Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Historic Street Typography in Sedbergh

An old faded sign in Sedbergh Main Street shows what once said, ‘Licensed Betting Office’ and scratched over the top you can just make out ODANA. So what is Odana? Odana was a snack bar where The Haddock Paddock fish and chip shop is now. I am told that ODANA was an acronym for One Damned Adventure Now Another. The owners went on to run a takeaway restaurant of the same name in Northallerton and after it was sold new proprietors never changed the name, so there is still, in 2015, a takeaway in Northallerton called Odana.
You can just see ODANA etched into the wood.
picture courtesy Tony Hutt
Odana in Sedbergh when it was first opened, photo 1961 or 62.
picture courtesy Tony Hutt
By 1964 or 65 when this picture was taken, the brickwork had been rendered, as it still is. And in the window, was a dog, though possibly not always. Carol Proctor says, ‘used to go to the snack bar after Sedbergh dances each Saturday night, it was a bit like a youth club, all the youngsters used to meet there’.
I like hand-lettering and Odana Sedbergh in the 1960s is especially good fun.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Magical Mystery Message

I like hieroglyphs, especially when I don’t know what they mean. I suppose that if you need to know, then you will know. Magic symbols. Lends an air of mystery.

Street Typography in Sedbergh

My absolute favourite lettering is on the United Reformed Church in Sedbergh, which was built as the Congregational Church. The lettering style is Gothic and may have come direct from from Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament by Augustus Pugin (the Victorian Catholic architect who designed the Big Ben Clock Tower and the interior of the Houses of Parliament). The lettering shown in that book and reproduced on the blogger page Modern Medievalism. Very stylish though, for all its antiquity.
I love the upper-case H and N which are more now what we’d call lower-case in style. Never get away with it now, the ‘experts’ would argue with firm authority that it contravened Disability Discrimination checks.
Erected 1828 : Enlarged 1871
The stone is Blue Rag, the hard slate that was dug up from quarries nearby in the nineteenth century, many nineteenth-century grand buildings in Sedbergh are constructed from Blue Rag, with softer sandstone coping stones that I believe were quarried somewhere near Tebay, or was it Penrith?
At the other end of the United Reformed Church, some pleasing flowing twirly carving.
This end of the building will be a more recent construction, with those stones, which may just be facing-stones over a breezeblock wall.
At one time, there was a licensed betting office in Main Street. Nice narrow letter to get all the text on the block.
Suitable-coloured door. Though of course it may not have been that colour when it really was a betting office. Now it is the store for the grocery shop next door.
The red door in context.
Look up, and ponder the pride of 1826. But what was established in 1826? No longer do we know. The building was the NatWest Bank until 15 January 2015. I think it might have been the District Bank before that was taken over by NatWest. The upstairs floors are a flat, where it looks like someone may have had some trouble keeping warm.
John Herbert Upton of Ingmire, on the Anglican church wooden door. The Gothic lettering is similar to that on the Congregational Church but the upper-case H is different; more like a modern H.
There’s more! Of course there’s more, and as soon as I get round to photographing it, there’ll be a little less more than there was.