Tuesday, 29 September 2009

For Lovers Of Bollards and Lightwells ...

A nice example of a Hayward's Pattern 51 Design F

I'm sure I'm not the only one whose heart quickens at the sight of an intriguing new lightwell, or who has an irresistible urge to gentle caress the cool, worn top of a nicely rounded bollard. Well more 'hoping' than 'sure', but here's some exciting news for those of us already salivating at the prospect of some new, fresh titillation for our jaded palettes.

The first item is from Ian Macky in far-off California. Ian has his own website devoted to glass in all it's many forms and uses and I first came across it when I was looking for some information about the Hayward Brothers of Borough. I was after information on coalholes, but Ian's interest lay mainly with the glass prisms in the lightwells and when I had a look at his site it was obvious I was in the presence of a master. Not only did he have an entire transcription of the history of Hayward Brothers but the levels of detail he was prepared to go to and the fact that I ended up spending ages ferreting around finding out loads of interesting stuff about a subject new to me confirmed Glassian as a top-notch resource. So when he dropped me a line the other week I knew it would be good...
Hi Yelfy, I thought you would be interested to know I've scanned/transcribed my Hayward Brothers pavement lights catalogue and posted it to Glassian. It's here:

It identifies some of your unidentified lights, for example, the last photo of the tile/glass light is HAYWARD'S TILE AND LENS LIGHT pattern #51 (design F), as shown on page 34 (Nice piece! I'm surprised to see one still in such good shape); the one above it with the hexagonal lights appears to be their #3 "Edinburgh" pattern light (see page 16).

There's also a 300DPI scan of the entire catalogue, 150MB in total, as a tarball here:
A Haywards 'Edinburgh' pattern lightwell

A Pavement Lights Catalogue? How good is that? Apart from wondering where on earth you find such a document it opens up whole new layers of possible conversational gambits whilst strolling with friends through town! Many thanks for that Ian. Even if you're not interested in lightwells per se (hard to believe but I'm sure there's a few out there) it's still an interesting read and the Galssian site is well worth a browse on its own.

A Westminster bollard. One of Scott's maybe?

On then to bollards. I put together a posting on bollards over a year ago because I'd noticed a couple of older looking specimens in the Putney/Roehampton area and they reminded me of the old 'cannon' designs you still see now and then. Finding old bollards proved to be a bit of a challenge but I was quite impressed by the quality and styling of the more modern versions so I was pleased to receive an email from Scott Chafer giving some more background detail on both old bollards and the newer types his company manufactures. He also included a number of interesting links to a number of sites dealing with various aspects of foundry work and casting and to cap it all his letter has an excellent opening line...
I stumbled accross your blog whilst perusing the world of street furniture on the Web.
My company manufactures traditional cast iron street furniture, we have been going since 1907 on a site that has a rich history of casting way before this. Records from 1860 show a foundry on this site and indicate that it was far from new even then.
We hold patterns for many of Britains traditional style bollards, the Oxford, City of London, Exeter, Manchester, Blackpool, Liverpool - the list goes on into the hundreds.
We still cast these bollards including a few versions of your beloved Cannon! - Not made from old cannons unfortunately but not too many were, they were mainly cast to look like they were.

Nowadays, all our castings are from 100% recycled materials but we still stick to the high standards of design and quality of the past. As you probably know, much of the modern versions of the traditional street furniture items are imported from China and other such places, whilst there is nothing particularly wrong with these products they can be of questionable quality at times and environmentally are not great - I also consider them to be a bit soul-less.

The importing of Iron from China is quite interesting. Granted, there are comparatively few foundries left in the UK but they are far from rare. (There are 3 within a 25 mile radius of our own - but we are in the industrial North!). People can save money importing their iron but there is so much lost in the process. It is fine if somebody wants 10,000 bollards that all look the same but who wants to live in a world like that?

We like to make things that WILL be there in 100 years (there are some of our bollards around that are that old). There is a good feeling when a post or bollard is supplied and you know that it's really going to last - unless of course an Articulated Truck ploughs it over, but then it has done its job (better the bollard than the human) and that's also the modern world.
It is good to stumble accross people who have a passion for street furniture and traditional products. We still cast everything the old way here - sand mould, made on site and poured as airset castings on the foundry floor. We manufacture modern items too (we are a business after all) but our passion is for cast iron and traditional values.

Please feel free to follow these links - they may be of a little interest:
www.castironbollards.co.uk - our site dedicated to cast iron bollards
www.asfco.co.uk - our main street furniture site
www.wbwhitefoundry.co.uk - just so you can visit our Foundry!
All the best, Scott Chafer
With an attitude to quality like that I can see future bloggers eagerly snapping photos of Scott's bollards in the next century! Good luck to him and his company and long may they prosper.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Fulham Palace Road

There's a famous old advert that claims 'You're Never Alone With A Strand'. Well I think the same might be the case with a small digital camera. For example if you're about an hour early when meeting a friend in Hammersmith there's no need to hang around the tube station looking slightly shifty and ill at ease, you can grab your camera and take a quick stroll down an interesting looking local road. You still look a bit shifty and passers-by still give you curious looks but at least you get a few photos before diner.

