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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Old leftover signs.

I love to find left over bits of life from a time long gone. Signs from these olden days can be found everywhere if you are prepared to look for them. It's as if they've managed to escape the wrath of the sweeper upper of all things old.
This is an old railway sign. I like it because it mentions a fine of forty shillings for anyone leaving a gate open.
This old sign is from the days when horses were the main transport system in London. It instructs riders to walk their horses through the archway. The archway leads to a mews.
This sign on Spitalfields Market dates from 1887.
A sign telling the coalman where to go. I know coal is still delivered but I still think this is old as the sign is in Bloomsbury, a bit too posh now for coal deliveries.
This mile stone is near the Albert Hall. It was placed here in 1911 by Westminster council. I like the two little hands that are supposed to be pointing but they look as if they are trying to grab something.
These glass signs are in Electric Avenue, Brixton. It's a covered market and no vehicles are allowed inside now.
Below is a plaque commemorating history. It dates from 1918 and mentions how King George V met the president of the United States to discuss the future plans after the ending of the first world war. Interestingly it doesn't bother to name the US president - it was Woodrow Wilson. It was put her by the Angle-Kin Society. I searched the internet (well google did) and I could find nothing about this society.

The sign below relates to the horses that used the nearby ramps and mentions how they sometimes bolted and fell into the canal. It's near Camden Lock and although it's telling us about the history of the area I still get a feeling that it's an old sign.
This sign is made of brass and is so old it's almost worn away. It was advertising for goldsmiths J Deforges, a shop which no longer exists.
I found this on a house. Obviously in the old days doctors were not allowed to advertise. The sign says accoucheur, this is French for male obstetrician. I suppose the era this is from was a delicate age and foreign words had to be used to convey what the doctor practiced in.
Commit No Nuisance. This is an odd sign. I'm not sure what they mean by a nuisance. And anyway committing a 'nuisance' is probably against the law as it is. But I know it's old. I'd like to know what happened here that lead to this notice.
I find the sign below interesting for two reasons. It harks back to when London was the world's biggest port and the Thames was full of piers for receiving goods from all over the world. I also like the toll as it's in old money. I'm not sure if it means four pence and half a penny (fourpence ha'penny) or four shillings and sixpence (four and six). Probably 4 1/2d rather than 4 1/2s. You have to be my age to feel nostalgia for the old money (not that I miss it so I don't actually feel nostalgia but I couldn't think of another word) decimalisation meant that for the first time I could work out instantly if the change in a shop I was given was correct.
This enamel sign is very unusual because not many shops used them and this one has survived, so far. I think the shop has gone but not the sign. I'll have to go and check. It was in Covent Garden. The shop sign says that it sells elastic glue, whatever that is, and it was the sole inventor of it in 1857.
The one below is in the grounds of Guy's Hospital, Southwark. These are usually found on water tanks. It says " Mr. Guy's hospital and it's dated 1725, which makes it Georgian. 
This order below amuses me. Can you imagine a sign like this today? No, me neither. It's below a bridge on the Thames and it's next to Fishmonger Hall. 
The Zeppelin sign is on Farringdon Road. It's very matter of fact and I'm sure people died here as I know 200 people died in total in Zeppelin raids during the first war.
I like this sign as it's been left by a small company to advertise themselves. I don't think it was meant as a permanent fixture but this one has managed to hang on in there. It's in Harwood Terrace, Fulham.
This sign dates from the 1930's and it's just a simple right of way sign but it mentions The Distillers Company. So that makes it interesting as far as I am concerned.
The plate below is on a warehouse door in Wapping, near News International. It's been on the door since December 1956.
This old police sign dates from about 1867, it's very pompous and although I have quite a good command of the English language I have no idea what the Commissioner of Police is prattling on about. But at least it's survived.
This sign dates from 1931 but what makes it really interesting is the piece of wood it's screwed to. It's a piece of London's first bridge over the Thames which was built by the Romans. Which makes this simple lump of timber almost 2000 years old.  It's outside St Magnus the Martyr church which is a short walk from London Bridge.
The metal sign on the lamp post below is only still here as it's too high to take down. I have a feeling it dates from the 1960's and mentions a fine of £5 for spitting.
 This corner stone sites the location of a key for a fire ladder and dates from the second world war.
The sign below is from Waterloo Station and says the movement of barrows across the booking hall is strictly prohibited. From the style of the font I would say it's dates from 1900's.
 I saw this Guinness advert on a pub. These toucan adverts date from the 1940's and ran for a couple of decades.
That's all folks....
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Saturday, 5 March 2011

Graffiti in London.

