Monday, 26 January 2009

Kennington tube to the Imperial War Museum

Just a short stroll but there were a couple of nice items on the way there and back. The first of which was this ghost sign above what seems to be a standard terraced town house
Kennington Lane SE1 - 'The Albion Coffee House' The Albion Coffee House was apparently one of the haunts of Charlie Chaplin's father so I expect there is a good chance that Charlie himself spent some time in there himself. At Kennington Cross there's a whole gaggle of interesting items. Originally an island at a road junction the Cross consists of a horse trough, a Victorian underground Gents toilet, a venting pipe with a crown mount and some interesting bollards. The bollard below is one of the four remaining original examples - the rest are aluminium casts taken from a cast - and it seems to have retained its crisp lines. In fact I thought this example was one of the new ones until I spotted a bit of rust where some paint had been removed. The hourse trough was a standard example from the 'Metropolitan Horse & Cattle Trough Association' with an inscription on the end that read 'The gift of two sisters from Leytonstone'. I'm sure I've read something similar elsewhere so I'm now thinking that the sisters might have left enough money for more than one trough and probably weren't too worried where they were sited I was spotted taking the photo below and had an interesting chat about the area with a lady called Celia. She's part of a group campaigning to preserve Kennington Cross and to turn the toilets (now a Grade 2 Listed Historical Monument) into a Community Arts space called ArtsLav. Celia also featured on Disappearing London where she explained her interest to the singer Suggs. (Disappearing London - The Victorian Public Loo). I hope she succeeds because it was a real jolt seeing them and realising how long it's been since I've seen one of these 'old style' Gents toilets and there's an always present danger of further decay.
Durning Library, Kennington Lane
Durning Library has an exotic Victorian front and this impressive dragon lurking above the front door (don't be late returning your books)...
..and on the roof a very nice little weather vane
Kennington Lane - 'Ariel Writers'
Facing the Library was this really attractive ghost sign . I'm not quite sure what it's advertising, probably the name of the company that were based there, but it's very eye catching all the same.


Sam Roberts said...

Ariel was an old British motorcycle brand, this sign was for Writers, a local bike shop. More here

Yelfy said...

Thanks Sam - It's such a distinctive sign that I knew someone must have investigated it!

John said...

The coat of arms that you werent sure about was that of Bermondsey - see for details

How To Play Blackjacks said...
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Chris Austen said...

This sign was painted by my wife's father, John "Jock" Morrison. He was a talented artist although he worked too much and had too little spare time to paint as a pastime. We have one of his few paintings in our living room.

Jock served in the 11th Battalion, Parachute Regiment during the 2nd World War. He had a hard war and fought in many battles including Madagascar, the attack on the Primasole Bridge (Sicily) and the Battle for Kos. His plane was shot down on D-Day. Surviving the jump he was captured by French resistance fighters who mistook him for a German and came close to shooting him. He parachuted into the Arnhem battle and most of his battalion was killed or captured. He escaped by swimming across the River Rhine.

He was a kind man, quiet and self-effacing. Like many of his generation he was haunted by his wartime experiences. He was unable to escape the terrible memories of the war and they burdened him until he died. This mural is a memorial to him.

Chris Austen.