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...

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Grand Design Live 2014 - Kevin's Green Heroes

Just a quick note to let you know that I've been selected as one of Kevin McCloud's Green Heroes which means I'll be showing at Grand Designs Live in Birmingham, Details can be found HERE
I will be showing four brand new pieces, made in my new Margate home, hope to see you there

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Last Few Days at James Decor, Cliftonville, Margate

 Around a year ago when searching for a new home i noticed that James Decor in Cliftonville Margate was up for sale due to retirement. It has now sold.
Automatically recognised as a building of some note yet it failed to make an appearance in a local conservation report in recent years. Built as a grand car showroom and office space in a once glamorous high street, it still retains many of its original features in remarkably good condition. Now the shop is almost cleared it would only take a lick of paint and a few period hanging lights to be mistaken for the day it was built. This is definitely one of the best preserved showrooms in the country...
above: a picture of the car showroom when first opened hangs on the DIY shop pegboard wall
below: the interior today with the shop inventory almost sold out

OPEN - but sadly not for much longer
call THANET 24216
 Today, the original external Brass, Bronze and Mahogany framed windows and doors are still in place with elaborate marble and plaster details breaking the shopfront...
 large windows facing all pedestrian walkways/road sides for maximum light and visibility, the red painted boards (above and below) have been used in recent years to protect glass from vandalism, modern roller shutters would have damaged the fronts.

 What does the future hold for this beauty?
Since construction the property has serviced three main businesses, originally a car showroom, then a Gas and appliance showroom/shop who added the dark oak panelling wrapping around the ground floor and since the 1980s it has been home to the James Decor DIY store.
James Decor moved to the property from a former location in Sweyn Road (see below), Now a second hand shop. They moved to the new location partly due to the large customer car parking area to the side of the showroom, But as the property came up for sale i felt that this car park might spell the end for this beautiful building as the site is a developers dream come true when levelled. 
 So as another nail hits the coffin for independent hardware stores, its not all doom and gloom for 292 Northdown Road as the new owners plan to refurbish rather than rebuild opening a veterinary surgery with customer parking so hopefully the building gets to fight another day with the new owners....

 Above: James Decor added modern perspex signage to earlier metal framed light box locations
Below: original mahogany double doors with fan light and brass/bronze details 

 the superb ceilings are in amazing condition, hopefully they survive with the new owners...

 independent hardware stores, a very rare find on the high streets today...
 ...not much left...

 above, my first and last ever 'Selfie' in the private office security door can't get an off-cut of plywood in B&Q for 30p !

 ...Fantastic Plastic...Fantastic Prices...

 ...many hand painted signs that will soon be gone forever...
 ...back door to the carpark. I didn't know the shop for very long as I'm new to the area but it's still sad to think that this will be the last time I see this interior, please look after it... 
James Decor - 292 Northdown Road
(almost) gone but not forgotten