Tuesday, July 8, 2008

On the Waterfront

During my lunch break the other day I noticed this faded relic of a London of busy wharves and lightermen. It's painted onto the stonework of the northern end of London Bridge. There still are 'offices above', although the nearest boat these days is the London Regalia floating boozer. The sign's a long way above eye level - perhaps it was for the benefit of a crane driver? The modern London bridge was opened in 1973, although each end dates from the previous bridge that opened in 1831 - I suspect this nice bit of signwriting dates from the interwar period. It's not hard to imagine a desk-bound, pen-scratching clerk wincing every time a docker shouted to his mate or dropped a barrel, though I can't believe that this sign had the desired effect.

I've lost count of the times a tourist has asked me for directions to London bridge - I always ask them if they mean Tower Bridge (miming the road lifting with my arms) - and they always do.


A F-A said...

What a great find TIW! I come from a long line of Thames lightermen and watermen....if my cousins are anything to go by, this sign would have spurred them on to achieve even great volumes!

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

Good for them, AFA. Anyone going on a Thames cruise is left in no doubt that the crew are proud to be Watermen, and rightly so. No doubt when the clerk retired to Little-Groping-In-The-Marsh he complained about the church bells.