Thursday, 14 August 2008

Cricket & All That Gas


Funny where you end up sometimes. I've just been writing about gasholders for Classic Constructs, and talked about the famous ones that pop up in our peripheral visions. The mighty Victorian iron frames that have always greeted trains slowing up into St. Pancras station, now also enjoyed by those arriving from La Continent. And then probably the most high profile one of all, caught in the slips at the Oval cricket ground in Kennington. So I took the tube down there and had a word with security at the gate, to see if I could get a shot of them across the grass. I might as well have said "Can I tip a bucket of creosote over the wicket?" and was unceremoniously tipped-out into the street. I'd forgotten that a test match was going to kick-off at the end of the week. So I wandered round Kennington Oval and came across this boarded-up pub with its batsman mural which did everything I wanted. Click. Click. But the really curious thing was seeing the Foster's sign lying on its back on the chimney. I designed these illuminated signs in the late eighties as part of a huge project to stop Ozzie brewer Elders painting every Courage pub blue and gold. I hated the thought of putting 'lager' on the bottom part of the roundel, so merely did 'Foster's' again. Just doing my bit.

10 comments:

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

A seldom heard phrase: "I could murder a pint of Fosters"

Philip Wilkinson said...

I remember the Oval gasholders well from my London days, some of which were spent hanging around the Vauxhall area. I'd banished Foster's from my memory, though. Must go and restore the memory loss with a glass of something more toothsome.

Fred Fibonacci said...

That, Peter, is a very clever picture. Ooh you're so blinking clever aren't you? What with your artfully juxtaposed angles of pub roof and gasometer girders, and your stark relief foliage echoing the passing clouds in the background. I'm going back to crayons, or My Grappa Hell if I can summon the courage.

Jon Dudley said...

I do like a nice gasometer and yes, Fred, he's done it again hasn't he....a very nice piece of deconstruction too from your good self, what with all that juxtaposing and echoing going on.

Did you clamber athletically up the chimney and liberate the pub sign Mr A? You might even have taken the Fosters roundel for old times' sake...it's probably twenty years since you worked on its design and it will soon become unmitigated in its own right...maybe not.

I can picture Mr Wilkinson hanging around the Vauxhall area in Pepys' time when the pleasure gardens so named served a useful purpose for gentlemen of a rakish disposition

Peter Ashley said...

Fred: Don't go near My Grappa Hell yet, there's still girls fighting over Ron the last time I looked.

Jon: I wish I had retrieved a Foster's sign. Thing is those illuminated ones are very big down at ground level, but we did design wall roundels to go next to doors. They were manufactured by Wood & Wood who did those fabulous vitreous enamel inn signs for John Smiths, designed by The Partners and using illustrators of the calibre of Andrew Davidson. Now I do have one of those (see page 105 of Unmitigated England. Plug Plug.)

Jon Dudley said...

They were lovely...you're lucky to have one of those.

Ron Combo said...

I do believe I lost the ring from one of my marriages in the bog at that ghastly pub. England vs Pakistan, a few years ago now. That took some explaining, I can tell you. Not the match of course, but the missing ring. I'd only been married for about six weeks.

Peter Ashley said...

Oh Ron. I'm so sorry to have dredged-up such an appalling memory. I've a feeling I may have been with you, but I might be confusing it with the time we all fondled the back of Viv Richards' blazer in that pub next to Lords when the test got rained-off.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Part of my hanging around Vauxhall was to do with a plan to revive the old pleasure gardens (for the Millennium - remember that?). But the Millennium Commission did not prove sufficiently rakish to back the scheme, having blown all their money on that awful tent thing in East London and its even more abysmal contents.

Jon Dudley said...

Now that would have been a worthy project indeed Mr.W. but I couldn't resist casting you in that rakish role, what with your goldfish bowl full of wine and all. Whilst restoring the Vauxhall pleasure gardens they could have restored Mr Cupers Gardens too (commemorated in song as 'Cupids garden') which was also a great place for assignations and much vanishing into the shrubbery. They could also have re-instated Rowland Emett's wonderful Festival of Britain railway too at Battersea.