Sunday, 29 September 2013

Urban Wandering: Paddington to Old Street

As I left home early on Tuesday morning, the weather was a bit dreary, but by the time the train had arrived in Paddington, the sun was just about beginning to burn off the early morning mist, and my plans for the day were set. I needed to attend a meeting near Tottenham Court Road, and as it didn't start until 10 am this provided with me an ideal opportunity for some Urban Wandering. I was also able to continue my wander after the meeting and drifted all the way out to Old Street. Some of the roads I wandered down were familiar, although as seems to often happen, I spotted some new ghost signs along the way. Other roads were completely new to me.

First up we have a ghost sign for WATSON BOOK BINDER on Crawford Street, London W1. This is definitely one I've walked past many time before. Not sure how I missed it.


Ghost sign on Crawford Street, London W1
Ghost sign on Crawford Street, London W1

On to one of my favourite London streets, Marylebone High Street, this next one is the former Queen's Head, now simply The Marylebone. Again I have walked past this many times but never noticed the old signage before.

Ghost sign for the Queen's Head, Marylebone High Street, London
Ghost sign for the Queen's Head, Marylebone High Street, London

And so we start moving into new territory for me. Well, I suspect it's not new territory, but it's certainly new to me with my recently developed sense of interest in psychogeography. Unfortunately I did not note down the name of the road where this particular ghost sign was found, but hopefully some knowledgeable reader can tell me. I can decypher all but the very top line, and the final word. Any clues anyone?

????
NIGHT GLASS
SECOND HAND
FURNITURE
ANTIQUES ????

Ghost sign, London W1
Ghost sign, London W1

I assume that this sign is from a much more recent establishment than most of the other ghost signs in this post, but nevertheless it's certainly not the bar or club that it used to be.

Blu Soul, Tottenham Street, London W1
Blu Soul, Tottenham Street, London W1

This next sign is a bit curious. Everything else about the sign and the building suggests it's still in use, everything that is except for the missing letters in the middle of the sign.

Old sign for Hogarth Studios, Charlotte Street, London
Old sign for Hogarth Studios, Charlotte Street, London

These next two pictures are of Heals department store in Tottenham Court Road. These signs are actually on the Alfred Mews side of the building, and are of course not ghost signs, but they are old signs advertsing their trade as GARMENT MAKERS and BEDDING MAKERS.

Old signs on the side of Heal's separtment store, Alfred Mews, London
Old signs on the side of Heal's department store, Alfred Mews, London

This sign advertises the shop's LIGHTING department.

Old signs on the side of Heal's separtment store, Alfred Mews, London
Old signs on the side of Heal's department store, Alfred Mews, London

Further along Tottenham Court Road, I came across a ghost sign for J&J Goddard.

Ghost sign on Tottenham Court Road, London
Ghost sign on Tottenham Court Road, London

As the time drew near for me to get to the location of my meeting, I started toward my destination and found this old sign for a former Telephone Exchange on North Crescent. Quite a grand building for a telephone exchange compared to some of the hideous monstrosities that house them these days.

Old sign for former telephone exchange, North Crescent, London, WC1E
Old sign for former telephone exchange, North Crescent, London, WC1E

As the weather had improved even more during the day, I managed to get out for 20 minutes at lunch time. My first find was this incredible building on the corner of Store Street and Ridgmount Street, which used to be the Bloomsbury Petrol Station, now converted into a restaurant.

Former Bloomsbury petrol station and forecourt, Store Street, London
Former Bloomsbury petrol station and forecourt, Store Street, London

The building now, on the corner of Coptic Street and Little Russell Street, houses a pizza restaurant and a museum, amongst other things, but is the former DAIRY SUPPLY COMPANY LIMITED. The stone carved lettering is immaculately preserved and can be seen on both visible sides of the building.

The former Dairy Supply Company Limited building, Coptic Street, London
The former Dairy Supply Company Limited building, Coptic Street, London

The former Dairy Supply Company Limited building, Coptic Street, London
The former Dairy Supply Company Limited building, Coptic Street, London

The former Dairy Supply Company Limited building, Little Russell Street, London
The former Dairy Supply Company Limited building, Little Russell Street, London

After spending probably too much time urban wandering over lunch when I should have been networking with fellow attendees, I reluctantly made my way back to the meeting. However, my day was far from over and after the meeting had finished I managed to continue my drift. These next three pictures are from Brownlow Mews. I had been here before, once during the day when I somewhat spectacularly failed to even notice these wonderful ghost signs, and once when I did actually notice them but it was too dark to take any decent pictures. So, it was with delight that I found myself here again, in good light, with some spare time to snap away. Of the three or four ghost signs here, this one is the most legible.

