Sunday, 8 March 2009

"So, farewell then Fred Palmer, cash butcher..."

This shop sign caught my eye the other day. It should do, as it's just outside my work and I knew it wasn't there the week before.

The existing shop-front fascia had been taken down whilst workmen were fitting out the rest of the building, revealing this older example beneath. It's quite interesting on a couple of levels; firstly because it harks back to a time when this particular row of shops would have mainly been retailers rather than service industries (the shop is now a solicitors and its neighbours include a washing machine repairers, accountants and art gallery); secondly it's quite interesting from the historical and production point of view in that it reveals previous occupants, and thirdly it's interesting because I'm wondering what a 'cash butcher' was!

Fred doesn't seem to have been the first butcher on this site as a close look at the board seems to show 'ghost writing' underneath. It still seems to be the sign for a 'cash butcher' but not, I'd guess, Fred.You can see here that the lettering is larger, which implies that the main name was probably shorter than Fred Palmer's
The composition of the lettering is surprisingly complex as well, with a range of yellow, red, white and black shading. Look at all the different elements on the letter 'R' above, for example.
My assumption is that there must have been two types of butcher - one who sold meat on account, to be settled monthly (possibly one catering for the middle class homes) and one who dealt on strictly 'cash-only, no credit' terms - hence a cash butcher.

I had taken for granted that the fascia would be covered when whatever work required had been completed, but the next day scaffolding was up and the sign was in pieces, presumably destined for the dump. The new sign is ready so no doubt next week I'll be able to update this post with a picture its modern replacement. Until then it looks as though Fred Palmer has had his last burst of recognition before fading into final oblivion...

UPDATE: Well the new fascia is up although there's obviously a bit more work to do. It does the job I suppose but it's a pity Fred isn't lurking quietly underneath any more.

5 comments:

chrisunderwood said...

thats criminal dont they have a home for things like that?

nice blog

Sebastien Ardouin said...

Really interesting stuff as always.

So sad this is gone. I passed along that stretch of Merton High Street and took a picture in late February. The three chaps working there really wondered what I could find interesting about that sign... I suppose they only considered it as an old piece of crap. It doesn't augur well for the "Cliff Corner" one further down the road...
On a positive note though, the modern sign that covered partly the "True Form" ghost sign was gone. I haven't gone back to check whether that was just temporary or not. Let's hope not!

David said...

You mean you didn't take the sign for yourself? Shame, I could have found a home for it.

Yelfy said...

David - One day it was there, the next day only part of it was and the rest was no-where to be seen (apart from some remains of the battens under the scaffolding. No chance for a belated rescue bid sadly...
Sebastien, I'll be going past the Trueform sign tomorrow so will try to take an updated picture. Thanks for the tip!

W12 said...

what can we do to set up a safe place of some kind?

Superb blog by the way