Thursday, 14 May 2009

Old Walls

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.

13 comments:

Circe said...

Sure enough! I love the aspect of blogger that so greatly enlarges a photo or image with just one click...

This photo transcends time in such a lovely way...

I'd love to be standing on that corner, either having or wishing for some icecream; both decidedly delicious concepts in such a setting.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Lovely image. Ebrington is one of a number of villages in England traditionally said to be inhabited by fools. They pronounced the name of their village 'Yubberton' and were said to get up to all sorts of daft exploits. Allegedly of course. For example:
The Yubberton fools to Campden went.
To fetch a wheelbarrow was their intent.
They carried it back from town to town
For fear the wheel would bruise the groun'.

Thud said...

how could they ever expect to sell anything with a sign less than 200ft square and liberal lashings of neon...fools!

Sue said...

Whew! All's right and well in Unmitigated England again. I'll have a Mivvi (or however you spell it...)

Dave Trousers said...

A quick search of flickr.com revealed that scene today.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kp_kyak/2521670682/sizes/l/Sadly the fingerpost has been replaced and the Walls sign long gone.

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou for that link Mr.Trousers. I note by the flag in the garden the current occupiers have their hearts in the right place. Pity about that abysmal signpost though.

Toby Savage said...

hey! This picture must have been taken at almost exactly this time all those years ago. A few trees yet to fill with leaves and the blossom just over. I'd put it at the first week of May, 1066.

Peter Ashley said...

Spot on.

Bucks Retronaut said...

....and I thought the Victorian watercolours of Helen Allingham were over-romanticised until I saw this !

Thank you.

Affer said...

Walls were, of course, highly skilled and manipulative marketers - doubtless from the Edward Bernays school. Some older readers may recall Tommy Walls in the Eagle, and the secret 'W' sign made with thumb and forefinger of both hands. No wonder we ate so much of their icecream - even if it wasn't a patch on Lyons maid!

Ron Combo said...

I'm not sure about the Cross of St. George in the garden. I don't know, I think there's something very un-English about overt displays like that. But then it's a flag that looks just right when flown from a church tower. Lovely original picture anyway, thank you too to Mr Trousers for the new one.

toobusy2 said...

I am the keeper of this cottage. Dates back to early 1600's. Lovely to live in and for everyones information the shop closed in 1963. The Wall's sign.... obviously didn't work....shop shut.
I am very patriotic hence the flag of St George. England for the English!

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