Saturday, 18 November 2017

Model houses for families

An early example of social housing, with a sign proudly proclaiming its purpose. Built by the wonderfully named Society for Improving the Condition of the Labouring Classes, this handsome Bloomsbury building opened in 1850. It housed 48 families. Each dwelling had a living room, two bedrooms, a scullery and a water closet, and there were communal bathrooms and a laundry. It made a profit of about 5.5% for its investors. The Society's President was Queen Victoria's husband Albert. They had already experimented with a large development in Birkenhead, Wirral, which housed over 300 families; this had not been a success, as the buildings were too close together and the bedrooms too small. However, the London buildings were successful, and as well as homes for families, the society had lodgings elsewhere in London for single men and women. The society was taken over by the Peabody Trust in 1965.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

When things were simple

Remember the simple days when you got your gas from the Gas Board, your electricity from the Electricity Board and your phone from the Post Office? Wait, what - the Post Office? It doesn't sound quite so obvious in these days of multiple providers, myriad models and a bewildering array of packages to pick from. I bet the phones supplied by the London Telephone Service were big, black and hung in the hall. I took this photo a couple of years ago and I can't remember where this handsomely lettered sign on a long blocked-up letter box is, though the geo info on my (not big, not black) phone says it's somewhere near Regents Park.

Everything is connected

Illuminated sign by artist Peter Liversidge, near Manchester's Piccadilly station.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Philosophical wall

"All greatness is precarious" (Plato, I think). Sign on a wall in Glasgow. Apt for the building it's on, which is beautiful but in need of attention.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

No horse traffic please

Fine old sign surviving in a narrow passage in Jedburgh, Scotland. No horse traffic please.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

In my good books

This gorgeous tiled welcome is in Duke Street, Liverpool. The sign on the handsome building tells us something of its history - it housed Liverpool's first public library. It was built around 1800 and was originally the Union Newsroom, becoming a library in 1852. It's now offices and they've kept the lovely tiles and the sign. 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

China sign

I've been going through my vintage collection with the aim of selling it to create some space in the house. But I'm failing in the task and this week I managed to add to the collection instead. I couldn't resist buying another of these 1950s Manhattan plates. The mark on the back shows the inspiration for the pattern - skyscraper windows. Sometimes the sign on the back of a plate is as gorgeous as the pattern on the front.