The apertures between C.H. Mabey's bas-relief panels and down the dramatic verticals of the lift shafts are covered with grilles created by Walter Gilbert, designer of the great gates of Buckingham Palace and the classical figures on the RSA, cousin of Sir Alfred Gilbert (the Eros man) and father of Donald (carver of one of the figures on the New Adelphi).
The smaller grilles mainly depict bats and squirrels, for some reason. Other motifs are birds and signs of the zodiac.
Walter Gilbert also designed a rather lovely set of bronze friezes featuring exotic birds, but their setting over the shop's doors means they are partly obscured by signs and the lights cause terrible reflections. What is the listing system for if it doesn't force owners of historic buildings to arrange things so they can be photographed effectively? Action now!
Friday, 27 January 2012
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
The Derry Street facade of Derry and Toms continues the wonderful line of bas reliefs by Charles Mabey, described in the post on the Kensington High Street facade.
|Pilot and mechanic|
And another new trade - motor mechanics work on a rather grand automobile with an early 'cherished plate' DT 1932.
Cherished plates go right back to the early days of motoring. A popular joke in 1914 was:
"And what does the Crown Prince have on his number plate? 2L2!"
They don't write them like that any more, thank heavens.
Perhaps he didn't care so much because they are round the back.
Top is another couple of men digging a hole in the road. Below, a pair of brickies clad the steel frame.
Despite the repetitions, this set of images must be one of London's least known masterpieces. I certainly never appreciated them until I managed to look at them closely by the wonder of telephoto and digital imaging.
Tuesday, 3 January 2012
Identifying the trades is a matter of guesswork, because I have been unable to find a definitive list.
Ghandi was campaigning against the cotton trade at the time, pointing out that cotton grown and picked in India would be shipped to Britain for spinning and weaving, to be shipped back to India for sale to the rich. Almost all of the wages and profit was made and spent in Britain.
|Indian cotton pickers|
Below, a joiner and his mate trim a panel with a plane.
The image below would be instantly nixed by the PR department these days. It shows trappers skinning a bear they have just shot, probably in Canada.