Saturday, 24 May 2014

Jaunty sign

This jaunty sign for J Winter, Jeweller, is on Little Underbank, in Stockport, Cheshire. The building dates from the mid-1850s, and it is no longer a jewellery shop but a (somewhat less jaunty) pub. I'm grateful they kept this charming entrance, and also its rather cool clock, which has painted automaton figures striking the hour. 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

A tribute to the boiler maker

The excitement of having a new boiler fitted this week (yes, it’s all thrills in our house) reminded me of this sign, a tribute to WH Eacott, boiler maker, by his devoted wife.

The plaque is on the wall of Christ Church vicarage on the Isle of Dogs, Poplar, London. We visited a few years ago on family tree research. The vicar was very welcoming, and took us into his garden to see this loving tribute.

The Isle of Dogs was a quiet area until William Cubitt developed it in the mid-19th century. The Cubitt brothers were responsible for much development in London, including Pimlico and Belgravia. William specialised in public buildings, bridges and roads, and built Cubitt Town to house his extensive workforce. 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Cinematograph Theatre Continuous Performance

I was thrilled to find this sign in a sad, dark, scruffy alley in Shepherd’s Bush, London, even though it greatly challenged my slight photography skills. It’s a survivor. The Cinematograph Theatre was opened by the wonderfully named Montagu Pyke in 1910. Pyke was a chancer, whose varied career before he opened his chain of cinemas included gold prospector, shop assistant, miner and salesman of advertising space, hair restorer and patent pills. His confidence in his new Cinematograph Theatre Continuous Performance must have been great, as he carved his prices into such lasting signage.

The theatre was beset by problems, including Pyke’s bankruptcy in 1915, too little electrical power to screen the films in the 1920s and fire in 1968. It underwent multiple takeovers and name changes, including the Palladium, New Palladium, Essoldo, Classic and Odeon, and had a second career as a bar: The Bottom Line and – finally - as a Walkabout, which closed in 2013. Long may the sign live on.