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12 September 2014

Hanway Street and Oxford Street renovation

I recently went to check out the Veno's Lightning Cough Cure ghostsign that has been revealed due to some renovations on the triangular site bordered by Hanway St at the eastern end of Oxford Street.
It is, at the moment, possible to stand on the southern side of Oxford Street and see almost straight through to Tottenham Court Road, as there is now almost nothing left but a few propped up facades.
I have great memories of Hanway Street. It was my favourite road for late night bars in the 1990s. I fondly recall that a few after work drinks in Bradley's would transmogrify into a 3am taxi after the Mia Seville/Titos/Troy Club bar crawl and then more drinking and dancing at Costa Dorada. And I fondly recall The Angus Steak House – a place I never went inside but found great amusement when the backlight on the G was not working for a few days.

I am now wondering how and why that Veno's sign was placed on that site in the first instance –  it looks to me as if the building that abuts it was built in the same period so surely it would have blocked the ad? Also, I am guessing there must have been boarding down the middle of the sign to bridge the gap between the chimney breasts. Perhaps the building next door was constructed later than the sign was painted? but that doesn't make sense because the ad does not appear to be as old as either of the fascias. Oh, I dunno. My head hurts.

On the corner of Soho Street, where the lovely angled corner and cupola of Walton's Old Queen's Head 1880 used to be, a sort of fantasy building being constructed. It looks like a lot of shower curtains with a Christmas tree attached to the top (see second pic, above). Need I say more?!
I am just hoping that two of the oldest buildings in Oxford St, on the same side of the street nearer Tott Ct Rd Station, which were both tagged by an insensitive street 'artist', are listed and won't also be lost.


  1. It's a cracking reveal and, as you know, rare to have something of that scale so central. I'll post up to Facebook to see if anyone there can shed any light on the when/why questions.

  2. Malcolm's got a few theories about the timescale involved

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  4. Vague theories at best! I'm not sure what date you think the Veno's sign is, but I think it's quite clear that the building immediately to the east of the sign was originally a low build. There is a very distinct roof line running below the sign (see pics here ). When the adjacent building was raised in height, it doesn't appear to have been attached to the Veno's building above the original roof line, which I suppose accounts for the preservation of the sign.

    In Hanway St there is a doorway, for some reason left behind when the rest of the building on the corner with Oxford St was demolished. Above the door it says "Rebuilt 1903" possibly indicating that the building was increased in height. As I said, vague, at best. All the more so as the dated building is not immediately adjacent to the sign, although it may give an indication of the stages of development of that block.

    The more I think about it the less clear it gets. I suspect that the sign may be later than 1903 so that really doesn't help with the timeline.

    I've rambled enough for now but will be interested to hear about any future developments.


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Thanks, Jane