Thursday, 21 October 2010

W. G. Child & Sons, Wandsworth

W. G. Child & Sons, high class tailors, was established as a limited company in 1890 by William George Child. However the family had already been making bespoke suits and garments for around 120 years. W. G. Child chose to settle in Wandsworth for two reasons: the small town and surrounding area were relatively prosperous and there wasn't any other tailoring business targeting wealthier customers around. As the number of customers grew, the decision was taken after a few years to open a second shop in Clapham Junction. This branch remained in business until it was destroyed by a bomb during the Second World War. The shop in Wandsworth was also damaged but was rebuilt after the war. Nowadays the company is managed by the fifth Child generation.
The Child shop is a bit of an oddity, a reminder of the past, in a short High Street filled mostly with cheap shops and greasy-food outlets with tatty frontages.

Location: Wandsworth High Street / Picture taken on: 23/05/2008

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Groceries, Wood Green

A grocery shop replaced a business by the name of Marsons in this quiet residential area. Several shops are still opened at the end of Whittington Road but the premises once occupied by the grocery shop have been converted into housing.

Groceries / Marsons

Location: Whittington Road / Picture taken on: 19/10/2010

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Bakery and pastry shop, Sangerhausen

The building may have been abandoned for many years but the sign of this bakery and pastry shop is still with us today. Otto Nebel the baker never became as famous as Otto Nebel the expressionist poet, actor, painter and printmaker, and nothing about him or his business seems to be available online. I couldn't even ask locals about that bakery as I didn't see anyone around. The freezing temperatures and the thick layer of ice in the streets may explain why I was alone outside that morning.

Sangerhausen Bakery Bäckerei Ghost Sign
Sangerhausen Bakery Bäckerei Ghost Sign
Otto Nebel

Note the old spelling 'Conditorei' ('pastry shop'). Many words had their 'C' replaced by a more Germanic 'K' from the mid-1920s onwards.
This sign was painted on two occasions at least. The font used for the original version looked far more elaborate as the picture below illustrates.

Sangerhausen Bakery Bäckerei Ghost Sign
Location: corner of Salpetergasse and Töpfersberg, Sangerhausen, Sachsen-Anhalt / Pictures taken on: 23/12/2009

Thursday, 7 October 2010

J. Graven, Ely

James Graven founded his agricultural engineering business in 1860, exporting products to India and other parts of the world. These first years may have been difficult and he was declared bankrupt by the Ely courts in July 1869. However Craven rebounced after that setback and started making steam tractors and other machines, mostly for agricultural purposes. Around this time the firm was located at 1 Annedale terrace (1875 edition of the Post Office Directory) but relocated a few years later to Broad Street (1883 edition of Kelly's Directory) where it remained, apparently, until the early 2000s. In 1912, following a meeting with Henry Ford, James Craven ventured into the motor vehicles industry. Little is known about the following years. Craven continued to sell steam machines as well as Ford tractors and Ford Anglia cars. The company's name is listed in several magazines for the farming industry but nothing of major importance seemed to have occurred until 1969. That year, the Agricultural Machinery Journal, included the following short article:
Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd, agricultural engineers and agents of Fulbourn, near Cambridge, have taken over the Ford tractor and agricultural engineering side of the business of James Graven & Sons Ltd, 17 High Street, Chatteris, Cambs, and Broad Street, Ely. The service will be continued at Ely and Fulbourn.
Since then James Graven has been specialising in retailing, in particular of locally-produced food, and runs several shops in partnership with Budgens, BP and Spar in the Ely - Cambridge area.

J. Graven
Engineer and
Agricultural Machinist

The house where this sign was painted may have been the family home of James Craven and his successors. The workshop and showrooms were located just across the street. Most of the site was demolished a few years ago but one of the showrooms survived and was converted into a dwelling.

The company's website doesn't include much information about the history of James Craven, but they have a few interesting photographs, including one on which the showroom, to the left of the church, is in its original state (third picture. On the same photograph, look for the house with two windows opposite the production site's exit: you may be able to make out the painted sign, just about...).

Location: Broad Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire / Pictures taken on: 03/07/2010