Thursday, 23 July 2015

Watford Chemical Co. Ltd.

I've got plenty of photographs that I took during a period in my life when I had something of a fevered fascination to collect images of bygone London (then).

Back in the 1980s, I'd spend much of the time exploring my various haunts - in particular East London. Building up a private archive of places that seemed to linger forever battered and broken - and then would suddenly disappear in a blink of eye.

One such building was the headquarters of the Watford Chemical Co. Ltd. in Copperfield Road, London E3, a largely industrial street that is situated alongside the Regent's Canal. These days, it is the superb Ragged School Museum that draws visitors from all over to Copperfield Road, where they can experience the beautifully reconstructed classrooms that were designed by Dr Barnardo to educate the poor children of the area between 1877 to 1908.

The Museum opened its doors several years after the photograph was taken, and some decades on from the era when this chemical manufacturer must have been a laboratory bubbling with activity. Not sure why they were based in London E3, and not Watford in Hertfordshire?

I wonder how many people were employed at the works, and who out there may still have memories of all those emulsifying agents and chemicals manufactured on the premises?

Circa late 1980s. Where have all sundry chemicals gone?

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Big Jig's Famous London Scenes

I'm just following up my two previous postings about the Good-Win 'Big Jig' puzzles. I've now finally tracked down all four of their markets of London 400 piece jigsaws issued in the 1950s as Series 5 thru 8 of FAMOUS LONDON SCENES.

Of course, numbers 6 and 7, Covent Garden and Billingsgate Markets, have both since moved from their nineteenth century buildings. In 1974, 'New' Covent Garden relocated to Nine Elms, and in 1982 the fish market was shunted further east along the Thames to its present home on the Isle of Dogs.

I know nothing about 'nevin' who painted the series - nor how popular the jigsaw puzzles were at the time. A previous owner had written 3/- in pencil on the back of one of the boxes.Perhaps that's what they paid for it at the time, when budget puzzles like these were so plentiful.

Billingsgate Market in Lower Thames Street at 8.25am, packed with porters and fish. The 1870s building is now an 'up-market' events venue...

5. Smithfield Market, looking towards St Bartholomew's Hospital. The Red Phone Box is still there...
6. Covent Garden, one for the tourists now...
7. Billingsgate. Note 'GOODWIN & CO' on the most prominent sign. A little plug for the publishers of the jigsaw!
8. Petticoat Lane - for more on this one, check my post in Feb 2015...