Sunday, 16 November 2008

Barons Court 1: The Boot-scrapers

Area around the "Curtain's Up" pub

I found myself emerging from a very attractive Barons Court Underground station on Sunday accompanied by a wife and seven children (not all mine) on our way to the three o'clock show of the 'Magician's Cavern' in the basement of the "Curtain's Up" pub. Very enjoyable it was too and recommended as a great way to spend a few hours on a Sunday, especially if you bought your tickets on the lastminute website at half price. However, we found ourselves a good half an hour early and so with several willing (and some less than willing) assistants we set off with a camera to see what we could see.

The first thing that's obvious in this part of London is that it is heavily residential, with large terraced town houses with stairs up to the front door and basement rooms below. The second thing that hit me was the large number of surviving coalholes and boot scrapers. Coming from an area of fairly late Victorian development and high streets that are re-paved and surfaced every few years, it's always a thrill to spot the odd survivor. In Barons Court it seems that almost all of the coalholes had survived - presumably because there had been no impetus to revamp the pavements, which preserved the coalholes, and as the property owners were now into lettings rather than living there themselves, no-one had thought to 'tidy-up' the bootscrapers either! Their negligence is our gain though as I present, with nothing up my sleeve, the magic bootscrapers of Barons Court...

Barons Court Road
Not so much a bootscraper, more like 'the one that got away'. Obviously this fine recess once housed a magnificent boot-scrape whose time has been and gone. The recess lives on however.
Barons Court Road
Quite a tall example with an elaborate central 'floral burst' effect. At least that's what I think it is. Either way it's quite a 'sit up and take notice' sort of a scraper. Not for the faint hearted.

Castletown Road
Functional is about all you could say of this one. A bit gangly and earnest it tries with a bit of ornamentation but only barely rises above the bland.
Perham Road
Without a doubt this is the lowest-slung bootscraper so far. Not much more than a blade trapped between to supports , I was intrigued by their design, despite not being able to make out exactly what they were.
Perham Road
Watch out, this one looks a bit of an uneccessary risk taker! Strapping fluted columns leading to an ornate cut-away blade. Surely that's cutting it a bit fine in the middle arch? Still, it's survivied all these years and I guess it doesn't get much of a workout these days.
Perham Road
To my way of thinking this is far better proportioned than the Castletown Road effort above, although they do look similar at first glance. squat, solid and with no ideas above its station.
Vereker Road
There were several examples of this style of scrape and I suppose it comes nearest to being a local 'house' style. Nice and solid with a 'classical' feel to it I think...
Coming soon: a plethora of Barons Court coal-holes.

1 comment:

Letter Boxes said...

Make sure you position it someplace to the side where someone won’t trip over it, and also at least 1 foot away from a wall or obstruction so that you have room to move your foot with shoe over the blade.