SHOP
OFFICE
& ???
FITTERS

Ghost sign, Brownlow Mews, London
Ghost sign, Brownlow Mews, London

On the next picture I can make out

???? CONTRACTORS

but cannot tell what's written before it.

Ghost sign, Brownlow Mews, London
Ghost sign, Brownlow Mews, London

As for these next two I have no idea at all.

Ghost sign, Brownlow Mews, London
Ghost sign, Brownlow Mews, London

Ghost sign, Brownlow Mews, London
Ghost sign, Brownlow Mews, London

As I neared the end of my journey, I came across this intriguingly named Bleeding Heart Yard, near Farringdon. I am not sure whether this 2 is a ghost sign or not, but I like it anyway so am going to include it as one.

Possible ghost sign in Bleeding Heart Yard, London, EC2
Possible ghost sign in Bleeding Heart Yard, London, EC2

Possible ghost sign in Bleeding Heart Yard, London, EC2
Possible ghost sign in Bleeding Heart Yard, London, EC2

I'm pretty sure there's no Air Agency below this old sign anymore. A great sign, and one of my favourites to date.

Old sign for E.Higgs, Air Agency, St. John's Lane, London EC1
Old sign for E.Higgs, Air Agency, St. John's Lane, London EC1

After waiting patiently for a gap in the traffic so I could stand in the middle of the road to get this next picture, I was pleased with the final shot, particularly as I was only using my mobile which can be a bit hit and miss.

LEAD & GLASS
GEORGE FARMILOE & SONS LIMITED
MERCHANTS

Ghost sign, Clerkenwell, London
Ghost sign, Clerkenwell, London

Inspired by my finds so far, I decided to keep going and was rewarded with this ghost sign in Old Street.

J.P.RESTAURANTS LIMITED
REFRESHMENT CONTRACTORS

Ghost sign, Old Street, London
Ghost sign, Old Street, London

Having walked for what felt like hours to my poor old feet, I didn't manage to note the location of this final ghost sign, other than that it's somewhere to the south of Old Street. Unfortunately it's another of those ghost signs that's hard to read. I can see ALL KINDS and CASH but not a whole lot else. Again, hopefully some intrepid reader can assist.
Ghost sign, near Old Street, London
Ghost sign, near Old Street, London

So there you have it, a pretty long wander but hopefully enough decent pictures for you all to complete the journey with me.

    

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Ghost signs in Marlborough, Wiltshire

I have been to Marlborough countless times as it's one of my favourite, local places to visit. I always felt it should be the place to have at least one ghost sign, but it wasn't until today that I spotted one. In fact I spotted two, but they were quite elusive.

The first ghost sign is for a POST OFFICE, which is now an Italian restaurant. The post office sign is a little hard to spot, but it's just above the canopies.

Ghost sign for Post Office in Marlborough, Wiltshire
Ghost sign for Post Office in Marlborough, Wiltshire

This next one is even less obvious than the one before. It's for the IVY HOUSE HOTEL and the writing is on the wall just below the top set of windows. I found some older photographs of this on the internet and it appears that this ghost sign was left behind by white lettering which was fixed to the wall. The wall was also, appropriately, covered in ivy. It would seem that after some protest, the hotel was closed in 2011 to become a boarding house for Marlborough College.

Ghost sign for the Ivy House Hotel, Marlborough, Wiltshire
Ghost sign for the Ivy House Hotel, Marlborough, Wiltshire

For anyone reading this who has never visited Marlborough, I simply cannot recommend it enough. The picture below, which I took on a much brighter day last year from the top of the former church tower, gives a good view of the main road, which quite often has a market running along the middle if the street.

