Thursday, 24 September 2015

tubular chair collection

I'm slowly starting to update this blog again. I still collect british made tubular steel chairs, the collection is getting a bit out of control with new editions arriving all the time, the picture above only scratches the surface of the hoard. I'm currently searching for someone to help photograph the collection and to design/produce a new document (book/poster) please get in touch if you are interested, thanks.

Pottons, Cliftonville (gone but not forgotten)

A sad moment as one of Cliftonville's older shops closes for good. Until recently, Pottons on Northdown Road retained its entire original 1930's frontage and interior fittings. The interior fittings included a very impressive run of haberdashery tailors drawers that were salvaged by a top London interiors specialist earlier in the year whist the exterior signage in now disappearing having been sold off by the current owner. I'm rather sad to see this once great road lose such an elaborate and complete virolite, bronze and neon shopfront as it is split up into parts to the highest bidder, but I am happy to see that Northdown Road is becoming a busy area again with very few empty or available shops, hopefully the new user of the property will retain the basic shop front structure.
I have a growing collection of Cliftonville and Margate artefacts but sadly very few pieces from Pottons as I've been priced out of the market, I do however have a small collection of Pottons paper bags. These date from the 70s/80s, I would be very interested in obtaining any older ephemera if there is anything out there?
above: one logo, five bags
above: the fancy bag, thick white paper with string tie handle

 a selection of nice crisp printed brown paper bags

Monday, 7 September 2015

BBC1 Money for Nothing

a couple of old ladders in the workshop
I'm going to be on 6 episodes of a brand new BBC1 TV show starting today at 15.45 Money for Nothing. It was a lot of fun making the show, being thrown in at the deep end working with a random selection of things that people throw away. I really enjoyed not knowing what items i would be working with and although they weren't objects that i would normally choose to work with they were all being saved from landfill so the idea hit home with my processes.
The presenter Sarah catches an object just before it's being thrown into the tip, takes it to a designer/maker to remake into something new to be sold with any profit made returning to the person throwing the item away in the first place, waste not want not!
Thank you to Sarah Moore and everyone at Friel Kean Films for this great project, I look forward to seeing the results in the coming weeks, everyday at 15.45 on BBC1.
I'll post some before & after pictures here and on twitter @rupertblanchard of the pieces I've made after the show airs.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Cliftonville Ephemera - Northdown Road

 I have started collecting paperwork and objects of local historical interest. I found a few pieces this morning at the local collectors fair, all relating to Northdown Road. It's an interesting road that locals often say "it's not what it used to be" but it still holds many gems and very few empty shops compared with 5 or 10 years ago.
The Trinity Square end of Northdown Road has been almost killed off by poor local planning decisions allowing shops to be badly converted to flats. At time of writing, a very nice original shop with 2 bed flat above is being ripped apart to provide 8 two bed flats, over developed, poorly conceived, poor quality. As it's been a rather sunny day i decided to visit a few of the addresses that the paperwork originated from to see if anything remained...
Above, one of my favourite finds, C. Savery Pastrycook & Confectioner at number 126 c.1925. Part of the original shopfront remains with many later additions and repairs, but have a closer look at the doorway...
 the property today
a mosaic tiled shop name that on closer inspection appears to have been altered from C. Savery to Mummery. but if you look closer at the paperwork A. J. Mummery signed the letter, I've yet to find out the connection. Savery easily converts to Mummery...
Next, much further down the road to number 241 c.1955. rather exciting to see that E. Saunders Ltd is still in the same location today. The Northdown Road side shopfront and doorway is a modern replacement but the side road appears to be original to the property with some lovely green glazed tiles below the decorative wooden display windows. Huge display windows that are sadly whitewashed and covered up.
Up next, a classic store that any Margatonian could point out. Still at number 242 Northdown Road. Two invoices from the 1920's. The shop front appears to have been modernised in the 1960's when they also rented televisions, sold pianos, records and organs. Good times. A brass/bronze name plate is incorporated above the corner window, I imagine this is a part of the original shopfront.
lastly, above and below, I didn't buy this item. I spotted it at Scott's Furniture Mart where you can buy it if it's still there.
A cardboard and wooden framed box for Terry's Chocolates, with a delivery address of 186 Northdown Road, today number 186 is an oriental take-away with a modern shopfront but a interesting marble chip composite forecourt that appears to be original, I guess this was a confectionery store...
That's it for today. If you are looking for a cheap new home and work space somewhere interesting with fresh air, take a walk down Northdown Road.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

making furniture...

