Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by well-known brand names that could be seen on factories at the side of railway lines. It started with a big neon sign saying 'Weetabix' between Wellingborough and Kettering at Burton Latimer. Then of course there's Horlick's at Slough (a copy of their U.S. factory in Racine, Wisconsin) and the sadly empty Ovaltine factory at Kings Langley on the Euston line in Hertfordshire. A cut-out timber Ovaltine Dairy Maid could also be seen up on an embankment above the factory. Another household name apparently about to disappear from the railway sightlines is probably my favourite, Louis de Soisson's 1925 factory in Welwyn Garden City. A machine age, wipe-clean, eau-de-nil and white masterpiece just next to the station. I suspect the prospect of turning the whole thing into massively over-priced loft-style apartments is just too tempting; a brand that was once at the heart of one of the first garden cities exiled to a soulless industrial 'park' somewhere.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)