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.

    

Saturday, 19 October 2013

An Urban Wander from Paddington to Hammersmith

With some time on my hands, and some reasonably favourable weather, I ended up walking between meetings rather than getting the tube. The pictures are commentary below are from my latest Urban Wander, which once more took me through some familiar territory, but with a new set of eyes.

The first picture is of a huge ghost sign just above Bayswater tube station. I cannot decipher the brand but I can make out the words

SAFETY
RAZORS
AND
BLADES

The manufacturer may be Gilette, or possibly Cleemak, but that's based on having seen previous shaving adverts and not from what I can (or can't) make out in this sign. There's also some italicised writing in the bottom left hand corner which reads

HE
NOW
?????
SHAVES

Ghost sign for Safety Razors and Blades, Bayswater, London
Ghost sign for Safety Razors and Blades, Bayswater, London

 This next ghost sign is in Notting Hill Gate. Being a music enthusiast, and one time devout record collector, I must have walked through Notting Hill Gate hundreds of times but only saw this ghost sign for the first time last week. It's slightly curious that the right hand third of the sign is missing. It doesn't look as though it's been painted over, and there's no suggestion that a building was once built right up against this one, thus overwriting the sign.

DUNDEE
MARMALADE
THE
FINEST
EVER

Ghost sign for Dundee Marmalade, Notting Hill Gate
Ghost sign for Dundee Marmalade, Notting Hill Gate

After having walked through what felt like prime ghost sign spotting territory, I ventured south along side Holland Park. No ghost signs here but still plenty of places of interest. Until I discovered ghost signs, one of my previous passions had been London Mews, and Holland Park Mews was one I'd never seen before. Whilst many other mews are hidden away and quite understated, this one was very grand, with it's own signed entrance.
Holland Park Mews, London
Holland Park Mews, London

Holland Park Mews, London
Holland Park Mews, London

The last picture from this Urban Wander is one I've been trying to get for a while now, but it's in quite an awkward place. The sign is actually on the back of a building along the London Overground line, just before Kensington Olympia station as you approach from the south. I had to stand up tall and hold the phone over my head to get this picture above the parapet of the bridge crossing the railway line. Apart from the first two letters possibly being "RE" the rest is a bit of a mystery.

Ghost sign near Kensington Olympia station, London
Ghost sign near Kensington Olympia station, London

    

Saturday, 12 October 2013

An Urban Wander from Euston to Fleet Street

I wasn't sure whether I was going to be able to undertake any Urban Wanderings last week, but fortunately I found time, and even more fortunately I managed to find some new places to explore. I had two meetings to to attend on consecutive days, which meant that after returning from the first one in Manchester I ended up back at Euston with a couple of spare hours to walk down to Fleet Street for my next one.

First up we have a ghost sign for the boys entrance to an old school. I did have a brief look around for the girls entrance but could find that.

Boys entrance to St. George the Martyr Parochial Schools
Boys entrance to St. George the Martyr Parochial Schools

This next picture is particularly frustrating as there was an interesting looking, old sign, on a shop front, but it was impossible to get a better angle with all the construction work taking place. A quick bit of research however shows this to be:

CATTELL FROM SHEFFIELD LTD
HEPBURN & COCKS

 Old shop sign in Sheffield Street, London WC2
Old shop sign in Sheffield Street, London WC2

No such problems with photographing the next one. Proudly displaying itself, as clear as day, is the old sign for

HOARE
& CO
CELEBRATED
THREE GUINEA
STOUT

This old sign can be found above the White Swan pub, formerly owned by Hoare & Co, the London banking firm.

Old pub sign, New Row, London WC2
Old pub sign, New Row, London WC2

Old pub sign, New Row, London WC2
Old pub sign, New Row, London WC2

I guess that no wander through this particular part of London can be considered complete without including one of London's many Disused Underground Stations, the old Aldwych tube station. It was originally opened in 1907 as Strand station, and this old sign has been revealed with the removal of the station canopy, following the closure of Aldywch station in 1994.
Disused Aldwych tube station, London
Disused Aldwych tube station, London

And there's more just around the corner. The fact that this part of the Piccadilly line was a single station spur, and only had peak time services, meant that it was often used, and is still used, in film sets. One of the most recent being Murder on the Home Front which not only made use of the station itself, but also the labyrinth of other tunnels beneath the surface. Many discussions took place about extending this spur but unfortunately nothing ever came of it, but on the positive side the station exterior is available for all to see, and London Underground do also run tours of the interior.

Disused Aldwych tube station, London
Disused Aldwych tube station, London

As I neared my destination, I just about had time to get some photos walking down Fleet Street. This first one is an old sign for Goslings Bank, now part of the wider Barclays Group.

Old sign for Goslings Bank, Fleet Street, London
Old sign for Goslings Bank, Fleet Street, London

Also along Fleet Street are the former premises of some of long gone newspapers.

DUNDEE EVENING TELEGRAPH
SUNDAY POST
PEOPLE'S FRIEND
PEOPLE'S JOURNAL
DUNDEE COURIER

An impressive building but a shame about the extension on the top.

Former newspaper offices, Fleet Street, London
Former newspaper offices, Fleet Street, London

And so we come to the final picture from this Urban Wander. Above this corner café is a wonderful old sign, depicting not only the street name but also the number.

97 FLEET STREET
Old sign, Fleet Street, London
Old sign, Fleet Street, London

With the evenings getting decidedly darker, I'm not sure how many more after work wanders I'll be able to manage. I have a few wanders that I still need to write-up which will keep this blog busy for a couple more weeks.

    

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