Sunday 20 December 2009

Countdown to Christmas. Day 20 - name that street name

It's not just the name that reveals a lot about an area but also the style of the name plate.

Here in NW3 in particular, some in NW6 too, there are the very old school individual street name plates - they add charm and character and when they are removed or changed there is a mini-hullabaloo.

The other crucial bit is the name of the road, lane, alley, rown, square itself and that to an extent dates it - I have always assumed that square was 18th century at the earliest really, avenue is metroland and cul-de-sac decidedly modern.

This is one of the finer examples of the two points at play - it's on Heath Street in Hampstead and curles beautifully round the brickwork... charm, style and quaintness - not the most obvious criteria when you are trying to articulate how somewhere could or might be but clearly important elements. The issue for me is whether it's possible to develop these factors now in an area that has either lost them or never had them...

1 comment:

Dominic said...

The old Hampstead borough street signs are wonderful (and the newer ones that imitate the style, but not the substance, don't quite get it right, 90%+ of the time) - they really do help define the character of the place.

The other place I know near to London that has unique, attractive, distinctive, street signs is (the borough of) Southend-on-Sea. The distinctive signs are found on pretty much every street in the borough, and really add something to the place.

Older style,+United+Kingdom&ll=51.538501,0.693405&spn=0.008715,0.01929&z=16&layer=c&cbll=51.538244,0.694424&panoid=jSVgfJKFL-cpWKNGs4jzBw&cbp=12,338.56,,1,5

Later, mid-20th century variant (probably the most common),+United+Kingdom&ll=51.538248,0.695958&spn=0.008715,0.01929&z=16&layer=c&cbll=51.538098,0.695856&panoid=362jsUFS_Qzq-yVtKKcddQ&cbp=12,74.52,,1,10.26

Mildly effective contemporary version,+United+Kingdom&ll=51.539089,0.690529&spn=0.008715,0.01929&z=16&layer=c&cbll=51.539106,0.690398&panoid=M42N2b8-BGARYpDdFzVoug&cbp=12,56.79,,2,6.27

A pity that more local authorities don't take the chance to show a bit of style and flair over such a commonplace bit of street furniture. (Camden have some attractive signs - but the more recent ones of the last few years - like this one,+Camden+Town&aq=0&sll=51.538101,0.695872&sspn=0.008769,0.01929&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Fairhazel+Gardens,+Camden+Town,+Greater+London,+United+Kingdom&ll=51.544253,-0.182841&spn=0.008714,0.01929&z=16&layer=c&cbll=51.544186,-0.182745&panoid=oR-KAzzEw1ZICZ0Z3grZ2A&cbp=12,97.53,,2,8.18 are quite quite wrong.