Archive for the ‘faded greenwich’ Category

Faded Greenwich (23)

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Photo: David Whittaker

Phantom Anorak David’s eagle eye has wandered away from the fab Bakers signs across the High Road to the other side where a mysterious ‘GR’ is left.

Now, if it were down to me my first thought would be something King George-related, like the post boxes that have ‘GR’ on them. But David is more thorough than that. He tells me that Greenwich Wireworks were using the building in the 1920s, according to an old directory of his and reckons most of the lettering has gone when the bit of wall next to it was rebuilt.

Sounds highly plausible but maybe someone else has some suggestion of what GR means?

Photo: David Whittaker

Faded Greenwich (22)

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Yup, folks, we’re back on that rather wonderful faded Greenwich in Greenwich South Street/Prince of Orange Lane. If you recall, we first discussed this back in 2009 then the front of the old shop last week.

Well, Dave has been getting in touch with his inner anorak again and doing a bit of digging. He tells me:

Further to the faded ‘BAKER’ at the front of the building, if you look hard enough (although I don’t think you can make it out on the photo), you can just about make out a ‘..K_ELL’. A bit of detective work shows that the place was occupied by an Edward Blacknell, baker, in 1852, and a Mrs. Sarah Blacknell, baker, in 1860 and 1870. The address in those days was 3 Orange Place.

I confess I can’t actually see the ‘…K_ELL’ so I’ll try to pop to South Street this weekend to have a look.

Dave’s even found us an advert from the ‘Invicta Official Directory of Greenwich, etc, for 1893-4′

Splendid sleuthery…

Faded Greenwich (21)

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Back in 2009 we had a spendid Faded Greenwich down what’s left of Prince of Orange Lane, best viewed from the trains coming in from Maze Hill. Take a peek, it’s a goodun.

But we didn’t look at the front of the same building. David did – and discovered more evidence of Justice’s delicious (and long-gone) Pure Bread, Cakes and Pastries:

Sadly I still can’t find anything whatsoever about the business, but they were clearly proud to announce their presence, both to the occupants of passing trains and to the good burghers of Greenwich walking along the High Road.

This little block is also the home of the enigmatic ‘Cigar Warehouse’ that I’m always being asked – and have no clue – about. Sorry.

Faded Greenwich (20)

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Anyone remember Faulkners carpets? I confess I don’t – but then this Faded Greenwich on the east end of Traf Road could be from any time before such vulgar things as advertisement hoardings were slapped up anywhere they’d fit. Stephen was passing and noticed that they must be in between ads or, no –  come to think of it – actually I believe it was an ad for the bike shop. Whatever it was, it’s gone, at least for the moment, and Greenwich is currently Faded.

Graphic Design geeks – what sort of period would you reckon this is from, given the lettering and arrow design? Early 1960s? I’d say that or maybe 1930s. Hell, I don’t know.

I’m guessing the arrow points to inside the ex-offie, cafe and Save the Children shop – if it was just one of those, the carpets must have been quite a squash, but I certainly remember small shops full of carpets when I was a kid, before the giant sheds took over. I just can’t remember where any of them were.

I doubt this few square inches of space will remain un-advertised for long so enjoy it while you can. It will never be as glorious as the much-mourned-at-Phantom-Towers AND GUT YOUR FIRST OCTOPUS (and let’s face it, what could be…?) but it is still a little secret part of Old Greenwich.

Faded Greenwich (19)

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Just when I think we’ve covered all the faded signs in Greenwich another one sneaks in, often one that I’ve actually seen – and yet somehow not seen – hiding in plain sight.

Stephen was curious about a comment by Valoma about Hans Schwarz’s  studio, the first house in George Street, so he went up to take a look, and found this rather fabulous old painted sign.

This one’s hard to make out, especially the top line with the actual name, though a bit of research may yield results.

So far I’m seeing

S J Blo-something

(co) Corn and

Coal Merchants

Hay, Straw & (Eggs?/ Something?)

Wholesale and Retail.

No contact details like you’d need today – you didn’t need the address because it was there in front of you, didn’t need a phone number because even if they were around no one had one, there was no phone, and websites were the stuff of not-invented-yet science fiction.

It’s possible this isn’t the whole sign; there’s been an extension on the building (very glad the sign wasn’t scrubbed off) but it looks pretty complete to me.

