Tuesday, 30 July 2013

An Urban Wander from Kensington to Farringdon

With another wonderful summer's evening, and a couple of hours to spare after work, I managed another Urban Wander recently which took me roughly from Kensington to Farringdon, with a short tube ride in the middle somewhere.

I have walked past this sign many times before, and in fact I think I have also eaten in one or more of the restaurants in this road.

Old sign for an Electric Lighting Station, just of High Street Kensington, London
Old sign for an Electric Lighting Station, just of High Street Kensington, London

Initially I was tron as to whether this sign was actually a ghost sign, as clearly the Gloucester Road tube station is still operational. However, given that it's no longer part of the "Metropolitan Railway" I decided this counted.

Ghost sign on Gloucester Road tube station, London
Ghost sign on Gloucester Road tube station, London

By the time I found this old sign, I really was drifting and had found myself in Great Ormond Street. In a narrow road, Barbon Close, I was delighted to see this old sign for

C.BAILEY & SONS
HORSE & MOTOR CONTRACTORS

Old sign in Barbon Close, London WC1
Old sign in Barbon Close, London WC1

As the evening grew darker I found this very impressive ghost sign near Farringdon, but you're going to have to take my word for this as it was dusk and the picture does not show the sign very well. Definitely one to return to during daylight.
 
Ghost sign near Farringdon, London
Ghost sign near Farringdon, London

By the time I found my final ghost sign it really was quite dark, but even with my faltering eyesight I can make out the words

CONTRACTORS

and if you look closely there are actually multiple ghost signs here, one running horizontally beneath the windows, and another one, or possibly two, between the windows.

Ghost signs, Clerkenwell, London
Ghost signs, Clerkenwell, London



Sunday, 28 July 2013

Urban Wandering around Barnes, London

With time on my hands after work one evening last week, I decided to head south, across the Hammersmith Bridge, with a vague notion that I'd end up somewhere interesting ... and I did, Barnes. I've been to Barnes a couple of times before, once during a drift along the Thames, and the other time a more deliberate visit to the Wetland Reserve. I was quite surprised therefore when I found that was more to Barnes than I first saw, in fact a lot more. I didn't take many pictures on this wander, but those below are some of my favourites.

This first picture is of a crumbling, embossed, stone sign on what was the former Metropolitan Police Station, now converted into residential properties.

Former Metrpolitan Police Station, Barnes, London
Former Metropolitan Police Station, Barnes, London

As I headed towards the Thames my thirst and hunger had reached a peak. I spotted this restaurant which had a spectacular first floor terrace-cum-veranda, running around the perimeter of the building. A great place for beer with a stunning view.

Time for a quick beer, overlooking the Thames at Barnes, London
Time for a quick beer, overlooking the Thames at Barnes, London

I didn't capture any rowers in this shot, so you'll have to take my word for it that the river was, at one point, swarming with them.
Rowing club across the Thames at Barnes, London
Rowing club across the Thames at Barnes, London

So, all in all, another beautiful London suburb to add to my list, and another definitely well worth another visit. I did look in the windows of a couple of estate agents on the walk back, but unless I win the lottery I don't think I'll be moving there any time soon.

    

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Urban Wandering around London W14

So, as my Psychogeography inspired Urban Wanderings continue, I managed to escape for another lunchtime urban wander again this week. I shouldn’t complain about the weather but it was blisteringly hot. My wander took me towards Kensington Olympia station where, what I assume was once an impressive motorail terminal, is now a car park. As I walked through the residential streets to the west to the railway line, trying as best I could to keep into the shade, I eventually crossed over the London Overground line and was rewarded with this quite spectacular mews running along the side of the train line. As with many London mews, this really could have been anywhere and I was quite surprised when I exited out of the northern end of the mews to be back on a main London A road.

Hansard Mews, London W14
Hansard Mews, London W14

Street lamp on Hansard Mews, London W14
Street lamp on Hansard Mews, London W14

Hansard Mews, London W14
Hansard Mews, London W14

As I drifted back in the general direction of Olympia I came across a ghost sign, or more accurately two ghost signs, in Richmond Way. The one on the left needs no deciphering and clearly says DAIRY but the one on the right is a bit more of a mystery. I can just about make out the words PASTRY, CRESSWELL, HOME MADE and BAKERY

Ghost sign in Richmond Way, London W14
Ghost sign in Richmond Way, London W14

Ghost sign in Richmond Way, London W14
Ghost sign in Richmond Way, London W14

 Next find on the wander was this little road which, despite sitting close to some high rise housing, still had a village feel to it, and also a reminder of colonialism, but perhaps should have now been renamed Sri Lanka Road.

