Saturday, 30 August 2014

Oxford Street London W1

One of my least favourite streets in London. Always best to whizz across and out, than attempt to walk along the over-crowded thoroughfare. Unless you just happen to end up in on the street during the deep hours of the early morning. 

Back in 1968, The Oxford Street Association published a pocket-sized 64 page booklet that promoted the street's major stores and its nearby tourist attractions. Quite possibly it was the last time this shopping mile and a quarter looked any good since it opened for business back in the 1730s.

The very Swinging London-esque cover (Front and Back)

There's a cracking ad for D.H.Evans which was named after its Welsh founder Dan Harris Evans who opened his first shop in Oxford Street in 1879:

and one hundred and twenty years later, the name vanished from the Street altogether 
The HMV shop at No. 363 (below) was opened in 1921 by the composer Sir Edward Elgar. Today there is an HMV store on the very same site...

Back in 1968, Stafford Bourne (the son of the original co-founder) was the President of The Oxford Street Association. The department store closed up in 1983.

Not in 2014 you can't...

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Your England Revisited

Last week I stumbled upon a second hand copy of Ian Nairn's 'Your England Revisited' which was published in 1964 by Hutchinson & Co., Great Portland Street, London W1. The hardback book complete with its original dust-jacket was ex-library (Architecture. Town & Country Planning written in blue biro inside) which once belonged to the County High School for Girls in Walthamstow E17. It cost me £2.50 - a good deal considering it sold for '30s net' when it came out fifty years ago.

Ian Nairn (1930-1983) was a radical architectural critic with a truly unique style. Much has already been written about his career - and there have been several fascinating BBC TV documentaries about him too.

'Your England Revisited' was influenced by a pamphlet written by the educationalist Denys Thompson (1907-1988), and the book presents a collection of photographs taken by Nairn accompanied by his inimitable, spiky captions. The B&W photos are mostly shot in the UK, and portray typical landscapes that are then unpicked by Nairn's wonderfully pithy commentaries.

Here are several brilliant examples...