Thursday, 1 September 2016

Oven Ready

Sometime in the hedonistic eighties we were meandering our way home from Hastings and came across a derelict house next to a railway station in East Sussex. The front door was open, honest, and we shuffled about on broken glass from room to room. In the kitchen I noticed a slightly different surface to part of the wall, and a tell-tale gas pipe told me an iron plate had been placed to absorb heat from an oven. It was streaked with yellow paint and I immediately knew what it was. As I'm sure you've guessed too. Our car had a toolkit and it was but seconds for the plate to be levered away to reveal this very bright enamel sign, still exhorting us to find the station master and take out Railway Passengers Assurance. And still demonstrating the artist's optical trick of giving the perfectly rectangular sign a permanent lean.
    It's subsequently been in a succession of garages and garden sheds with just spiders for company, until the other day I was putting the lawnmower away and had the urge to take it down and give it a good clean. The enamel, which appropriately would have seen the inside of an oven in its manufacture, came up as bright as the day it left Hancor Signs in Mitcham in, I imagine, the 1920s. One thing I like that you can't really see in the photograph is that there is residue of the green kitchen wall paint on the edges. Probably the only reminder of the house, now demolished to make way for a car park extension. So now I'm wondering where to put the sign. Looking around I think it will have to be the ceiling.

8 comments:

Sue Imgrund said...

Love the lettering - very Jazz Age. In fact, it looks more like a poster for a show or a sheet music cover than advertising for Assurance.

Peter Ashley said...

You're right Sue. It's very much a paper poster, and you've made me think that's probably where it started out.

The Vintage Knitter said...

Snap!

I have the exact same sign, but obtained far less romantically than yours - from Wells Trading Post a few years ago. The fonts and simplicity of the design appealed to me, especially the 'Good Company' logo. I often wonder which station mine originally came from.

The below link to a previous blog post contains a photo of the sign with its companions on the house's back wall.

http://thevintageknitter.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/gnoming-around-garden-trip.html

Philip Wilkinson said...

Lovely. Even if the lettering is a bit squashed in places, this oven ready sign is no turkey.

Peter Ashley said...

VK: Love your signs! Your Railway Assurance one looks in far better nick than mine. Thanks for the link. I'm going to see if any of my railway books have pictures of the sign in situ. I've a feeling there is one somewhere. I shall report.

Phil: Perhaps we should stay the lettering is over-stuffed.

Jon Dudley said...

I wondered where that went! We'd only nipped out to Sainsbury's. OK the place was in a bit of a mess but we were going to sweep up the broken glass when we got back...

bazza said...

You build a bar or a den; the perfect place for that kind of sign!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Hels said...

Gutsy bloke.... going into a derelict house next to a railway station in East Sussex is not normally a place I would walk into alone. But fortune favours the brave, apparently :)