I recently went on about the appalling 'W' Wall's Ice Cream identity, but singularly failed to show you how their tin signs once fitted into the English landscape. One can only recoil in horror at the thought of their crass all-purpose heart symbol plastered on to this cottage in Ebrington. I found this photograph, by Noel Hapgood, in Garry Hogg's The Batsford Colour Book of The Cotswolds. Closer inspection will reveal the original Wall's sign, perfectly at home and in scale on this stone-built cottage tucked up in the furthest north east corner of Gloucestershire. Hapgood probably took his picture in the 1960s, and, like so many of the images in these souvenir guides to 'quainte olde Englande', over the years it slowly reveals the treasures of a lost country. The low signpost that Hogg says 'must be for the use of those not yet grown to maturity' and the back of the pre-Warboys road sign on the left that perhaps said 'bend' or 'crossroads' on it. But oh that Wall's sign. Positioned to catch not only the sun, but also the eye of the overheated traveller from Chipping Campden, Charingworth or Paxford.
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)