30 January 2014

The changing face of Tottenham Lane

The Broadway and Clock Tower area still has a few hints here and there of it's Edwardian hey day (actually, that's a thought: is it busier/ more popular now?!) and at some point soon I need to put together another Crouch End collection.
I was out for a walk last weekend when I spotted a pair of shops signs I hadn't seen before just north of Crouch End Broadway. They've probably been visible for a while, but I hadn't been in that stretch of Tottenham Lane for more than a year.
The signs show how the shop used to be split into two complete with lovely signs and panelled bubble-glass windows. I am really pleased to see that the latest owners have seen fit to leave these lovely old examples of hand-lettering on show, although those spot lights did rather ruin the composition of my photographs(!). We can now see that there was Margaretta, a high class dress maker at No.46a, and Rickard's shoe repairs at No.40.
I continued my walk north along Tottenham Lane towards Hornsey Station. On the right hand side of the road I stopped to take a snap of Broad Lane (pic 2). It's an evocative little thoroughfare but not that broad at all. But probably back in the day everywhere else was just footpaths and alleys? Or did broads hang out there (!).
Close by is a doorway that retains an element of Edwardian wooden door structure and some floor tiles (pic 3), albeit partially obscured where the wall has been moved perpendicular to the street at some point. The hardware shop further along shows how the doorway used to look, complete with curved entrance and tessellated tiles (pic 4, image squished vertically to fit box!).
The pics on the middle row show some changing facsias. Back in June 2008 the curved row of shops at the junction of Tottenham Lane and Church Lane had been emptied out. Pic 5 shows how the arched Edwardian shop fronts on Church Lane where more or less intact at that point. Pic 6 is a google streetview pic which shows how the two doorways along that side have been removed to, I assume, create a larger space for rent. As I write this the space is still empty. See the full 2008 image here and the rest of the terrace to the right.
But I am more upset about the loss of the old sign for A. J. Bicknell, boot & shoe repairer, which used to sit facing/adjacent to the curved terrace at No. 43 (pic 7). As you can see by pic 8, taken last week, it has been covered up by Tuckers CRIMINAL solicitors. Oh the irony. I am hoping that it's still under because the new sign looks to be quite thick. And, what would be the point in destroying the old one? But hey, stranger, more annoying things have happened – see here.
Next door is George's Fish Bar (pic 9) which has an interesting interior. I will be writing about that in a subsequent post.
The hand-painted sign for Highgate Optical Manufacturing Co., along with its lovely little manicule pointing towards the goods entrance, has also bitten the dust. Pic 11 is a snap from google streetview which shows the wall has been given a lick of paint (the wall has since been painted white).
So now I am keeping my eye on that cute little hut directly over the road currently used by Cyrpus Car Service. I suspect this originally used to be a shop or kiosk connected to Hornsey Station. A new awning wouldn't go amiss there!
As usual... watch this space...

27 January 2014

Black Cat Cabaret revisted

Last year I reported that I'd had a fabulous evening at one of the Black Cat Cabaret evenings at The Café de Paris on Leicester Square.
Well, I am glad to report that the Black Cat has spread its wings and can now be found at two more venues.
I went along to the Camden Centre last Friday and had another great evening – it was the best night out I'd had in a long time.
The show is fabulous, fascinating, frisky, faux-french and fun. After the main show there's dancing to some truly great sounds all put together by a clever DJ who mixes all sorts of genres. I found it almost impossible to leave the floor. I only paused to watch the other balancing and acrobatic acts that came on intermittently throughout the DJ set.
Find out more about Black Cat Cabaret evenings here.
I'm going again soon.... hope to see you there.
Above is a collection of my London images featuring dancers, acrobats and black cats, including two boot scrapers, Dick's Whittington's cat and Dr Johnson's cat, plus an old pained wall ad for Black Cat Cigarettes (top right) and two pics of the the actual Carreras cigarette factory at Mornington Crescent (bottom left x2).

