW7

Steps between Ennismore Street and Rutland Street, London SW7
Steps between Ennismore Street and Rutland Street, London SW7

Egerton Gardens Mews, London SW3
Egerton Gardens Mews, London SW3

An oddly named road as this is clearly not a crescent. The road does curve a little in the opposite direction but I would hardly call it a crescent. Unfortunately I was unable to take a decent photo the other way as the street was littered with smokers and mobile users spoiling my view.

Crescent Place, London SW3
Crescent Place, London SW3

With a bit of energy remaining before heading off to Sloane Square tube station which I'd just spotted, I veered off on a side street to complete a quick loop before heading back. To my great surprise I came across what was once an old London suburb called Hans Town, named after Sir Hans Sloane


Corner of D'Oyley Street and Cadogan Place, London SW1

At first this looked just like an ordinary bollard, but on closer inspection it revealed a name and a date - Hans Town 1819.

Bollard at corner of D'Oyley Street and Cadogan Place, London SW1
Bollard at corner of D'Oyley Street and Cadogan Place, London SW1 

And directly above the Hans Town bollard  was a plaque showing the house name and date, Jubilee House, October 26th 1800.

Jubilee House on corner of D'Oyley Street and Cadogan Place, London SW1
Jubilee House on corner of D'Oyley Street and Cadogan Place, London SW1

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Urban Wandering: Paddington to King's Cross

Well I was more than excited yesterday when I found that not only did I have some free time after work to do some urban wandering, but also that the evening was still light, and the weather warm(ish). During the afternoon as my thoughts drifted towards of possibilities as to where I could comfortably go in the remaining hours of daylight, I eventually decided to walk out from Paddington in the direction of Marylebone High Street, and continue beyond it towards Bloomsbury. There are of course plenty of mews along this route, but many I had not really explored before, and even fewer I'd managed to photograph. And then there was my new, slight obsession with ghost signs to satisfy.

I have walked past the Temperance on the corner of Enford Street and York Street countless times, but I'd never looked up before. I assume the Royal Oak was once a pub that stood at this site, which is now the site of the Temperance. I wonder if perhaps the rendered area below the Royal Oak ghost sign once displayed signage of its own.

Ghost sign for The Royal Oak pub, now The Temperance, Enford Street, London W1
Ghost sign for The Royal Oak pub, now The Temperance, Enford Street, London W1

Crossing the Marylebone High Street took me to some less familiar streets. For anyone looking for mews, there are several running off from Devonshire Street, and I've captured a few below.

Dunstable Mews, London W1
Dunstable Mews, London W1

 I'm not normally a fan of where original brickwork has been painted over, but these blue mews houses in Devonshire Mews South seem to work quite well, being bright but understated simultaneously.

Devonshire Mews South, London W1
Devonshire Mews South, London W1

Devonshire Mews South, London W1
Devonshire Mews South, London W1

 There are several roads, mews and closes with Devonshire in the name, but Devonshire Close had to be the most interesting. It looked impressive enough from the entrance, but on exploring it further I realised that it was in fact more of an H-shape.

Devonshire Close, London W1
Devonshire Close, London W1

Devonshire Close, London W1
Devonshire Close, London W1

Hallam Mews was a less conventional mews, and possibly the first one I've really noticed where the houses are more than two or three storeys tall.
Hallam Mews, London W1
Hallam Mews, London W1

I wished I was paying more attention when I reached this old building as I might have been able to work out what it was originally. It was a couple of minutes north (or north-west) of Russell Square. I'm assuming that given the sign refers to outpatients that it's a hospital, but hopefully some intrepid reader can enlighten me as to its name and purpose. Paul Talling has an excellent Derelict London web site and Derelict London book, but even on his derelict hospitals page I still could not work out which hospital this was.
Outpatients Entrance of abandoned London hospital, somewhere near Russell Square, London
Outpatients Entrance of abandoned London hospital, somewhere near Russell Square, London

My final photograph on this urban wander is of a magnificent, massive, double ghost sign on Regent Square. I could see this from quite a way off and as I approached it just got better and better.

Ghost sign for Bates Salves, Cures Wounds & Sores, Regent Square, London WC1
Ghost sign for Bates Salves, Cures Wounds & Sores, Regent Square, London WC1

    

Sorry if anyone has found this post a little on th elong side today but other than a brief lunchtime break on Thursday, there's unlikely to be any more opportunities for me to do any further urban wandering this week or weekend.

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