Wednesday, 31 October 2007


'Capitals? Capital cities? Capital letters? What's this all about then?' Well capitals are those fancy bits of design that sit on top of pillars and they also happen to provide what I think are some of the most interesting and distinctive features of decoration on Victorian shop fronts. I assume most of them were moulded but the sheer variety of designs is quite fascinating and it would be interesting to know if manufacturers had pattern books that builders would go along and select from.

There are a smattering of examples in this post but I'm sure I'll be having regular updates over the coming months!

Putney High Street SW15 How about this for an eye-catcher! There are about ten of these in a row, all different, near the Spotted Horse pub in Putney High Street. Who they are and who they depict I couldn't say but they are amongst my favourites of the type.
Wimbledon High Street SW19 There are a series of these capitals with human faces all along the 'expensive' side of Wimbledon High Street (OK, it's all expensive, but one side is a row of adapted working men's cottages and the other is ostentatious bank and other prestigious real estate!). There must be about ten in all, each with a different face.
The Ridgeway SW19 A solid design with an imposing sceptre or urn on top.
Balham High Road Another of those designs that features a human face, this one with a split front.
Wimbledon Broadway SW19 A nice floral touch and although it looks a bit dark and gloomy and is being squeezed on all sides, not a bad design...
Felsham Road SW15 I like the overall design of this one. Very easy on the eye...
Wimbledon Broadway SW19 What I like about this one is its stubborn refusal to be hidden away. Despite being boxed in by modern cladding it still sticks its head above the surface like a non-swimmer just going out of their depth!
Tooting High Street Quite an unusual example and I can't help but wonder if anything was originally painted on the shield?

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