Wednesday, 22 August 2007

A Quick Tour of South Wimbledon

Map Location

To kick off the blog I’ve undertaken a mammoth bonanza of a street fest in the area around my current place of work. To outsiders it may just look like a lunchtime stroll with my camera in a fairly run-down part of town with a bit of history, currently undergoing a bit of a resurgence – well maybe so but there were a few gems uncovered by renovation as well as some nice wall adverts.

1) I started off with a stroll down Station Road even though the station and indeed the railway itself, have long since gone. What has been left behind though are a couple of tatty but very attractive street lights with unusual mirrored reflectors. I checked with the Conservation Officer from the London Borough of Merton and it seems that these are the only ‘listed’ street lights in the borough. They date from 1900 and are unusual in that they were expressly designed for electricity and not converted from gas lights, which was the norm. Apparently local residents are pushing for them to be renovated and bought back to working condition but no-one is holding their breath at present.

2) After a quick stroll alongside the River Wandle I came out on Merton High Street and turning left toward South Wimbledon tube station I found some work going on at the junction with Grove Road with this original painted signage uncovered above a door. Who was Cliff and what did he sell in his Corner? Any information from old residents would be most welcome.

3) At the junction of Haydons Road with Merton High Street and just up on the wall was this intriguing bit of wall-signage. As you can see it’s very faint and only a small portion is on display but I’d be interested to know what the white ‘bubble’ effect is peeking out of the bottom – part of a Michelin Man possibly?

4) This one is still pretty legible, despite being partially obscured. It’s on the corner with Hamilton Road and now sits above a sewing machine shop although I assume it was originally a Gentleman’s Outfitters named Townsends, although that’s pure guesswork on my part as the first part of the name is concealed.

5)It’s a bit of a hike up to South Wimbledon tube before turning right down Merton Road and following it along until it turns sharp left into Wimbledon Broadway. There, looking straight at you, is the signage for some Dining Rooms. Was this an early restaurant or an early equivalent of the ‘greasy spoon’ café? Wonder what the food was like…

6) Almost opposite the dining rooms and only really visible if you are coming in the opposite direction, how about this for a splendid example of wall-painted signage? I’m not quite sure what it’s for but I was wondering if the ‘MA’ was the end of CINEMA. Anyway, it was open for long hours and was fun for all the family and it seems appropriate it’s now sited at the entrance to a comedy club.

7) That’s all I had time for so I made my way back to Merton High Street where
I took this last picture on the side of a block of flats opposite Nelson Road. The historically minded amongst you would have noticed the number of Nelson-related roads – the reason being that the flats to the south of Merton High Street were the site of Nelson and Lady Hamilton’s house, ‘Merton Place’ and the site from where he set off for the last time to meet the Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar. It’s changed a bit since his time although you can now catch trout in the Wandle, just as he used to…


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