Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Urban Wandering - decay, abandonment and rennovation in South London

Hot on the heels of yesterday's post is another brief urban wander around London, this time from our hotel in the morning in search of a traditional English breakfast to offset some of the damage of the partying the night before. These first two pictures are of ghost signs on a building in Union Street, Southwark. The main sign reads:

JAMES ASHBY & SONS Ltd.
EMBASSY TEA & COFFEE

with some fainter signage having something to do with

VENTILATORS

there are other words but I can't decipher these.

Ghost sign in Union Road, Southwark, London
Ghost sign in Union Road, Southwark, London

Ghost sign in Union Road, Southwark, London
Ghost sign in Union Road, Southwark, London

This next photo was taken in Flat Iron Square. I'd never been here before and the only flat iron I'd heard of previously was in New York. This square was however fairly unremarkable, and a lot of it was in varying states of decay and abandonment, but almost certainly being renovated. I can't find any information to suggest what Devonshire House might have been.

Old sign, Devonshire House, in Flat Iron Square, London, SE1
Old sign, Devonshire House, in Flat Iron Square, London, SE1

Of the four photos I've posted here, this is my favourite. Again this is in the middle of a fairly significant redevelopment, this time around London Bridge station. It's hard to imagine that this could ever have been a busy little bar and restaurant, and looking at how skeletal it is now, I'm not sure that it will be again. There are however plenty of reviews on the internet to suggest that La Spezia was once a good quality, and thriving bar and restaurant. I couldn't seem to find any photographs of what this side of the restaurant used to look like.

Old sign, Devonshire House, in Flat Iron Square, London, SE1
Old sign for La Spezia Italian restaurant and bar, London Bridge station, London

Well, that's it for this installment. The great thing about London is that there are endless places to visit, and even places I've visited before always spring new surprises on me.

    

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Ghost signs from Hammersmith and Islington

Today's post is a bit disjointed as it features two separate urban wanders through completely different parts of London, with the only thing in common is that they were taken on consecutive days, within less than one day of each other.

The first two pictures were taken on a lunch time wander from Chiswick to Hammersmith, where for a short while I ventured off the main Chiswick High Road and down Devonshire Road. They are both of ghost signs, but will need the help of someone with a much better detective mind than mine to work out what they say, especially the first one. Although the first one is on the side of a pub, so maybe this helps?

Ghost sign in Devonshire Road, London W4
Ghost sign in Devonshire Road, London W4

This second ghost sign possibly features the word ROOM in the final line, in which case the word above might be SALOON.

Ghost sign in Devonshire Road, London W4
Ghost sign in Devonshire Road, London W4

The following morning was a beautiful day, and with the expectation that it would be a very hot one, I set out early to do some urban wandering before work. This is always my favourite time of the day in London, when it's just beginning to come to life. This ghost sign was so well preserved that I though that the building was still used for its original purpose, but a quick bit of research shows that its recently been renovated. Very glad they kept the signage.

Ghost sign for Diespeker & Co. Ltd., Graham Street, London N1
Ghost sign for Diespeker & Co. Ltd., Graham Street, London N1

Ghost sign for Diespeker & Co. Ltd., Graham Street, London N1
Ghost sign for Diespeker & Co. Ltd., Graham Street, London N1

The old Diespeker building from the canal, London N1
The old Diespeker building from the Regent's Canal, London N1

    

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Doorways, portals and passages - a Secret Garden

After returning fromn Sardinia we spent a week at home, mainly going on bike rides and indulging in the odd pub lunch, but occasionally ventured a bit more further afield by car when our saddle-sore behinds needed a break. Although West Green House is relatively close to us, it's somewhere we'd never visited before. The weather was a bit grey, and we had to dodge the showers, but an intriguing garden to visit, with lots of smaller, enclosed gardens. The gardens were spectacular, but what caught mt attention more than anything else were the doorways. Some were big and bold, whilst others were a bit more hidden, reminding me a little of the children's classic, The Secret Garden.

Circular doorway at West Green House, Hampshire
Circular doorway at West Green House, Hampshire

Doorway at West Green House, Hampshire
Doorway at West Green House, Hampshire

Doorway at West Green House, Hampshire
Doorway at West Green House, Hampshire

Doorway at West Green House, Hampshire
Doorway at West Green House, Hampshire

Doorway at West Green House, Hampshire
Doorway at West Green House, Hampshire

Doorway at West Green House, Hampshire
Doorway at West Green House, Hampshire

Ok, so this last picture is not of a doorway, but it satisified my curiousity enough to include it here. It seems to be some sort of old water pump, possibly still in use.

Old water pump at West Green House, Hampshire
Old water pump at West Green House, Hampshire

    

Friday, 16 August 2013

Ghost signs from Stroud and Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

Although not away on holiday for the second week of my summer break I am off work and doing a few day trips from home. Yesterday I regained my wandering mojo, with a day trip to Stroud and Nailsworth in the Cotswolds. I had driven through this area on a recent journey back from Cheltenham and had made a mental note to stop to look at the area, and in particular the industrial architecture in a bit more detail.

