Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Faded London Chronology - A Whimsy in Several Fits

It struck me last night that a significant number of the buildings, name plates and coal-holes on the Faded London site proudly display the year of their manufacture in a prominent place. Well it seemed a waste that they were glanced over without placing them in some sort of context, so I thought it might be interesting to see if I could build myself a time line with them all. OK, its not wildly exciting but I'm going to treat it as a minor distraction and keep it bubbling in the background - a bit like having a jig-saw going on a table in a back room that you can always go and waste a few minutes over. I'll revisit it at regular intervals and hope to plug the gaps whenever I can and maybe get a nice run of consecutive years going, but this set of dates will do for a start...
1822 Tooting In the same year that Foreign Secretary Lord Castlereagh commits suicide, a small shop is built in Tooting. It's still going strong but now selling an extensive range of saris.

1855 Southfields, Wandsworth As Sevastopol fell in the Crimea Anglesea House rose in Wandsworth. Now a private house 'estabd.' suggests it was originally a business or hotel. (I've since been informed it was, and still is, a bakers!)
1861 Hammersmith Road, Hammersmith Here's a strange thing. This old building has no name except the initials RLFS all over it, including its weather vane and I'm presuming that the 1861 was the original completion date (thoughtfully painted around and preserved by modern workers). The big news that year was the begining of the American Civil War, although the abolition of serfdom in Russia was good news to many!
1865 Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell Whilst a party of intrepid British climbers were conquering the Matterhorn a fairly mundane building at the Camberwell end of Coldharbour Lane was being graced with a fine date plaque and the title 'York House'.
1866 London Road, Kingston As the first transatlantic cable was being laid across the Atlantic Ocean, Kingston was celebrating the building of Milton Villas. (note: That is not part of the Transatlantic cable obscuring the sign. It is a mere coincidence.....or is it???)
1871 Balham This fine pediment was topping off a new set of buildings by Balham Railway station at the same time as Dr Livingstone was being greeted in the jungle.
1878 Fulham Road A very nice and ornate crest above the entrance to some premises on the Fulham Road. As for significant events of the year, you can take your pick between The Factory Act which protected female and child labour or the première of HMS Pinafore.
1880 Fulham Palace Road Not many capitals on the top of pillars are ever dated. This is actually the first I've seen so the builders were obviously keen to commemorate the first home England vs Australia Test held at the Oval. England won and WG Grace hit 152! (Not that I'm claiming the bearded chap is WG himself of course...)
1881 Southwark It was a bad year for Benjamin Disraeli (he died) but a year to remember south of the Thames when they unveiled this Romanesque date plaque.
1884 Wimbledon Big news of the year is Gladstone's Reform Act. The electorate grows from 3 to 5 million and JLC builds Hepburn Terrace in Wimbledon. Possibly as an act of celebration, possibly not.
1885 Lower Richmond Road, Putney News of General Gordon's death at the hands of the Dervish army reaches Britain after the fall of Khartoum in Sudan. This might possibly account for the glum look on the wild man's face.
1886 Putney, London The failure of Gladstone's Irish Home Rule Bill might have seen him packing his bags and leaving Westminster, but he would certainly have found crossing the Thames at Putney a lot easier with the opening of the new Putney Bridge.
1887 Jubilee Villa, Tooting This year saw the completion of an attractive but initially unremarkable villa in Tooting that was lifted to a state of interest by the copious addition of attractive tiling. And to cap it off a remarkable coincidence that saw it named Jubilee Villa
in the very same year that Queen Victoria celebrated her very own jubilee. What are the chances of that then???1888 Richmond Hill This detail on a coalhole plate shows the date of its patent, which also happens to be the date of the formation of the Football League in England. It also happens to be one year before the formation of the 'Wimbledon Old Centrals' precursors to todays AFC Wimbledon. Out by a year though...
1889 Rotherhithe This new building along the Thames was completed just in time for the famous London dock strike of 1889 a victory which led to the 'Dockers tanner', a minimum wage of 6d an hour.1890 off George Street, Richmond The Imperial was well named, being founded at the height of Victorian self-confidence. It was also the year that the Metropolitan Police first moved into their headquarters at New Scotland Yard. The police are still there, but the Imperial pub has long since departed.
1892 Sutton The old milestone might have been there for over a hundred years but local stone smith J. Parrott was called in to give it a bit of a tidy-up and left his mark round the back. Someone who had no intention of sneaking in round the back that year was Kier Hardy, Britain's first socialist Member of Parliament who turned up for his first day on the job in yellow tweed trousers and a cloth cap!
1895 Passmore Edwards Public Library, Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush What a superb idea. We've got a big chimney, so why don't we wrap some iron around it and turn it into a fancy date stamp? All this in the year the National Trust was founded and Oscar Wilde was arrested.
1896 Tooting This was the time of the great Victorian boom in building grand Public Houses and the King's Head in Tooting was one of the grandest. The year also saw the shortest war in history, the Anglo-Zanzibar War which lasted 45 minutes, leaving plenty of time to get down the pub before closing.
1897 Borough BMT must have been feeling very proud as this plaque above an arch was revealed. Also revealed to physicist Joseph John Thomson was the presence of negatively charged particles called electrons within the structure of an atom.
1900 Lower Richmond Road, Putney A fine new block of apartments opens overlooking the river at Putneyand is decorated in the light, uplifting, modern style. Also lifted that year was the Siege of Mafeking during the Boer War.
1901 Southwark Even Drainpipes are not immune from the 'desire to date'. This one is is a fine matt black which is appropriate as this was the year that Queen Victoria died.1902 Clapham This confident and cheerful date plaque adorns the Clapham post office. Also cheerful news for children everywhere was the news that Beatrix Potter had just published her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
1903 Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush OK they might have been established in 1888 but it wasn't until 1903 they found a permenant home. Meanwhile in America the Wright Brothers had just made the first powered heavier than air flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
To be continued...


Londra said...

All great pics. Can I ask how do you do this camera on the map thing?

Matias said...

I just love these numbers. It really tells a story of all the buildings their on.

I'm mapping London-blogs for my new site:

I might add yours on my blogroll. If you don't mind.

Yelfy said...

Hi Londra - Roughly speaking if you go to Google maps there is a link on the left of the screen called 'My Maps'. If you click on that and then on the 'Create New Map' link you are asked to name your map and to set viewing criteria (public or private etc.)When you have your map you can select locations, right click and add an icon. With the icon in place you can add links to photos and add text as required. When it's done you can put a link to the map from your blog.
Matias - Many thanks - I'm hoping to get a local photo for each date but I'd be more than happy if you put a link to the site!

Conrad H. Roth said...

I wrote a post on this very subject some years ago. (It is an earlier state of research than the present one, but it gives some indication of my findings.)

Wulf said...

United Services Transport used to be a depot for coaches. As a child I have been to the coast from that depot.
Re Nourish & Flourish Wikipedia has this: In 1904, the Frame Foods babyfood company opened its factory in Standen Road. The building is in a distinctive art nouveau style, with green ceramic tiles, and the slogan 'Nourish and Flourish' on the exterior. The building has now been converted into luxury flats.