Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Elm Hill Norwich 1957

Elm Hill, Norwich. Partly threatened with demolition in the 1920s it is now one of the more picturesque areas of the City with buildings dating back as far as the early 16th Century. The area dates back much further, possibly to the 1200s, but a fire in 1507 devastated the area and almost nothing survives from before the fire. The Britons Arms, the pink building in the foreground may predate the fire as it stands a little away from other buildings. The Britons Arms Coffee House (open for Morning Coffee, Light Lunches and Afternoon Teas) is still trading. The vehicles and fashions may have changed, but tourists still like their morning coffee and afternoon tea.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

At the Circus 1957

Piccadilly Circus, one of the "must have" photo opportunities for tourists in London. Seen here in 1957 with a very well dressed American tourist posing for the camera. Something outwith the shot seems to have grabbed her attention, but not her approbation judging by the severe look on her face! 

The Pavillion, is no longer festooned with advertising as seen here. Piccadilly Circus only has one building covered with adverts now, and these are electronic with light emitting diodes now rather than neon filled glass tubes and it is all rather clinical. In 1957 it was a blaze of lights and one of the sights of London at night when it was a riot of colour.

Some of the adverts here are still household names and some have long gone. 

British Petroleum is still one of the largest oil companies but Ekco - the television and radio manufacturer - has gone and is now merged as part of Phillips Electrical Industries. You can no longer buy Pal Injecto-matic Razors, a product of the American Razor Company, nor can you purchase Miraglo lighting window cleaner which perhaps was not as good as its adverising led one to believe.

Colibri lighters are still manufactured, although the monopol is no longer in the range available today.

Wrigley's is still one of the leading brands of chewing gum, although originally the company made baking powder and chewing gum was offered initially free with each packet. However the gum became more popular than the powder and Wrigley's then concentrated on gum manufacture.

Lemon Hart Rum, now billed as "100% Demerara -The World's Most Flavourful Rum" has been around as a blend since 1804 and the company can trace its origins back even further to 1720. 

Jeypine is still used for hospital disinfecting and is available in the Far East but does not appear to be available in Britain although the Jeyes group still sells Jeyes fluid here.  

At the Pavillion, a cinema which closed in 1986, Eleanor Parker stars in Lizzie, a drama filmed in black and white. The film is shown as a continuous performance, so that if you walked in half way through one showing you could stay and watch the first half after you had watched the second half - confusing when it was a drama or a mystery film!
The cinema was gutted after closure and has undergone several metamorphoses since and is now the Trocadero entertainment centre with, ironically a seven screen cinema as part of the complex. The facade of the Trocadero is now bereft of illuminated adverts.

The scene below is of Piccadilly Circus from Regent Street at night around 1961 with the Regent Street Christmas decorations adding to the light show.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Changes at the Bar

Micklegate Bar in York is seen here in 1951. The old southern entrance to the City of York is still today one of the main entrances into the centre of the city although the main road skirts round the old town by the railway station to avoid too much congestion through the narrow arches of the gatehouse.

Although the gate itself survives, some of the buildings seen here do not. The three story Georgian house with the first floor bay windows has gone (despite York's assertion today to be a city that cares for its past, I suspect this building was demolished in the late 1950s or 1960s when heritage was not top of the agenda!) along with the rest of the buildings on the left hand side nearer the camera. The right hand side seems to have fared little better with, again those buildings nearest the camera now gone and the replacements seeming to be faux Georgian replacements.

Now, one can no longer stay at Armatages bed and breakfast, nor indeed park your bike, unlocked propped up by its pedals on the kerb. The Coach and Horses (Tetley brewery, tied house) is no longer welcoming with its brown curtains, possibly once white but now stained with the tar from countless cigarettes. Possibly it never WAS welcoming, but you get the impression that they may have tried long ago. Pubs back then were largely the preserve of the working man, women rarely ventured alone inside. 

There is a garage lurking behind the red and white frontage just beyond the Georgian house with the bay windows. The clock hanging outside is JUST unreadable as to the name of the premises apart from declaring it is a garage.

Among the plethora of enamel signs outside the garage there are two that possibly indicate a newsagents, Players Please and Wills Gold Flake. And on the corner is another Tetley pub, perhaps the Coach and Horses really wasn't all that welcoming after all......

The road sweepers barrow is parked outside the coach and horses but no sign of him - breathalysers are well in the future here and a council bin lorry seems to be parked outside the other pub. It must have been thirsty work!

And presiding over it all is the Micklegate Bar, standing sentinel and strong, for it was built as defence, for the past 800 years or so. 

Inhabited since 1196 it (and the heads of traitors and rebels until 1794) has over the centuries gazed silently over the streets of York.