Which is how I ended up having a quick look at Fulham Palace Road from the old Hammersmith Odeon to Lillie Road and back again...

View Larger Map

Fulham Palace Road - One of the most unmissable of signs on this stretch of road is enormous and ornate plaque for the local school and the slightly overshadowed coat of arms is that of the London County Council who presumably financed its building. There's a real sense of civic pride in the whole building - it looks impressive and has towers, weather vanes, good sized windows and all the rest. No expense spared.
There were several of these light wells along the Fulham Palace Road and also down some of the side roads. Although most of them were pretty worn down you could still see on some that they were made by Haywards Brothers. I'd guess that they were later models and they lack a bit of the charm of the more Victorian styling.
Bit of a gothic Ghost Window down Aspenlea Road. It looks as though it's part of a church but when you get above the ground floor it's actually a pretty standard run-of-the-mill house. There's a betting office behind the window now so they probably weren't too worried about matching brick colour or anything...
Greyhound Road has a few interesting bits and pieces including this nice column. What was most interesting though was the partially concealed tiles along its length.
They're pretty much obliterated by paint and cables now, but would probably have looked quite attractive when new.I couldn't resist this sign down Everington Street. Some time ago I had a collection of 'No Parking - Gates In Use 24Hrs' hand-painted signs. Although I don't think I'll necessarily want to do another full posting on the subject I still couldn't let this one slip through the net.
Sadly there weren't any badged manhole covers on the route but this extra-large sized one from Greyhound Road is tidy enough.
An unusual column pediment from Greyhound Road - not so much for the bloke with whiskers but because it has a date incised on it, in this case 1880. I don't think I've seen one dated quite like this before...
One of several building date plaques on the Fulham Palace Road. Quite a nice one too a a fair bit classier than the building it's stuck on.
No intricate shop front mosaics or colourful displays between shop-fronts so if you're looking for interesting tile-work this is about as good as it seems to get. More gentleman's club than Art & Crafts it's better than a bit of pebbledash and a coat of paint!
Keir Hardie House, Fulham Palace Road: This part of London was staunchly working class for the first half of the 20th century so it's no surprise to find a block of flats named after the founder of the Labour Party.
Down the side is an interesting coat of arms which is documented on the Civic Heraldry site as being as being that of Fulham Metropolitan Borough. This wasn't granted until 1927 and Keir Hardie died in 1915 so they didn't rush into the naming of the block. The explanation of the coat of arms is quite interesting though
The wavy blue lines on the white ground of the shield are emblematical of the River Thames, which forms the most important geographical feature of the district, and bounds the borough for a little more than half its area. The crossed swords through a golden mitre on a red saltire are taken from the arms of the See of London, whose Bishops represented by the mitre have held the Manor of Fulham since the end of the seventh century.
The ancient black ship with a white sail bearing a red and a white rose at the centre, refers to the visit of the Danes to Fulham in the year 879. It accentuates the ecclesiastical character of Fulham whose Manor, which included also the parish of Hammersmith, belonged to the Bishops.
The entrance to Brandenburgh House, Fulham Palace Road was lined with these superb Art Deco tiles. I assume they are original but no doubt someone will tell me that they come from a special craft range at B& Q or something. Either way they're very eye-catching
The corner of Distillery Lane has what looks like an interesting façade but close up turns out to be mostly pebble-dashing. The very top is quite interesting though...
...and I wonder how many people living there realise that it's actually called Sussex House? It looks as though it was built in 1908, has another of those blokes with facial hair and has the mysterious initials "WM"Up near the old Hammersmith Odeon two estates face each other across the street. The Peabody and Guinness Trusts are those sort of estates that seem to pop up wherever you live.
Both were the result of philanthropic individuals but Peabody is the senior and larger of the two, being founded by American banker George Peabody in 1862 and having over 20,000 homes on their books. The Guinness Trust had to wait until 1890 to come into being, again as the result of of one man, Edward Guinness. The Guinness Trust operated in both London and Dublin, although the Dublin connection has since ceased. On the battle of the façades it's a bit of a non-contest though. The Guinness has the edge in design, ambience, architecture and elegance although I've no doubt the Peabody flats would more than hold their own internally
Again this is only a short stroll but there's not so many shop related items, such as mosaics, coalholes or ghost signs but the big themes seem to be the early need for social housing in the area, as well the links with labour and schooling. And short stroll it might have been but it set me up nicely for dinner as well...

