Friday, 29 February 2008

Tiled Columns

Well that's a rubbish title for a start - not very descriptive at all. What I am really interested in are the walls between old shops that are often decorated with sometimes very ornate tile-work. Quite often these days they are painted over and hardly noticeable but on occasion they have come through unscathed and (for those covered in paint) every now and then some enterprising shopkeeper scrapes off the concealing layers to discover the wonders below. Here's a mix of gems I've come across over the last few months (including some that I've posted before - Well why not bring them all together?)
Mitcham High Street
These two examples were the only tile-work I could find in Mitcham. Although there are loads of old houses and buildings there doesn't seem to be many examples of old shop-fronts around. They are nice though and a bit of an oasis in a tile-free desert!

Kingston Road, Wimbledon SW19
Slim, neat and tidyGarret Lane, Wandsworth
I found a few nice examples of tile-work at the Tooting end of Garrett Lane. Really attractive stuff.
I wasn't sure if this one had been created recently as the duck-shooting tiles seemed a little unusual, but whether it was or wasn't it's still an important part of this tasteful shop facade.
A nice floral pattern on this one that seems to have been saved from the paint-brushVery stylish!Colliers Wood High Street
This was the one that really drew my attention to this sort of tile-work. A real beacon amongst some dowdy shop-fronts.
Upper Richmond Road, Putney SW15
Near the crossroads with Putney Bridge/Putney High Street this one is well worth two photos. The columns seem to be made of iron from the rust showing through at the bottom, and the pattern is a mosaic more than set of tiles. I couldn't tell what they were made from but it looked as though it might be coloured glass but the gold was really eye-catching. What is interesting is that this has been uncovered in the last few years and there are a whole row of these covered with paint and neglected. Well done whoever took the time to clean this one up!

Tooting Broadway
Whoa! A bit lary but compare that to the modern brick pillar next to it. Pah! No contest. Give me the tiles every time.

Lacy Road, Putney SW15
Geometric and very aesthetically pleasing. I wonder if the neighboring shops still have theirs under their facings

Wimbledon Village SW19
Wimbledon Village is quite gentrified these days so anything Victorian and tasteful tends to be tidied up nicely, like this nice example

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

A Tour Around Mitcham

A map of the area can be found here

Mitcham is a strange place. A modern shopping precinct, flats, trading estates and light industrial units have washed over a Surrey village famed for its lavender fields that could have rivalled Dulwich for attractiveness. Most of the glory of Mitcham lies in the remaining houses that are sprinkled around the twin centres of the village pond and the Cricket Green. The development seems to have been mainly post war and there's not too many old Victorian terraces or shops around but there are still a few interesting bits and pieces.

Eagle House, Holburne Road/London Road
One of two eagles guarding the entrance to a marvellous French Chateau of a building.
Figge's Marsh
Right on the corner is this high-visibility clock, which is sadly not working...
Upper Green East
The Estate Agent has long gone and it's now a bookmakers.
London Road, Mitcham
There was very little evidence of Victorian decoration, but I did come across these two nice sections of tile-work almost next to each other.

Cricket Green, Mitcham.
Another clock, this one on the old cricket club house. Apparently it's the oldest cricket green in England and Nelson used to stop by to watch a few overs.
Cricket Green, Mitcham
Down the side of the clubhouse is this interesting old bell that doesn't look as though it gets much use these days. I wonder if it originally used to signal tea-breaks?London Road/Cricket Green
A nice horse trough, but the really interesting inscription is on the other side. Apparently commissioned for Queen Victoria's jubilee, any attempt to photograph it would have been decidedly dangerous!
Vestry Hall, London Road
Another clock, this one on the attractive Vestry Hall building. An excellent example of local civic pride and ambition
Vestry Hall, London Road
I assume that this small plate is a Fire point and would have indicated the presence of a water main in Feet and Inches. Looks as though that has been erased though.
Lower Green West, Mitcham
Easily overlooked by virtue of being on the edge busy one-way section of road the old Village School is a really impressive building with its own bell and clock-tower
The inscription shows it was founded in 1788 but developed in 1812. The tower was added later, but it's a very interesting building all round.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Croydon 'Ghost Sign'

I haven't yet made the tram trip into Croydon, but I have high hopes that I might come across a few interesting ghost signs when I do. This example was sent to me by a work colleague and is a really nice, colourful example. Notice the spelling of Millets is different on the sign and the shop. Which one was correct at the time I wonder - did the sign writer have a Homer Simpson 'Doh!' moment as he slapped his hand to his brow? Who knows - nice sign though so many thanks to John Butler for passing it on.

Croydon - Junction of Surrey Street with the High Street

Monday, 4 February 2008

Figures and Figurines

I thought I might do a generic collection of human figures that sometimes appear on buildings. Not statues of the 'Good and Great', but interesting three-dimensional decoration that sometimes pop up. I struck a rich vein in Putney High Street, but I'm sure there are more out there and I'll add them as I come across them.

Putney High Street
This striking lady can be seen above ground level holding up part of a grand public house near the river. She's not alone though but has a couple of companions in equal states of undress.
Putney Bridge Road & Lower Richmond Road
A cast iron cherub holds up part of a doorway. This property is an old auction house and is currently being gutted to provide a new restaurant. The whole of this shop-front is cast iron and I can only keep my fingers crossed that it will form part of the intended decor.

New Malden High Street
I'm not sure if this is a game of Ring o' Roses or some good friends sharing a hot tub, but whatever it is it's stuck on the front of a small department store in New Malden
Durnsford Road, Wimbledon SW19
This suave fellow gazes down serenely from the top of the Woodman pub. As a bonus you get his faithful hound as well!
The Olde Spotted Horse, Putney High Street
This Putney pub is covered in gargoyles and grotesques, as well as a fine shire horse standing proudly above the door. It's not very clear exactly what this little devil is up to or why he's squatting over a frog. Answers on a postcard...
London Road, Mitcham
This face gazes out from the side of a BT building that I think must have been a telephone exchange. I've a feeling it may be a representation of Mercury, the winged messenger. Very thirties in design and execution but you do have to crane your neck up to get a good look.

Ghost Signs in Sutton

I had spotted a 'Ghost' sign whilst being driven into Sutton from Carshalton so when I found myself in the area with a daughter who had a small camera, I knew just where to drag her.

Langley Park Road. This striking example is in the road behind the B&Q car park and remains in surprisingly good condition. Wouldn't bother ringing them though...

Sutton High Street Daughters reward for the use of her camera was an hour in Sutton High Street shopping. Never mind though, I spotted this peeping down near the shopping centre. Sadly unreadable but looks a bit like 'Gordon'.
Sutton High Street Then further down the road there was a near-invisible sign down a small side road. Although you can make out a few letters at the bottom I believe it originally went up at least to the top of the 1st floor window.