Signs of the times.

Traditional shop sign writers practiced an art.

It took some years of training in order to become a really
good sign writer.

Such signs took a while to complete, but they gave our
high streets a visual quality which is missing within our
modern townscapes.

One would be very hard pressed to find a sign writer these
days.

Most modern shop signs being a mixture of plastic sheets
and individual plastic lettering.

Such signs are both homogeneous in style , and very ugly
in the extreme.

Once used and discarded,
such signs create yet more waste,
or just more plastics which needs to be recycled.

Continue reading Signs of the times.

James Duff Brown (1862-1914)

Very few people might ever of heard of James Duff Brown ,
but his impact upon just how we use public libraries is
enormous.

Brown worked as a librarian in Camberwell before he
became the first Borough librarian for Islington.

His great innovation was to introduce ‘open access’ within
public libraries.

Previous to that ‘closed access’ meant that one had to
browse the library catalogue, and complete a form in order
for one of the library staff to fetch the book out from the
back.

Brown wrote upon various aspects of librarianship.

His Publications include:

A manual of practical bibliography.

Subject Classification.

&

British Musical Biography: A Dictionary of Musical Artists,
Authors, and Composers Born in Britain and Its Colonies.

Anyone who is interested in library history or library
cataloguing should find out more about his work.

Simon Dee and French Nukiller Bomb Tests.

Simon Dee ( Carl Henty-Dodd ) was the first pirate radio
disc jockey upon radio Caroline.

Radio Caroline being one of the various off-shore radio
stations which broadcast pop music to Britain during the
period 1964 to 1967.

Before working for Radio Caroline he had done a string of
jobs. At one time been vacuum cleaner salesman, and had
run a coffee bar.

After his days on Radio Caroline he worked for Radio
Luxembourg, and then hosting some kind of television show .

His meteoric rise towards,
and fall from stardom,
should be a lesson to us all.

I meet Simon Dee during the summer of 1974 when he just
turned up at a meeting of Greenpeace ( London ).

During that period the focus of the group was French
atmospheric nukiller bomb tests at Mururoa Atoll in the
pacific.

Continue reading Simon Dee and French Nukiller Bomb Tests.

In to the Dustbin of History.

The Chapel Street Market branch of Woolworths closed
down last month, and thus another part of my landscape
history disappeared along side of it.

I have a strong memory of being outside of the store while I
was four years old – over 50 years ago.

Places change, buildings come and go.

What used to be slum areas turn in to fashionable parts.

Fashionable areas decay and turn in to slum areas.

It’s the old saying:
‘What comes around goes around’.

What used to be the premises of C & W May ( theatrical
Costumiers ) has changes a lot.

I worked for the company in Covent Garden from 1968 to
1972.

My how things have changed in the area since then!

Continue reading In to the Dustbin of History.

Avocadoes.

I had dinner with my old friend Ruth over the weekend.

We sat out in her garden under the shade of a tree she had
planted herself.

As part of the meal we ate a dish which was made of
avocados.

Very nice !

What makes this worth noting,
is that the avocados were grown on the tree we were
sitting under.

Eva Batt described avocados as being:
‘Nature’s Green butter’.

Eva Batt was a founder of the Vegan Society,
&
is well known for her classic cook book
Vegan Cooking.

My friend Ruth lives in Camberwell – South London.

Camberwell is famous for a school of art,
but not for what is grown in the area.

Climate change must now be gaining at apace,
if avocados can now be grown in a garden in Camberwell.

Helping People to walk.

Walking is good for both health and the environment.

Here are a few ideas upon what might be done to encourage
people to use their feet.

– Install Pedestrian Shelters at all traffic lights.

The is nothing worst that just waiting & waiting in the rain
for the lights to change in order that one might walk
across the road.

– Make all Traffic Lights work with a Pedestrian
Preference, and timed so that one came reach the
diagonally opposite part of the road junction.

– Larger and more luggage racks on all buses.
This would encourage more people to go shopping via the
bus.

– No VAT or Purchase tax upon Backpacks, Walking Shoes or
Walking Boots.

&

– A crackdown upon all those who cause obstructions upon
the pavements, or who pavement park.

This is something which the UK Pedestrian Association has
been campaigning upon for many a year.

For more ideas upon how walking may be improved: –

See the website for
The International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP)

www.pedestrians-int.org

Realistic Dreams and other Achievable Aims.

As a child I was given a small print of the Edvard Munch
painting ‘The Sun’. It is a powerful painting. I kept the print
upon my wall for many a year.

The first time I went to Oslo was in 1983, and at long last I
was able to see the painting for myself.

Something I never dreamed might happen to me while I was a child.

Since then I’ve been to many other places which I never
dreamed about getting to while I was as child.

Come to that: –
I’ve been to places, and seen things which my grandparents
would never of been able to reach within their working lives.

Continue reading Realistic Dreams and other Achievable Aims.

Scaffolding and Library Lists.

Library and Information work is not just about being able to
provide information.

Neither is it just about how to use book content pages,
indices, or being able to update loose leaf binder files.

It is also about being able to interpret some of the
following:

– Telephone area codes.

– Post Office sort Codes, or Zip codes.

– Dewey Classification numbers.

&

– ISBN & ISSN Numbers.

Of course there are a lot of other codes or information
systems which one may be asked about during the course of
a typical Library working day.

Continue reading Scaffolding and Library Lists.

The Maths of Library Poverty.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimates that single
people in Britain need a pre-tax income of £13,400 a year
before the cost of rents are added on to this amount.

Taking in to account that most rents Start at between £140
& £160 a week, then that is an add on of between £7,280 &
£8320 a year.

This means that we are talking of between £20,680 &
£21,720 a year.

The average salary for most library workers is circa
£4,000-£6,000 BELOW that amount.

All of which illustrates both why Library Workers should
be better paid,
&
Just why Library Workers need to gain a Key Worker status.

Another Fine Old Cinema Building Destroyed

The building which was the Scala Cinema
on the Stroud Green Rd,
or to be exact:
15 The Parade, Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park,
is no more.

The Scala was a purpose built cinema which opened in
October 1914,
became New Scala in 1920,
& closed in 1924.

The building was put to many purposes after it closed as a
cinema, such as a clothing factory, etc, etc.

I had know the place since I was a child.

A couple of years ago I managed to get a news story about
the appalling state of the building in to the Islington
Gazette.

Unfortunate nothing ever came of my efforts.

I passed the site 3 days ago,
and was sad to see that it is in the final stages of demolition.

It’s sad to see that such an important historical building
should be lost to us all!