So much is changing around Shoreditch these days. Low rise Georgian, Victorian and early C20th buildings are fast being demolished to be replaced with high rise glass blocks.
Last week I made a detour to go and check on what's happening at the top end of Norton Folgate, a part of Bishopsgate that I understood had been saved from development. It used to be an interesting architectural patchwork as you can see here.
Rather jaded by this, I went for a wander around the nearby streets to see what else has changed during this past year, specifically interested to see if two old hand-painted advertisements were still in situ in Holywell Lane. I'm glad to report that they are indeed still there but clinging on for dear life, so to speak.
The sign on the side of No.55 is much clearer. The words 'MAKERS OF. CLOGS. RAILSWEEPS. MACHINES.' can be easily be seen, though other smaller words may be now obscured by the graffiti, and there must've been more above and below.
Having assessed the old directories, I think this is a sign for two or more companies. The front of No.55 has a clear mark at the top centre showing GT 1893. This would be George Tyrie, brushmaker. He could well have made the railsweeps; brushes that were often fitted to the protuding section at the front of steam trains to sweep away the leaves and other debris. Or it could refer to brushes and brooms used by railway workers who cleaned the rails manually. A dirty job.
However, I still find this sign an enigma being as it advertises three very different things: brushes, shoes and machines. I think it's unlikely that one company was making all of these at the same location. Any ideas welcome.
*Find out more – Niclar House features on London's Lamented Art Deco, my online talk via Zoom about some demolished interwar buildings and the structures that have replaced them. Click here for info. It used to form part of my Art Deco Spitalfields guided walk. Sigh.