27 September 2019

Unusual light wells and coal holes

Earlier this year I stopped in my tracks outside 258 Pentonville Rd, when I happened upon a very unusual light well running the full width of the shop.
I say 'unusual' because it's got coal hole cover plates embedded within it (one at each end) and this was the first of this kind I have ever seen.

Ironwork and glass made by The British Luxfer Prisms company
Further sleuthing on Google Streetview shows the reason I hadn't ever noticed it before – it's been covered up for at least ten years, and this also explains its rusty condition.
And then last month I found another one in Birchin Lane a narrow street that joins Cornhill to Lombard Street in The Square Mile. Half way along, near Cowper Court, I happened upon a simpler [later?] combo with glass bricks embedded into concrete.

Made by Haywards Ltd
And then, can you believe it, I found another one – this time just off Cloth Fair. And here's me thinking I am observant yet I have been marching past these for decades! This particular site has even has some light wells arranged as the steps into the building (I had already spotted that though!).

It's amazing how interesting and diverse these light wells can be. At the junction of Jewry Street/India Street in EC3 there some examples with lovely horse motifs on them which, again, is something I haven't seen elsewhere, though, judging by the cole-hole-light-well-combos I will probably be finding more soon.

Made by the St Pancras Ironworks Company

I am not the only nerd interested in this kind of thing. See Yelfy's Faded London for more.

5 September 2019

Billiard Factory, 443-9 Holloway Road, London N7

Well this is intriguing...

Between NYT and Safestore, September 2019
Never mind that they look to have made only one billiard here (it must've been a really big one!!) ... I am hunting for reference as to which company is being alluded to here, and during what period in history that might have been.
Can you help?
The promo says that billiard tables were made or refurbished here. I might be looking too hard, but having checked some of my pre-WW2 directories and maps I can find nothing relevant at this site – perhaps it's a ref to a company that was here 1945 onwards...?
You might already be aware of a company called Jelks who traded in billiards-related tables and accessories as well as second-hand furniture at 263-275 Holloway Rd – this was further down the road at the junction of Eden Grove – it's possible that Jelks might have also had the site next to NYT?
Or was there another billiards-related company here?
It's all so intriguing!!

2016 (Google streetview) – at the time this went up the story was that billiard balls were made here rather than tables. And I liked that charcoal paint colour – looks so much nicer than boring white
2008 (Google streetview) – Octagon Court – a mosaic workshop and offices for rent
I have this week sent emails to the café chain and Ingelby Trice, the developer, asking for more info. But I am not holding my breath. I am rather sceptical about this site actually being a billiard factory, or similar, for longer than a week, having found quite a few other mis-namings across London based on lazy research.
All help appreciated.

3 September 2019

Vile re-tiling on The Queen's Head, Essex Rd

The exterior of the Queen's Head public house on Essex Road, Islington N1, has recently suffered a make-over.
It now looks like a pastiche of an inside out 1906 tube station interior by Leslie Green – created during his experimental period.

44 Essex Road, August 2019. 
FFS – there is a 17th century fireplace and ceiling inside – this site is slathered in +500years of history – what on earth were they thinking?
It looks like a theme park version of Yeee-ha Oldey Worldey Pubbey  
It's an abomination.
Future historians will surely not be writing about how lovely this was.
Even the Victorians, who quite liked a bit of a mash-up where tiles and typefaces were concerned, would find this confusing!

Holloway Road tube station interior. Architect/designer Leslie Green. Completed 1906