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. I went to check on what's happening at the top end of Norton Folgate, a part of Bishopsgate that I'd 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. It reads 'MAKERS OF. CLOGS. DRAIN & SWEEPS. MACHINES.' – this photo shows it more clearly in the 1980s. Having assessed the late Victorian directories, I think this is a sign for two or more products or companies available in this street.
And this links in with another company in the street, because at the same time, in the late 1890s, on the other side of the road at No.12, George Stevens is listed as a washing clog maker. It's possible that he was related to, the son of, Thomas Stevens who was listed at No.39 in 1832 (this might be the same property and the road might have been re-numbered, but I haven't checked). Thomas was one of two French clog makers in this street, the other being George Martin at No.44, before the railway line and before the building on which the sign was painted when clogs had evidently evolved to become boots. These heavy duty items of footwear had canvas leg coverings, sometimes up to thigh height, tightened and kept in place by leather straps and buckles. They protected clothes and the wearer from splashes, see right (a page in a Gamages catalogue).
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*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.