This all gives me hope there are still more faded Greenwichs out there to discover. Thanks Stephen…

Gutless Octopus

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Remember this? One of my favourite Faded Greenwich’s ever, not least because of the marvellous results of the challenge I set for people to fill in the blanks as to what it might have orignally advertised. Sadly the suggestions got lost when the blog changed sites, but most people agreed that it was probably an old Co-Op ad – it was, after all, on a bit of road that used to have the old Co-Op funeral parlour (opposite the hospital, made sense, really). It was generally agreed that it probably said something like ‘and cut your costs on…’ but that didn’t stop Scared of Chives coming up with the immortal


which up ’til recently still made me smirk every time I passed.

Sadly no more. This is what it’s like now:

The whole thing’s been painted over in a colour so dull that I almost wonder whether it was the same guy who painted over the other faded sign at the entrance to New Capital Key.

I know progress has to happen, but I am sad to see this little piece of recent history gone. The only thing that would cheer me up would be for a shop to actually open in the space – a real shop that is, rather than another bookies.

Boarded Up

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Sorry to bring you grim news in two days, but here’s what Westcombe Park Police Station currently looks like, courtesy of Adam. The officers in Greenwich nick have all been told to budge up to make room for their oriental buddies, leaving the building stripped naked for the developer’s knife.

All we can hope for is that adapting this very sweet little building into ‘character flats’ (i.e. the outside saved, anything inside ripped out and replaced with bland, though TBH since it was a police station it’s probably never been that exciting inside) is more attractive financially than razing it to rubble and replacing it with a tower block…

Not To Be Taken Away Taken Away

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Remember this?

Back in 2009 we were enjoying the many pumps of the Old Royal Naval College that have survived time, tide and enemy action to live dotted aroun various courtyards, hiding in plain sight.

Here it is, in Queen Anne’s Court:

and in case you can’t quite place it, here it is in longshot:

Stephen is quite a fan and has been keeping an eye on them ever since, though for my money the very best bit about these pumps was the sign at the top of this post – a faded, painted note that says ‘Not to be taken away.’

Folks, I have some sad news for you. The sign whose only raison d’etre is to tell us not to take it away has been taken away:

I don’t know why it’s gone; I have written to the ORNC to see if I can find out. Nor do I know why the disappearance of something as tiny as this has saddened me quite so disproportionately this morning.  I hope it will be returned intact very soon.

Until then two small holes and a grey stain are all that remains of a delightful little piece of Greenwich whimsy.

Faded Greenwich (18) Open Wide

Monday, July 18th, 2011

I’m back. After a week of ‘interest’ it feels rather weird to be back at my desk this morning actually typing a new post. I’m going to be catching up with as much mail etc. as possible over the next week or so but for today I’m keeping things traditional with a fabulous Faded Greenwich that Mike spotted in Egerton Drive.

In case you can’t read it, it says


Hours 10-7, 10-2 Saturdays.

I know nothing more about it, and on looking in Diana Rimel’s excellent volume, The Ashburnham Triangle, it would seem that on this occasion she doesn’t either, though she did give me the idea that any listing might be under Blackheath Road, since the sign’s actually on the side of 45a.

Obviously I’ve no idea how old this faded wooden sign is, but I did have a quick peek at the 1849 Greenwich directory – surely anyone who’s happy enough to advertise on the side of his house would take a place in a directory? Maybe, but unless it’s one Dr Haycroft who lived ‘somewhere’ in Blackheath Road, it’s a later sign, and since I don’t have any later directories and time presses too much for a visit to the Heritage Centre, for now we’ll just have to enjoy this sign for its enchanting, oblique whimsy.

Faded Greenwich Faded No More

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Remember this? One of the last vestiges of old Greenwich – a harmless little badge of our industrial and maritime past.

Well, folks, the photo above’s just about all we have left of that. Can anyone give me a buyable justification for this?

I guess they wanted to ‘tidy up’ the ‘nasty old stuff’, but in doing so the developers have committed a kind of reverse vandalism. I mean – it’s not even neatly done. And the colour sucks.

This was completely unnecessary. It’s not like the rest of the project is all beautiful, minimalist and clutter-free. They could have easily incorporated the old sign into the development as a heritage thing, as a link with the site’s former history. But no. Some work-experience kid was given a pot of paint and told to get lost for a couple of hours.

We may be getting a whole bunch of shiny new buildings in Greenwich all ready for the Olympics, but it’s a pact with the devil. Each of these little bits of ‘smartening’ (in no real sense of the word) is tiny in itself but as a cumulative thing, we are trading Greenwich’s soul for a progress that isn’t worth what we are losing.