Thursday, 19 July 2007

Ginger's Guide to London Streets #4: Fournier Street, E1 (or NW1?)

Over to another part of the E1 postcode and this time Fournier Street. Something that I've noticed, particularly in this area where there is a long history of a lot of these places, is the wide variation in the style of street signage, even on a single street. Parliament Court was a particularly striking example - the sign at the opposite end to the Jack the Ripper graffito was rather bizarre - presumably it was either put there by the council (in which case it's incredibly shoddy), of a member of the public (which would show a curious dedication to signage).

Anyhoo, back to Fournier Street, whether that be in English or an alternative language. I'm not quite sure what point someone was trying to prove with their scribbling (top left) over the 'E1' postcode and replacing it with 'NW1' - perhaps some disgruntled resident was pretending they actually lived in Camden?

Fournier Street appears fairly residential (left) but nonetheless has several points of interest. On the corner, where it meets Commercial Street, is large pub called The Ten Bells (right), which looks as though it has had the same knocked out of it. At the other end of the street is Brick Lane, so we're definitely getting into East London territory.

The street is also book-ended by two quite contrasting places of worship. At one end is the imposing Christ Church, Spitalfields. At the other is the (apparently closed for refurbishment) Brick Lane Jamme Masjid. The latter had an interesting looking sundial near the top of the frontage - I have no idea whether this is a common feature of Masjids, or whether it was perhaps an original feature of a listed building. In The City/East End you never can be sure - I gather there's a building somewhere that has been a Church and a Synagogue and a Mosque at different points in its history.

The housing threw up some interesting sights as well. On one side of the road the houses looked a lot grander than on the other, which seemed to consist more of converted shops, judging by some of the shuttered windows. Not entirely sure why one house had British and French flags dangling out the windows, but I suppose it was Bastille Day. I can't guarantee they would be there for future visits! The most charming residential feature I saw was a house that had obviously been divided in two at some point, but instead of going for the conventional '11a' and '11b', the two homes were labelled '11' and 'Eleven and a half'. (Click on the picture at the bottom for a decent view).

Finally, in one of the more curious pieces of local-authority labelling I've seen, some of the bollards had 'LBTH' on them. It took me a moment or two to confirm my instinctive assertion that 'This isn't Lambeth!?' and realise that it presumably stands for 'London Borough of Tower Hamlets'. A strange measure - perhaps they are worried that if they don't label them, some other council will pinch them. I guess this way they're safe from light-fingered councillors. Unless they are from Lambeth, of course...


Anonymous said...

LBTH also tells you where you are, which is sometimes useful. Unless you think you are in Lambeth.

The differences in houses may be because the grander ones were original, and used to face fields. Then the newer ones were added. Or it could be bomb damage - and one half had to be cleared and rebuilt.


Anonymous said...

chris dyson architect rebuilt and named the house called eleven and a half fournier street he is a very cool architect

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