Posts Tagged ‘dodo’

A Goddess, Doors, a Dodo and a Lion

Saturday, September 26th, 2020
Minerva House, North Crescent, Chenies St, Camden, 1987 87-7f-21-positive_2400

Grade II listed Minerva House on the North Crescent of Chenies St , architect George Vernon, was built in 1912-3 for the Minerva Motor company which had begun in Belgium making bicylces before moving on to motorbikes and cars. One of its English dealers in 1903 was Charles Rolls, who the following year joined up with Henry Royce to sell his cars. In 1910 he became the first Briton to be killed in a crash by a powered aircraft when his Wright Flyer lost its tail during an air display in Bournemouth.

When I took this picture Minerva House was the Combined Training School for University College Hospital, training around 300 nurses a year. Since Minerva was the Roman Goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, strategic warfare, commerce, weaving, and the crafts this seems appropriate. She was also supposed to have created the olive tree and invented the flute and numbers. Minerva House is now the London home of global media agency OMD.

At right is the bleak Chenies Street concrete blockhouse entrance to the deep-level air raid shelter built in 1942, currently called ‘The Eisenhower Centre’ though it had no real wartime connection to the General. Before the war Minerva House looked out onto gardens.

Pembridge Gardens, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-24-positive_2400

19 Pembridge Gardens was obviously in rather poor condition in 1987 when I took this picture, with peeling paint and trees growing up in odd places. The house was empty, its front door secured by two padlocks. It had been Grade II listed three years before I photographed it.

It looks in rather better condition now, and it should be as it appears to be home to a firm of “well-established Expert decorators.” Though I think it a shame not to have retained what is I think an illuminated house number above the door.

Pembridge Gardens, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-25-positive_2400

It’s hard to count the number of bells at the left of the door to this house just a couple of doors up from the house in previous picture, but then obviously in rather better condition. There are 15 of them on the five floors of this house. Built in the mid 19th century (with a later top floor) it was also Grade II listed in 1974.

A Davey, Builder, ghost sign, Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-52-positive_2400

A neatly aligned sign indented in the rendering on the wall of an end terrace house in Portobello road still informs us


A. DAVEY.
BUILDER.
M A N U F A C T U R E R O F
EVERY DESCRIPTION OF INSIDE
AND OUTSIDE WINDOW BLINDS.
UPHOLSTERER AND DECORATER
ESTABLISHED 1851.

though I’m sure he was well gone from the premises when I photographed them 136 years later.

Davey the builder was probably one of the original occupiers of this long purpose-built terrace of shops which were developed in 1848-9 by the Rev Brooke Edward Bridges and Thomas Pocock who had bought the land for ‘Portobello Terrace’ from Felix Ladbroke; they were built by various local builders to a similar plan, with a ground floor shop and two floors above for the shopkeeper and his family. More recently extra doors have been added and the upper floors are largely let as expensive flats.

Looking at the text of the sign I think the lettering was probably stamped out while the rendering was still damp rather than cut out. It has certainly lasted well and can hardly be called a ‘ghost sign’. Fitting in some of the longer text was obviously rather tricky and there are just a few places where the letter spacing seems not to be optimal. Though generally rather better than my crude attempt above.

Dodo, Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-64-positive_2400

Dodo and this sign were at 185 Westbourne Grove, no longer something Antiques but now occupied by American Vintage, but Dodo is certainly no longer at 3 Denbigh Rd, a short distance to the west just off Westbourne Grove. You can see a picture of this row of shops with Dodo in place on the RBK Local Studies web site which takes a photographic stroll down Westbourn Grove and comments rather inaccurately “In the centre of the picture a shop called Dodo Designs, wholesalers of fancy goods.”

Dodo, set up by “London’s acknowledged queen of advertising ephemera” Liz Farrow has been “selling genuine vintage advertising posters since 1960” and is still doing so through the Dodo Posters web site.

Ledbury Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-65-positive_2400

Just around the corner in Ledbury Rd is this row of shops with an entry to Ledbury Mews North. This whole area had a large number of antique shops but now seems largely devoted to fashion.

No 38 to the right of the mews entrance is certainly an attractive building, but I think what particularly attracted me is the lion on the pavement in front of Lacy Gallery – which has of course gone with the Gallery, that shop now split back into two different businesses.

More from Page 5 of 1987 London Photos in another post.

Dinner of HOPE

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

One of Extinction Rebellion’s slightly odder events was a picnic billed as the ‘Extinction Rebellion Dinner of HOPE‘ outside the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, which preceded a protest as guests arrived for the annual dinner of the Petroleum Group of the Geological Society.

As XR pointed out, there was a “grotesque irony of this cosy industry dinner taking place surrounded by extinct species” under the blue whale skeleton in the main hall, celebrating an industry that more than any other is contributing to the continuing extinction of species, possibly including our own.

I’d met Elsie Luna back in October 2018, at a #Fridays For the Future protest in Parliament Square, the first in London as a part of #FridaysForFuture taking place in many cities and towns across the world, inspired by the action of the then 15-year old Greta Thunberg, who instead of going back to school at the end of the Summer break in August protested outside the Swedish Parliament, breaking the law to start the School Strike For Climate.

Elsie Luna stood out at that small protest, not just as one of two or three school age children taking part, but also because of the card hanging in a plastic holder around her neck with a picture of the Houses of Parliament and the message “Elsie Luna – Journalist – Hear! Hear! – The political podcast for young people in the UK”. The 8 podcasts are still on line.

Elsie Luna, now 10, opened the party. She had tried to get the museum to cancel the event, calling on the museum to take positive action over the climate and ecological emergency rather than hosting those who are most responsible for creating global extinction. But the Museum failed to listen and the event was taking place.

Extinction Rebellion were not the only group to have issues with the dinner and the oil companies who are the main groups taking part and sponsoring the event. They were joined by protesters against BP’s exploitation of Senegal who came with banners and drums, and whose drummers joined together with XR’s.

More pictures at Extinction Rebellion Dinner of HOPE.