24 January 2014

New header and slight redesign for Jane's London

As you can see, I have been busy making a Jane's London header for the site using images of lettering, mosaics, coal holes and doorbells.
Below is one of my usual montages showing the same images, plus another doorbell.

20 January 2014

All change at Chambers Wharf

Chambers Wharf, on Bermondsey Wall, SE1, has stood derelict for many decades. Last year the blue boards went up and renovation process started along the road.
An artist's impression on the hoardings shows how shiny new boxes of glass are being built to contain living apartments. To me they look like the kind of boring office blocks you see on city ring roads.
Fair enough, the Old Chambers Wharf cold storage building was rather large but couldn't they have designed something a little more inspiring rather than these huge enormous glass lumps?
Peeking through the fences it's evident that the riverside area has yet to be built on, but, as you can see from a banner around the corner; the locals aren't happy.
Watch this space.

P.S. How much is 'affordable rent' these days?

16 January 2014

Tottenham's Army Club ghost sign RIP

Travelling back from that big blue and yellow shop last week I was dismayed to see that the old Army Club cigarettes advertisement adjacent to the Tottenham Village's High Cross, was no longer visible. I took a snap from the bus and when I got home I checked against my old photos.  
I can now confirm that it's gone. 
A new building has been constructed next door which echoes sympathetically the style of the old building, but for some inexplicable reason, even though the Army Club sign would not have been visible even if you were stood in the narrow alley, the whole side wall has been completely whitewashed, therefore obliterating the painted ad. 
Here is the progression over the last six years:

In 2008 it was covered by a modern advertising panel, then in 2010 the old sign was revealed complete with part of a lovely rendition of the smirking officer who was the Army Club's motif and appeared on most of the brand's ads and tins. The third pic is the one I took from the bus last week.

What a shame. 
So it got me thinking about all the other old painted advertisements with life-like images on them that can be found in the London area. 
Below is a montage of the best ones I have found. They include ads for well-known brands such as Gillette, Brymay, Redferns and Black Cat cigarettes. Perhaps some of these have since been covered up too. Please do let me know if you have updates.
Find these images in my Ghostsigns of London folder on Flickr.

8 January 2014

A Rotherhithe Forage

Last Sunday I met up with a group of like-minded friends for what I call 'A Forage On The Foreshore'.
This is the second of these gatherings I have organised – I check the tides for the best day with a late morning low tide so that we can end up in a nearby pub for drinks and food.
Last November we met in Wapping. This time the start point was on the opposite side of the river at Cumberland Wharf, Rotherhithe. We made our way slowly west along the foreshore, ending up quaffing pints of Sam Smith's and eating lunch in The Angel on Bermondsey Wall.
I now plan to do this approximately every month, visiting a different stretch of the Thames each time. If you'd like to come along for the next one on February 5th then please email me and I will and send you meet-up details in due course.

2 January 2014

Kew Gardens Illuminated Trail – only 2 days left

As above, there's only 2 days left to see this and tickets still available.
I really liked the colours on the uplit trees, the lanterns in the trees, the light patterns (gobos) on the paths and the Lotus Flower reflected in the pool below it. The finale with the Palm House lit up from inside changing to music is mesmerising.
Along the route there are these Gilliam-esque horn-shaped speakers emitting sounds, words and information about the plants and trees.
Just one criticism regarding the Fibonacci circle of flames (not shown here)... the spirals couldn't really be fully appreciated from the path around the edges. They ought to have constructed a mirror at 45 degrees to clearly show the pattern created by nature's numbers, as can be easily seen on broccoli, cauliflower and pineapples.
If you go, dress up warm and be aware that the paths are a bit muddy and puddly so be sure to wear sturdy waterproof shoes. A torch is handy, though not necessary.

1 January 2014

New places for 2014

Here are some news
(a sentence that would normally be grammatically incorrect; but, in this instance it's OK):
Top row: Newman Street, New Cross, Camberwell New Road, Great Newport Street.
Middle row: Highbury New Park, New Oxford Street, Newcomen Street , Stoke Newington.
Bottom row: New Square, Newgate Street, Newell Street, New Kings Road