Monday, 14 September 2009

Pushing Boundaries in Raynes Park

There's an intriguing little plaque on the wall overlooking a disused garage in Raynes Park, that has been teasing me for the last few weeks. Every time I came round the corner of Worple Road I could see it high up on the wall on the one-way part of the road. Too far away to read and (thanks to a very solid plywood fence) too difficult to photograph without a telephoto lens. As luck would have it though, one day last week I had a step-ladder in the back of the car so stopped, shimmied up like some desperate paparazzi and took the photo below.
Well lets be honest, even on top of a ladder at full zoom it's pretty poor, but undaunted I managed to manoeuvre myself into a slightly 'closer' position by scaling the barricades. This produced a much clearer image that I was able to trim to size and finally satisfy my curiosity.
The whole of this flank wall is the property of W. L. Peters 1909

Is it a bit of a let down? I'm not sure really. I suppose that such a marker was always the most likely reason but it does seem a bit on the boring side. That said it could be that Mr Peters is well known to local historians as a major player in the early years of Raynes Park or it might be that he just owned the shop next door but either way it's good to know that his plaque and message has been left alone and even the pebble-dashers didn't obscure it.

Not quite the same story for the second boundary marker I spotted that afternoon which is not only older and more weathered but also seems to have been relocated at some time in its history. This one was on Kingston Road and again was up fairly high - not the best place for an inscription
Not only that but it was quite obvious that the stone was not made for the space available as it stuck out of the end . Having a closer look also shows some new pointing, as well as revealing the fact that this was a Wimbledon/Merton parish boundary marker from what looks like 1866
Sadly most of the inscription is illegible and I presume the original building has long since gone. I've no doubt that it it also used to be situated at a much lower level but at least it's still there doing its job and providing me with a mild diversion at the same time...!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

One short stop in Hampton Wick

Well it's been a slightly frustrating August here in the Faded London international conglomerate publishing offices. Apart from summer holidays, which are always welcome this time of the year, the whole of the production team were struck down with a malfunctioning camera. Or malfunctioning battery to be precise. Still, having traipsed around various shops the Research department eventually ended up with a replacement from eBay which - so far- seems to have done the job. The resulting flurry of pictures have now overwhelmed the Post -Production team, so best start off September with a short one, to ease our way back into things again...

This particular stop happened last Sunday evening. I'd noticed an old drinking fountain on an external wall of Bushey Park and had decided to make a stop on the way back, which I did and very pleased I was to have done so. It was by a gate into the park and nicely visible on google maps
View Larger Map

Getting a bit closer shows it to be a marble drinking trough with some white stone plaque behind it. I don't think it's concrete as I would have thought it would have weathered too quickly. The tap has long since gone but the message is still there.
"August 1889 Erected by Mrs Mary Wilkins of Manor House, Hampton Wick in memory of her son Edward Stanley Wilkins"
The Twickenham Museum has a nice picture of the Manor House and notes that although the house was demolished in 1937 it was selling off land around it from 1897. No doubt there is a story to be told of how losing her eldest son led to the crumbling of the estate as there was no-one left to take over the reins etc. etc. Well that may be a bit fanciful but it'll do me until a more prosaic explanation turns up.
Manor House (pre 1937!)

That was that I thought, but then a strange object caught the corner of my eye. A magnificent and highly ornate tiled memorial of some sort - tucked behind metal railings and on a patch of scrub. You can see it to the right of the Google image.
In fact the monument is to Timothy Bennet, the Shoemaker of Hampton Wick and commemorates a classic case of the 'little man' taking on the big man and winning! Without wishing to spoil the story for you (you can read it all below) Timothy took exception to the local lord enclosing the park and forcing huge detours on the locals so decided to raise the money to take the Lord to law. Realising he was on a looser the Lord gave in and a public right of way was established across the park known as 'Cobblers Walk'. About 150 years later the locals decided this act was worth commemorating with a suitable monument. Presumable the lord and his descendants being long gone it was considered safe to do so by this point...Of course a snappy catch phrase or slogan never goes amiss and "I am unwilling to leave the world worse than I found it" was the phrase associated with Timothy. All credit to him for what he did but I can't help but feel it's not the snappiest or most appropriate epitaph he could have had
Interestingly the Twickenham Museum has some more information (and what a good site it is), this time about Timothy, not least that he wrote a play commemorating the whole episode. In fact their article concludes with the last scene of his play where he gets back his money and his son can marry after all. Huzzah!
Ben. Well, Deborah! The good cause has triumphed!
Mrs. Ben. Thank God! Dear husband.
Mary. Oh, Uncle Timothy, I'm so glad!
Ben. The justices cut short the trial, and declared the Ranger had no case; so the greater part of the hundred pounds has been returned to me.
Mary. Then Jack and Martha can marry after all! And their wedding procession ought to go the very path that you've opened Uncle.
Ben. No, Mary - no unseemly triumph. And say not that I have opened the path: the laws of England did that for us.
The information plaque says he was willing to spend £700 but the play only mentions £100 so I wonder if his munificence was slightly overstated? £100 is a lot for those days but £700 must have been a fortune for a shoemaker!

Still, for a single brief stop that's a fair bit of history.