picture above courtesy of elemental
 2014 has been a rather busy year building a new home and workshop. I only had time to make a very small furniture collection, but I'm still collecting and hoarding discarded drawers and waste materials whenever i can with the hope that one day I'll bring these orphaned objects back into use.
I made four pieces as one of Kevin McCloud's Green Hero's at his Grand Design Live show. Here is one of the first pieces i've made in Margate, from a selection of drawers collected in Margate and London over the past 5 years, housed in a reclaimed plywood hoarding framework salvaged from the Olympic games building site in East London.
The starting point for these cabinets always differs. Sometimes I'll have a bolt-out-of-the-blue discovery and everything falls into place, other times I'll be playing a three-dimensional game of Tetris for a year or two until a cabinet is finished or rejected back into the hoarding mountain. Above and Below shows the start of my Tetris game before the elements are restored, I don't normally start with the metal base in place but i wanted to use up a few workshop oddments. the completed piece with Kevin McCloud at Grand Design Live before heading the Elemental's new shop in Shoreditch, London before hopefully finding a good new home. looking forwards to an exciting 2015...
from top left to right, 2 Art Deco dressing table drawers, 30's chest drawer, Victorian kitchen dresser drawer, workshop drawer, wardrobe sundries tray drawer, 2 haberdashery drawers, 2 Georgian dresser drawers, 20's chest drawer, Victorian shop counter till drawer, filing cabinet drawer, wardrobe drawer, wardrobe sundries drawer.
visit elemental's new shop on Shoreditch High Street if you would like to see the cabinet in person.

The Dalby Cafe Archive

Call in & see us - Hand painted sign on Northdown Road
 One of my greatest luxuries is the occasional visit to a local cafe. After leaving London I would often pine for a greasy spoon escape at lunch time. Pellicci's Cafe in the East and Simon's Diner in the South are now sadly too far away for a lunch hour but luckily one of Margate's finest haunts is just around the corner, The Dalby Cafe.
above: In a sea of chalk boards, print-outs and tinsel hangs the Mega Breakfast Campions leader board at Christmas, Recently cleaned up with only the top three champions remaining. I haven't attempted the challenge yet (I'm not a mushroom fan)

 Original patterned formica tables with fixed position flip down vinyl seating. Many interiors features have been updated during 2014, including new flooring, front door, counter and sadly the removal of the low window net curtains but a lot of charm still remains. importantly the food is great...
(Cliftonville is...) buzzing
below: my brother who refused to be photographed in the cafe...
The reason for this blog post and the Dalby Cafe archive was spurred on by a kind donation to me by the wonderful character that is Joe of Margate Retro in the Old Town, Margate.
Joe discovered a collection of old Dalby Cafe invoices from local Thanet based suppliers, a selection of these follow...
 above/below: Margamatics, 64a Victoria Road, Margate. I like to think that this invoice was for a Pac-Man or similar arcade machine c.1984
 above/below: G's Stores, Kosher Butcher Delicatessen and Grocery, 123 Northdown Road Cliftonville. For all Dalby's tomato and coffee supply needs in 1984.
 above: G.G.Baxter Ltd, Birchington
below: The Hobart Manufacturing Co Ltd, something new for the kitchen c.1983
 above/below: Bowketts the Bakers, Westwood, Broadstairs. tick the box order pad c/o Sunblest Bakeries Ltd
 all of the invoices have a stamp on them:
Produced for Audit, Spencer, Taylor & Co, 2 Cecil Square, Margate.
 above/below: (Bot.of?) D. Morgan Family Butcher. 108 Northdown Road, Cliftonville c.1984
 rather plain early till receipt, but zoom in (below) to see Woolworth Cliftonville. What was 15p?
 thats it for now, see you in the cafe...