Marlborough from the old church tower
Marlborough from the old church tower


Monday, 9 September 2013

Urban Wandering - Ghost Sign For Hammersmith Palais

Firstly apologies for the corny title of this blog post, but I couldn't resists paying homage to the Clash song White Man in Hammersmith Palais. I have seen this ghost sign almost weekly since we moved offices but it wasn't until last week that I found a decent opportunity to photograph it, and even then a tube pulled in just as I was doing so. The ghost sign is for the PALAIS DE DANSE, HAMMERSMITH or perhaps better known as the Hammersmith Palais. This used to be a popular venue even when I was a kid, and I remember going to see The Cramps there way back in the mid 1980's - I may even still have the t-shirt somewhere. It's such a massive ghost sign that, with my iPhone, I was unable to get it all in in one or two shots

Ghost sign for the Palais De Danse, Hammersmith tube station, London
Ghost sign for the Palais De Danse, Hammersmith tube station, London

Ghost sign for the Palais De Danse, Hammersmith tube station, London
Ghost sign for the Palais De Danse, Hammersmith tube station, London

Ghost sign for the Palais De Danse, Hammersmith tube station, London
Ghost sign for the Palais De Danse, Hammersmith tube station, London

    

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Urban Wandering - an early morning drift around London E1

Although we are still officially in the last few weeks of summer, the evening's are drawing in fast and soon it will be getting dark too early to manage any significant wanderings after work. However, it's still sufficiently light in the mornings before work. As I have mentioned before, early mornings in London are my favourite time of day, watching the city as it comes to life. This particular Urban Wander was over some previously visited territory, but it all had a very different feel to it in the early hours of the morning.

Retaining wall of partly demolished building, Paul Street, London
Retaining wall of partly demolished building, Paul Street, London, E1

This particular sight ticked all the boxes for me: abandonment, decay, a ghost sign and some pretty impressive street art.

MERCHANT & TAYLOR

Ghost sign on abandoned building, Gun Street, London E1
Ghost sign on abandoned building, Gun Street, London E1

Street art, Shoreditch, London
Street art, Shoreditch, London

This next picture was taken from what I think would have been beneath the railway tracks as they left Broad Street station, a former London terminus. The tracks and bridge are long gone, as has Broad Street station. Or, it might have been the original path of the East London tube line, which after a brief closure was diverted over a new bridge in Shoreditch. Hopefully some knowledgeable reader can clarify for me.
Street art, Shoreditch, London
Street art, Shoreditch, London

I initially thought this was a ghost sign, as each time I have passed I have never seen any signs of life in this shop, but it would seem, assuming the internet articles are up to date, that it is still a current concern. Update: it would seem that Verde & Co is now a cafe, so I guess the signage can now be genuinely regarded as a ghost sign.

Possible ghost sign in Brushfield Street, London E1
Possible ghost sign in Brushfield Street, London E1

I actually took this next picture as I liked the alleyway. It wasn't until I started looking at it in more detail that I realised there's a feint ghost sign as well.
Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London E1
Ghost sign in Spitalfields, London E1

This next building was, I think, on the corner of Artillery Lane and Crispin Street, but I can't be sure. I am also not sure what the building used to be, but given the MEN and WOMEN signs, I had assumed it used to be a baths of some sort, but thanks to Moses'n'Luke who identified this as the Providence Row Night Shelter and Refuge. The women's entrance can be seen clearly in the photograph here.

Ghost sign the men's entrance to the Providence Row Night Shelter and Refuge, Spitalfields, London
Ghost sign to the men's entrance to the Providence Row Night Shelter and Refuge, Spitalfields, London

Ghost sign to the women's entrance to the Providence Row Night Shelter and Refuge, Spitalfields, London
Ghost sign to the women's entrance to the Providence Row Night Shelter and Refuge, Spitalfields, London

Not sure how I missed this ghost sign on my previous wanders around the Spitalfields area. Maybe it was the fact that the place was almost deserted and I didn't have to dodge the crowds that helped.

PERCY DALTON (LONDON) LTD
NUT IMPORTERS & ROASTERS
 
Ghost sign in Spitalfields, London E1
 Ghost sign in Spitalfields, London E1

These next three pictures are all from Toynbee Street, and paint quite a sorry picture of abandonment and decay. There were some shops in between these ones which looked as though they could still be in business, but these three were definitely not.

Abandoned shop in Toynbee Street, London E1
Abandoned shop in Toynbee Street, London E1

Abandoned shop in Toynbee Street, London E1
Abandoned shop in Toynbee Street, London E1

Abandoned shop in Toynbee Street, London E1
Abandoned shop in Toynbee Street, London E1

As I was making my way back to a tube station so I could get to the office, I came across another fine piece of street art, which I think was in Wentworth Street.

Street art, New Goulston Street, Spitalfields, London E1
Street art, New Goulston Street, Spitalfields, London E1

With my walk almost over, I ended up drifting to Aldgate station instead of Liverpool Street as planned, which was more than acceptable as it gave me a great opportunity to snap this stunning piece of London Underground architecture.

Aldgate Station, London
Aldgate Station, London

    
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