I love graffiti. You can blame it on that Banksy chap. Before Banksy, or Sir Banksy as I call him, I despised the awful scrawlings of the mindless morons and their 'Man U 4 ever' or 'Tracy loves Trevor'. Then Sir Banksy came along with his eloquent take on modern life. I loved his irreverent poke at the pompous politicians who tell us how to live our lives. Anyway enough of that, lets get the show on the road.... 
This is a Banksy. It's been removed and is now only seen in exhibitions. This blog will not concentrate on Banksy because even I would find that a little bit boring. I will try to show only graffiti that I consider to be art or interesting or both with a bit of luck. 
I love this piece. It's clever and a little bit creepy. I have no idea who did it but s/he's a genius. Are the hands pulling in the bricks to hide behind or is he trapped, who cares? I like it.


This photo shows a body leaning on a fireplace. It's street art rather than graffiti but it fits my understanding of graffiti. I think it's wonderful. It's clever and different.
 It was taken in an alley near Brick Lane.


Now not all graffiti is sophisticated but it can still say something. This is so simple anyone can do it. I like this because makes me smile.


This lovely piece was (or is, who knows with graffiti?) by akajimmyc. He's obviously a trained artist.

The face belows is by tboltoo. I really like these, they are some of my favourite pieces of graffiti. 

 Here's one of the best artistic pieces I've ever seen in London. The building it's on is now partly demolished. I have no idea who painted it.

 This is by cityzenkane. It's a Lord Jagannath, a Hindu god. You can see him making it on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe0y2UTIzzw

Now this next piece of street art is by Xylo. He's one of those thoughtful intelligent artists who try to make us think just a little bit more about our environment. It's an iphone that represents how some of us are controlled by technology. I am an out and proud iphone bore and I can fully relate to this lovely little piece of art.

This little chap I found sitting patiently in Brick Lane (as indeed was the Xylo piece). I have no idea who plonked him there but I do love it. In fact it's inspired me to do the same thing. So when I get around to buying some das I'll make a little masterpiece just like this.

Below is an example of very bad graffiti. It's bad because it's painted over a Victorian wall advert which was painted by a craftsman and enjoyed for decades by all and sundry until this pillock thought he could improve on it. End of rant.

This is by Mike Marcus. He specialises in paste ups. He nearly always does the human form and is often quite controversial. This photo was taken in Camden.

This stunning piece is by Boxi, he's a Berlin based artist who created this in Scruton Street. He's now my favourite artist, apart from Sir Banksy of course. 


This was taken in Leake Street, which is a tunnel at the back of Waterloo station. It is now used exclusively by street artists. It's an unofficial place to do graffiti and the authorities turn a blind eye to it. There is a lot of tagging done here, which I don't like. I think it's self indulgent and just a little bit boring. The art below is pretty and bold but that's all. 

This blue lady is by C215, whose real name is Christian Guemy. A Frenchman, but we'll forgive him for that because he really is a very accomplished artist.

The bird below is by Roa. He's a Belgian artist who paints quite a lot of stuff in London. It's always animals, ofter slumbering. They are always painted in a style that reminds me of Victorian line drawings. In pursuit of my art I often have to climb in through broken fences etc to get my photo. This was the case for this image, so I hope you appreciate it.

The man below is by Jef Aerosol. Again a Frenchman, he was born in 1957 and has been doing street art since 1982. 

Here's another Banksy one. It's no longer there, or at least you can't see it anymore. I stumbled across this after leaving a conference and thankfully I had a camera with me. Which is no surprise really.

This is by t.wat. It was taken just off Brick Lane, within  a couple of weeks it was painted over. Which shows how quick you have to be to capture these art forms. It shows Her Majesty driving a Fiat car with a machine gun. There were a whole row of these little cars.
That's all folks!
I have over 1000 graffiti photo's on my flickr page. I also have over 100 photo's of Banksy's work in situ. And I have over 60's photo's from the Cans Festival held in 2008.