Saturday, 24 November 2007

Wimbledon Town Centre

View map of area

Wimbledon Town Centre was redeveloped a few years ago and most of the Victorian Civic buildings, including the old Town Hall, were gutted and had their fascia's incorporated into the new Centre Court Shopping Centre. There are still some interesting features though well worth recording

Alwyne Road, Bank Buildings
There is a whole block facing Wimbledon Hill Road that has been built in a highly ornate fashion using this dusty-red shade of brick. This is only a side entrance in a side-street but the ornamentation and the colour remind me of some building out in the Moroccan desert.

Wimbledon Hill Road, Wimbledon Public Library
The library has several interesting features on the outside, and a couple of interesting ones on the inside too! Here's the fine main entrance with its elaborate balcony.
To the right of the main entrance Milton sticks his head out of a porthole...

whilst Shakespeare leans even further out of the one on the left.

And inside there are still some of the original and highly decorated radiators with masses of scroll-work (thanks to Annette for this photo!)Wimbledon Hill Road
I suppose hanging a beer barrel outside a pub is a traditional thing to do and probably pre-dates pub signs but I wonder how many people notice it these days?
Alexandra Road SW19
Part of the new shopping centre consist of the outer walls of a church which seems to have more than its fair share of dedication stones. The engraving is very floral and attractive and this one reads
"Laid on behalf of the Sunday Schools by the Superintendent Mr G.H Denne - ' Despise not one of these little ones'"
The second reads
"For Christ and the Church - laid on behalf of the Societies of Christian Endeavour - Mr F. H. Freeth, Vice-president"
Alexandra Road, SW19
Now looking a bit lonely, this royal armorial crest sits above one of the entrances to the shopping centre. Might this have been the original Wimbledon Magistrates Court?
Alexandra Road SW19
It's not a 'ghost sign' as such (in fact there is a specialist term used for the marks left on walls by old lettering, but I can't recall what it is at the moment) but if you look carefully you can see that what is now a Mothercare was once the home to the Wimbledon Fire Brigade.
Alexandra Road SW19
This tower on top of the old civic buildings always reminds me of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I could imagine Professor Caractacus Potts using it as his hideaway but it is possible that it had another use. I was reading Safe as Houses, an account of Wimbledon during the Blitz, and it made note of a tower above the Town Hall that could see the whole area and was used to plot the fall of bombs. Might this be the tower mentioned in the account?
The Broadway, SW19
Many of the Victorian buildings remain on the section nearest the old Town Hall, as do their guttering systems. This one is a bit more dilapidated than most.
The Broadway, SW19
Re-building work revealed this old sign 'Iles of Norbury'. A quick google seems to indicate that Iles are still in business and something to do with both carpets and boats. The Wimbledon branch was obviously not a long-term success though...
Merton Road SW19
The proportions on this seem wrong to me - it looks as though it needs either more writing or bigger numbers. At the moment it looks a bit lost
Merton Road SW19
I walked past this sewer 'stink pipe' several times before I noticed it. When I did I was quite impressed with it, especially the decoration around the top. A nice one to finish on.

3 comments:

Dub said...

{Dang! Sorry, I meant to post my last comments here}

Idle Pen Pusher said...

Wonderful collection of photos...

Ania said...

The former baptist church which
is a part of the shopping centre now
and which outer walls has got the engravings on,
is on the Queen's Road!
Not Alexandra Road...