Tuesday, 28 April 2009

"Any, Any, Any Old Iron..?" - Faded Metal Work

This post is dedicated to all those bits of iron and metal work that have somehow managed to avoid falling victim to either rust or re-developers and that somehow cling on in their original settings. I'm not really talking about the ornate or tha particularly beautiful, but the practical and the artisanal. Of course I'm excluding coal-holes and boot-scrapers as well - they've plenty of their own posts.This is more bits of leftovers and old tat...

Wimbledon Village
A small ventilation grille to presumably allow a bit of air circulationunder the rafters. Looks as though it's lasted a bit better than the doorstep has!
Treville Street, Roehampton
Actually this example of an original garden fence was quite striking .There were a few other remnants on neighbouring walls but none in such good condition as this length.
High Street, Wimbledon Village
I'm not sure if this is purely ornamental or also doubles up as a security device but I am intrigued by the missing coat-of-arms in the middle. As you can see by the pillar on the left, it is quite an ornate premises and Wimbledon village was there to cater for the wealthy folk who owned the mansions around the common. Could the original owner have been giving himself a little social cache or was it possibly a Royal warrant?
Creek Road, East Molesey
I assume this iron grill is providing ventilation and light for the cellar and coal store below the shop. Somehow it managed to survive the arrival of the prismatic cellar light but it must be a bit damp down there in winter with such an open and exposed lattice-work.
I can't for the life of me recall exactly where I spotted this one, but I've a feeling it was near Borough High Street. What really attracted me to this one was the fact that it's obviously there for decorative purposes only and there's not a hint of practicality about it. It's almost as if the building is wearing a lace bonnet.
Merton High Street, Colliers Wood
Granted this doesn't look all that exciting at first glance. Or second if I'm to be honest... However a third look will show the remains of a metal frame that was positioned above a Victorian shop-front. Attached to the wall and reasonably ornate in its own right this frame would presumably have provided purchase for a high visibility shop sign.Important at a time when most shops had a roller blind to provide both shade and shelter. If you pulled out your blind it would obscure your name from passing pedestrians on the other side of the stret or locals on the omnibus so best play safe with a large sign above it as well... Putney High Street/ Lower Richmond Road SW15
The next two pictures are from the resoration of an old building where the metalwork was pretty much discovered behind covering boards. The individual detail is pretty decent in its own right...
...but the overall effect is pretty impressive as well. I don't know what the developers plans are but I hope it involves bringing the metal detailing back to its former prominence
The Mews, Cedars Road, Clapham Common
Round the back of what my Nan would have called a 'posh' block of flats overlooking Clapham Common there's the Mews, a Victorian garage where you could park up your horse and carriage. The ornate topping to the fairly high wall might have had a slight deterrant effect but I suspect was really there to show off the quality of the building

And finally, to bring things up to date in Wimbledon Village, it seems that the erection of anything new and modern in iron is worth celebrating in style, hence the elaborate nameplate from Rourkes Ironsmiths, Burnley.


Wellwynder said...

Very nice – the utterly ephemeral that have nevertheless managed to survive longer than their creators, two world wars, developers, renovators and everything else history slings at them, to provide incidental pleasure for the likes of us. And here’s to them.

As an aside, the roller awnings so many shops used to have were indeed for shade, but not for shelter. I once stood under one when rain started, only for the elderly shopkeeper to come out and put it away. I wasn’t happy, but was later told that they were supposed to do this, to ensure that the awning didn’t get soaked, and consequently rot. I did get soaked and have been rotting ever since.

Yelfy said...

That would make sense about the awning, especially when they were made of canvas rather than nylon. You can still spot the odd old awning rotted in place and obviously not touched since the 60s. It's very tempting to wonder what they would look like extended for the very last time. Probably not very attractive if truth be told.

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