Monday, 9 February 2015

l'histoire de faux

Fake ageing - like fake French - confounds me. I can understand why the perpetrators descend to this. The are scrabbling around for an ambience on which to hang their narrative.

This is Albion Place in the CBD, which runs from George Street through to Kent Street, between Bathurst and Liverpool Streets. It has been an access-way since 1834. Melburnians call them "laneways", and create wonders, which are abuzz with bustling citizens. Real folk: meeting, chiacking, guffawing, spending. Here in Sydney we create a dead-zone, of use to some of the people, some of the time.

So, what is faux here?

Specifically, the three wall signs which are all for Black Country businesses back in the United Kingdom. The Walsall FC team are known as "The Saddlers" because of the proliferation of that sort of venture, in that area, in the second half of the 19th century. Whether applied new, or touched-up, the signs are shockers.

Fairbanks, Lavender and Sons are listed in the 1900 edition of Kelly's Directory of Staffordshire as harness manufacturers. Handford-Greatrex and Co. Ltd. have an extensive listing in the same directory: "Coach, saddle, bridle and harness leather; goods specially prepared and packed for export". Bedstead and fender makers, S.F. Turner, had their works in Dock Lane, Dudley. The business was established in 1840 and is remembered today for the safes they made, with many examples surviving.

What does history - real history - tell us about Albion Place? I'll tell you Thursday: need to get the story straight in my head; and need more photos to show you.

To close, here are two images of George Street close to Albion Place. On the left is an 1873 image, in which you can see the spire of Christ Church St Laurence in the distance. On the right,a similar angle but totally different view, as you would expect. But,you can still see the spire. What do I hear you say? Can't be! George Street has a different incline. Indeed, they chopped off the top, and filled in the bottom. Cross my heart ...


Joe said...

My ancestors back in Staffordshire may have set eyes on the originals of these signs Julie.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I get a bit annoyed at faux ghost signs too.

William Kendall said...

It's almost the sort of tacky thing you expect out of developers and building owners, those faux ghost signs.