Ceylon Road, London W14
Ceylon Road, London W14

As I neared the end of my wander, I walked past Blythe House and the West Kensington Post Office. Blythe House is a huge and impressive looking building, originally built as the Head Quarters of the Post Office Savings Bank but now used as storage for the Victoria and Albert, and Science museums. The post office is still very much in use, but this stamp machine inset into the wall outside is clearly not.

Disused stamp vending machine, West Kensington
Disused stamp vending machine, West Kensington

 I would have liked to get closer to Blythe House but access seemed restricted so the best I could manage was this shot, from a distance, of some sort of chimney tower.

Blythe House, London W14
Blythe House, London W14

Finally, as I neared my destination, I found this ghost sign. All I can make out of the lettering behind the new sign is that whatever the sign was, it started with a “C” and ended with an “S”. I only managed time for the briefest internet research but could find nothing obvious to suggest what this once said, but I’m sure the words beneath the new sign have no relation to “Permanent House”, somewhat ironically appearing on what looks like a temporary sign on top of the original signage.

Ghost sign in Hammersmith Road, London W14
Ghost sign in Hammersmith Road, London W14

     

Friday, 12 July 2013

An Urban Wander around Hammersmith and Kensington

A crazy, crazy week at work, and I really had to force myself to leave the office at lunchtime to get some air. The pictures and commentary below are from three separate wanders over the space of two lunchtimes and one early morning.

The street below, Kensington Church Street, is probably one of my favourite streets in London. Unassumingly tucked away behind the bustle of Kensington High Street, it would be easy to miss, despite being home to Barbara Hulanicki's Biba in 1966.

Kensington Church Walk, London W8
Kensington Church Walk, London W8

Walking up Kensington Church Street and into the streets and mews beyond, is Drayson Mews. A quaint little mews, unusually curved, with a hairdressers and car garage.

Drayson Mews, London W8
Drayson Mews, London W8

 Later in the same week I found myself in Hammersmith, returning from a pleasant lunchtime drift around Ravenscroft Park, when I spotted this ghost sign.

LOCAL AGENTS
FLATS HOUSES
SHOPS

Ghost sign, Hammersmith, London
Ghost sign, Hammersmith, London

And finally, on my morning stroll into one of the offices, I noticed this ghost sign for the first time, despite having walked past it many times before.

KINNIMONT
& SONS
TRADE
ENTRANCE

I somehow doubt that much trade enters through this portal today.

Ghost sign, in a mews entrance near Paddington, London
Ghost sign, in a mews entrance near Paddington, London

Ghost sign, in a mews entrance near Paddington, London
Ghost sign, in a mews entrance near Paddington, London

    

Thursday, 4 July 2013

An Urban Wander through London W9 and W10

Despite the clammy weather today, I ventured out for a lunchtime urban wander around London W9 and W10. I guess this was more of a drift than usual as I had no plan of where I was going or what I was looking for. My first find was this ghost sign for a fish bar. I assume at the time the name of the fish bar appeared above the remaining words, but the missing words and the fish bar itself both seem long gone.

Ghost sign for a Fish Bar, London W9
Ghost sign for a Fish Bar, London W9

I didn’t realise how wonky this next picture was until I loaded it up, but the key attributes of the shot can still be clearly seen, revealing carved lettering which reads

Queens Park Hall Artizans, Labourers & General Dwellings Company Limited

I couldn’t see what the building was used for today, and there were no other indications on the adjacent face to suggest its current or former use either.

Old sign for the Queens Park Hall Artizans, Labourers & General Dwellings Company Limited
Old sign for the Queens Park Hall Artizans, Labourers & General Dwellings Company Limited

Looking a bit like an alien invader from War of the Worlds, this water tower seems to have been given a make-over, and it now seems to be available to rent. Also, I didn't realise quite how menacing the sky looked when I took this.

Converted water tower, London W10
Converted water tower, London W10

Finally on today’s wander I found this impressive looking chimney, which I assume formed part of a bigger building at some stage … possibly a factory or a kiln. What I initially thought was a ghost sign turned out to be graffiti on fairly new paint. Shame about the exposure.

Old chimney, London W9
Old chimney, London W9


    
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