Our first stop was Stroud, although much of what I had wanted to see was in fact in the town before which we only drove through. I got enough of a taster from the car to want to return on foot another time. Stroud itself was an interesting town, nestling in between some fairly impressive Cotswold hills, and the town and immediate surroundings also boasting some fairly steep streets too. We took a wander down to the partially restored canal, and rummaged around in some of the antique and charity shops. This town looked as though it should have had more ghost signs than I found, but for now this small offering will have to suffice.

The first is for either for an old shop called Tailors, or was actually for a Tailors ... I suspect the latter. In a town with lots of independent shops, this chain coffee shop didn't seem to fit at all.

Ghost sign for Tailors, now a coffee shop, in Stroud, Gloucestershire
Ghost sign for Tailors, now a coffee shop, in Stroud, Gloucestershire

 This next ghost sign was on the side of the Inprint book shop. The book shop itself is fascinating enough for its shelves stacked high with old and rare books, but the tile work in the interior, presumably from it's days as a butcher's shop, and the ghost sign outside made it doubly impressive..

PRITCHARDS
DELICIOUS
Home Made
S...........

We couldn't decipher the last word but it begins with an 'S', so could possibly be Sausages or Savouries.

  Ghost sign for Pritchard's, Stroud, Gloucestershire
Ghost sign for Pritchard's, Stroud, Gloucestershire

Ghost sign for Pritchard's, Stroud, Gloucestershire
Ghost sign for Pritchard's, Stroud, Gloucestershire

On leaving Stroud we decided to take a different route home, going through Nailsworth. Sharing the driving, my wife was at the wheel for this stretch of the journey allowing me to take in all the disused and converted mills on the roadside. As we approach Nailsworth I caught a glimpse of a ghost sign from the corner of my eye, and insisted we stopped to go back and have a quick look. This in fact ended up not to be a quick look, but turned out to be a walk around the town and a meal. I took loads of pictures in Nailsworth of which these are a few of my favourites.

Ghost sign for The Old Stamp Office, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
Ghost sign for The Old Stamp Office, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
 
This merchant's building was the one we actually pulled over to see. The first two pictures are more for context than to show off the ghost signs, and aim to convey just how big this building is. What's more, if you are so inclined, this is now part of the accommodation offered by the Egypt Mill, Nailsworth.

C.W.Jones merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
C.W.Jones merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

This picture was taken from the table in the restaurant garden.
C.W.Jones merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
C.W.Jones merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

Three of the four sides had ghost signs, and I suspect the fourth did as well but it had an extension bolted to it so no way to tell. Also, it seems that each side had its own ghost sign, advertising a different trade of the merchant, C.W.Jones.

... AND BUILDER'S MERCHANTS
... S TIMBER, BRICK, SANITARY ...
Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

C.W.JONES COAL AND BUILDERS
MERCHANTS TRUCK LOADS
AT COLLIERY PRICES
 
Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

C.W.JONES
COAL & BUILDERS 

Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
 
Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
 Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
 Ghost sign on old merchant's building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

This must count as one of the most frustrating ghost signs I've even seen. The words RAILWAY HOTEL can just about be seen, peeping out above the scaffolding, but the scaffolding ran around the perimeter of the old hotel at exactly the same height as the ghost sign, and despite approaching it from various angles, this was the best shot I could get ... definitely one to return to once the repairs have been completed.

Ghost sign for the Railway Hotel, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
Ghost sign for the Railway Hotel, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

Given there was a railway hotel, then it figured that there should also be a railway station somewhere, but it actually took us a while to locate. This is now a private residence, but it can be seen clearly from the nearby public road. This was the terminus on the Stonehouse to Nailsworth branch, closed to passengers in the 1940's and to freight in the 1960's. Hard to imagine that Nailsworth could have been big enough for a railway, let alone a sizeable railway hotel.

Nailsworth Railway Station, Gloucestershire
Nailsworth Railway Station, Gloucestershire

Nailsworth Railway Station, Gloucestershire
Nailsworth Railway Station, Gloucestershire

This picture shows the station building and the platform edge.

Nailsworth Railway Station, Gloucestershire
Nailsworth Railway Station, Gloucestershire

This is now almost certainly going to be my last wander before I have to return to work next week. If I'm luck I might squeeze in another at the weekend, but if it's good weather then I really should get out on my bike and burn off some more of those holiday calories.

    

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Urban Wandering from my sun lounger - the flaneur

I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front for the past couple of weeks, mainly from being on holiday where I decided to completely switch off not only from work, obviously, but also to take a break from some of my hobbies which seem to be taking up a huge amount of my spare time. So, I have no holiday snaps to share from the beach or the pool, no mysterious ghost signs discovered in the middle of Sardinia, and no abandoned buildings, but instead I have a fresher mind, a sun tan, and (unfortunately) a bit of extra weight. I did however start a new book on holiday, Edmund White - The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris. To be honest, I'm not normally very good or patient reading books about cities other than London, but this one had me captivated from the first few pages. The last time I was in Paris was probably nearly 20 years ago, and a long time before my own urban wanderings, drifts, derivees and flaneries, discovered through my recent excursion into Psychogeography.

I have the rest of this week off before I return to work next week. So far we've managed a couple of leisurely bike rides through the West Berkshire and North Hampshire countryside. Again, the pace of life has been slow, with just plenty of time to think, and the odd pub lunch. So, that's all folks, for now. I will probably be back to seeking out more curiosities to share next week.

    
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...