28 September 2016

Classic Car Boot Sale, Kings Cross 1&2 October 2016

Another colourful weekend coming up at Kings Cross – bric-a-brac, clothes, household, crafts, cards, and more. Plus cars, food, music, drink and dancing.
This time I will be in the covered area. Do come and say hello.
Here are some pics from previous events:

More info here

22 September 2016

Shopicide – memories of W. Burrows & Sons, a charming old fish shop in Acton

What is the word for destroying and 'modernising' something and replacing all that was historical, handmade and interesting with nothing of any style or class? I've decided on 'shopicide'.
In January 2009 I took these pics of the old fish & chip restaurant and fishmongers at the northern end of East Acton Lane near Savoy Circus (named after a cinema and a roundabout, both long gone).

As you can see, the shop frontage was lovely with a hand-painted sign by Brilliant Signs Ltd of W12 (Permenart) and the little panels in the windows had decorative glass panels and ventilation inserts. Along the bottom there were lovely hand-fired green tiles with five fish motifs at regular intervals. For some reason I only took photos of three of them:

The shop was clearly closed for business. Peering in through the window I could see the lovely old wooden seating was still intact. However, some kind of renovation was underway – there were paint pots on the counter which was covered in a cloth. I assumed they were merely doing a bit of decorating. 

I haven't visited the area since ten and so, last weekend when I was in the vicinity, I took a short detour to go and check out what has become of the place.
But, oh dear, what a disaster – everything shown above has gone. And I mean everything. I didn't get out of the car to take photos because it was just too much to take in. Instead, I googled it when I got home and these streetview screengrabs show that absolutely nothing is left of the old shop:

How is this allowed to happen? I have tried searching for other images of the old shop but the only pics I can find are my own – there must be some in an archive somewhere...?

Sad face.

15 September 2016

The Artizans, Labourers & General Dwellings company, Noel Park, Wood Green

The Artizans, Labourers & General Dwellings Company was a not-for-profit company that built social housing in areas of London with good rail links to the city, keen to promote good health and well-being in the poorer classes.
Ambling along Wood Green High Street yesterday I spotted one of their monograms above a branch of Subway on the east side of Wood Green High Road just north of the modern shopping mall. The building continues south housing thirteen shops but unlike the terrace on Harrow Road here in Wood Green most of the logos on the dividing columns at street level are now either missing, damaged or indiscernible.

Top left shows the unpainted terracotta relief above Subway. Top right shows another cartouche/monogram further down the terrace. I could find only three dividing columns that retain the complete ALGD monogram (the one not shown here is totally painted black).
Further down the road, on the same side, I found another two terraces bearing the same marks on either side of Dovecote Avenue which, despite its evocative name, these days leads to nowhere.

Top left shows the three monograms on the buildings either side of Dovecote Avenue
These terraces were part of the company's Noel Park estate built between 1883 and 1929.  I have not yet accessed any old maps or archives of the area but it's fair to assume that the company probably had more buildings along the Wood Green Road that may have have been demolished to make way for Wood Green Shopping City in the 1970s.
The Wikipedia info on the Artizans, Labourers & General Dwellings Company also lists ALGD sites at Battersea, Queens Park and Streatham – info and pics welcome.

6 September 2016

Holloway Road Old and New – nos.171-185

The changing face of the Holloway Road*.
Today I am looking at the section that ends at the junction of Palmer Place and Drayton Park.

As you can see from these pics comparing the 1970s with 2013 not much has changed really.
Aha! But don't be fooled into thinking this stretch has been cared for over the years, because about five years ago this whole terrace and parade was cleaned up to remove all the graffiti and layers of unnecessary paint where shop owners had applied the "this is my have of the dividing column, so I will paint it" rule.
I get disheartened every time I see that beautiful old tiles on delineators between shops have been painted over. And on pubs too. What's the point of that? Tiles are almost self-clening and they don't need painting.
Oops, I digress... back to the pics...
Most of the shops along this stretch are now food outlets of some description; take aways, fast-food chicken, restaurants, cafes and coffee shops. So it's great to see that Bartlett's the hifi store is still trading at the same location after all this time. I have lived in Holloway almost 30 years and this is one of a only a few shops that has been a constant during this time.

See all the posts in this occasional series about Holloway Road here

Also see this old post about painted shop dividers

*This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend recently about how some roads have an extra 'the' put in front of them as in The Strand, The Aldwych, The Old Kent Road, etc.

2 September 2016

The Great Fire Of London – started 350 years ago today

On September 2nd 1666 a fire started at a bakery in Pudding Lane and spread rapidly, blazing away through the neighbouring streets and eliminating away a great swathe of the city.
The event was commemorated in the 1670s by the erection of The Monument on the site of St Margaret’s, the first church to succumb to the flames. The doric column with a golden urn of fire at the top. It's height of 62 metres echoes its distance from the source of the fire.  
Commemorative events and activities throughout the city this weekend. Find out more here.

Greeting cards featuring some of my photos above and many other London landmarks and observations can be found here.