Thursday Doors: Champion Pub

Ages ago I posted a pic taken from outside the Champion Pub in Wells Street, just off London’s Oxford Street. Sitting on its corner plot, it has some lovely stained glass windows on two sides depicting famous British champions, and I promised to go back sometime to take some pics from inside…

Here’s my original door pic taken from the outside…

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And now here’s the same door (open this time) as seen from inside the pub, and also the windows all the way round from right to left…

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I realise this has turned into more of a Thursday doors-and-windows post, but I’m sure in the circumstances I’ll be forgiven 🙂

Thursday Doors: Westminster Cathedral

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I took these external pics of Westminster Cathedral in London’s Victoria on my way to and from this year’s Annual Blogger’s Bash in June, and meant to post them earlier but seem to have missed the boat somewhat with my timings. Still, better late than never! To be honest I didn’t even know this cathedral existed until it turned up as a landmark on Geoff’s directions to the Bash venue nearby, and from what I could see in passing the heavy rectangular wooden doors are probably the plainest part of the building.

I looked it up once I got home and discovered that the foundation stone was laid in 1895 and the fabric of the building was completed eight years later, and although according to the website the interior is incomplete the cathedral still contains some fine marble work and mosaics. Apparently there’s also a public viewing gallery from the top of the 210ft (64m) tower, so I think overall Westminster Cathedral is certainly somewhere I’ll be visiting properly sometime in the future…

For more door-oriented posts please see Norm’s Thursday Doors post for this week and click on the blue frog 🙂

 

Thursday Doors: Dark Green But Not Unseen

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Hmmm… I’m not at all sure where these simple dark green wooden panelled doors lead – perhaps to simple garden storage sheds, or perhaps allowing private access to the long and narrow fenced-off garden area from the brick-built apartment block behind? All I know is there were several similar green doors, set at fixed intervals into brick surrounds, and however discreet and unassuming they may be, they still caught my eye through the tall railings surrounding the whole garden strip 🙂

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And this very plain dark green wooden plank door leads to a very welcome public convenience discreetly half-hidden behind ample foliage in a local park 🙂

For a variety of other door posts for this week please see Norm’s Thursday Doors

 

Thursday Doors: Funerary Doors

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These delicately designed doors to the catacombs and columbarium in the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium in East London are made of metal – a narrow-guage mesh layered diagonally behind a stamped-out patchwork  pattern. I had to look up what a columbarium was – apparently whereas catacombs store coffins on cool, dark, underground shelf spaces, a columbarium stores funerary urns containing cremated remains, also underground.

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There are two crematoria on site, a more traditional building (main door shown above) and a modern 1970s low-profile concrete design (not pictured).

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As well as the two crematoria and catacombs, there is a purpose-built Anglican church and also a non-conformist (Dissenters) chapel on site for accommodating funeral services – these are the beautiful chapel doors (above).

The City of London Cemetery and Crematorium is the largest municipal burial ground in the UK, covering 200 acres and with seven miles of road throughout. It has been in use since the mid-19th Century, when London’s city churchyards were full beyond capacity and creating a health hazard – in fact, many old remains were re-intered here as the old parish graveyards were unconsecrated and repurposed, with large communal gravestones commemorating the occasion.

Additionally there are also beautiful and well-kept Memorial Gardens within the cemetery grounds, including formal rose gardens… not a picture of a door to end with, I know, but it certainly brightens up my otherwise rather sombre post! 🙂

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See more images of doors on Norm’s Thursday Doors

Red Pillar Boxes – Minus the ‘Curly George’

While completing this year’s April Blogging from A-Z Challenge with the theme of photographing everyday things taken locally, I chose ‘V for Victorian Pillar Box’ and with fingers crossed went in search of the perfect contender. As we live in Leytonstone in East London which is mainly Victorian-built it seemed a reasonably achievable task to set myself.

As it happened I found one relatively easily, but until I particularly started looking I realised I’d never really paid attention to the different Royal Ciphers on the pillar box doors before. In Scotland where I come from, all pillar boxes I’ve ever seen have the Scottish crown on them, regardless of when they were made, so being able to chart the history of pillar boxes through Royal Ciphers really captured my imagination.

Scottish Pillar Box

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I was intrigued, and so began my self-appointed quest to find an example of each successive monarch’s insignia on local pillar boxes all within a reasonable walking distance from home, from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth through King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII and King George VI. And suddenly I have become a pillar box nerd, checking out every one I see…

Victoria Regina (1837-1901)

Apparently the very first post boxes to appear on our streets (from 1853 onwards) were a variety of shapes and colours, all with a VR cipher on them but as far as I can see none of these are to be found around Leytonstone. However, I suppose as many of the houses around here weren’t built until the 1880s, it’s possible they simply weren’t needed much before then.

The earliest example of a round red Victorian pillar box I found is actually only about 100 yards from our flat, and is one of the so-called anonymous boxes that were cast in 1879. This was apparently a mistake, as a new standard design of pillar box had been drawn up with a blank door plate to accommodate whichever monarch was to be on the throne, and the manufacturer, misunderstanding the instruction, simply cast all the boxes with blank doors – oops!

 

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The mistake was eventually rectified and the later round Victorian pillar boxes from 1892-1901 again have the delicate VR intertwined, like the one I used for my A-Z Challenge

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Edward VII Rex (1901-1910)

This old pillar box on Leytonstone High Road clearly shows the EVIIR of Edward VII – it doesn’t seem to have been painted very often which actually helps – over the years lots of coats of thick paint tend to mean lost definition of the underlying design.

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George V Rex (1910-1936)

This lovely rotund example on Leytonstone High Road with its very solid GR (but no V, for some reason?) originally sold stamps, too.

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Edward VIII Rex (1936)

Although Edward VIII was never actually crowned – he abdicated the throne in order to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson after only 11 months as King – there are still some pillar boxes surviving with his insignia and I found this one just outside Wanstead tube station.

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George VI Rex (1936-1952)

Apparently George VI has an entwined GVIR in a cursive script – I’m imagining something that looks rather similar to that of Edward VII – but so far any locally-situated ‘curly George’ pillar boxes have eluded me… I’ll keep looking, though, and will report back with an update as and when I find one.

Elizabeth II Regina (1952-present)

This early EIIR box also has an oval-shaped sign-holder on top – not sure what the original sign would have said, though.

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So there we have it, a very short history of Royal Mail red pillar boxes courtesy of examples found locally in Leytonstone and Wanstead in East London (apart from the Scottish insignia, which was taken in Inverness).

And as all these Royal Ciphers are set into the pillar box doors, I thought they might make for a novel Thursday Doors post, too! 🙂