Saturday, 22 May 2010

Old faded puzzle.

This is confusing me.  In Lewisham, opposite the clock tower, there's the old RACs building which stood next door to the now-disappeared department store Chiesmans.  From the dates engraved on the tower, as well as by the style of architecture, this building was there by 1933.
Now, if you look to the building immediately to the right, there's a faded blue wall poster.

What I don't understand is why is it there?  It's not legible from the road and you can't go between the two buildings.  This is about as much as you can see:

It's advertising a building society, the ????perance  Building Society.  (Temperance?)  and they had an address in Somewhere  Hill, EC4.  There's a very faded logo at the top and odd words that are still legible (???? your house).

Clearly, there's no point in putting up a sign where it can't be seen.  Two possibilities spring to mind.  First, that the advert preceded the Royal Arsenal Cooperative Society building.  But this would make the sign 80 years old.  Surely paint wouldn't have lasted that well.

Second possibility: the sign was put there deliberately to be seen by RACS customers as they went up and down the stairs, assuming that the stairwells to the upper sales floor ran down to that side of the building.   Something in the back of my mind tells me that this is the correct explanation.  However, the windows running along that side are small and none too plentiful.  Even if the stairs did run up that side of the building, no one would have got a good view. 

Does anybody know the answer?


Sam Roberts said...

80 years old would place it at 1930 which it easily possible, especially with the lead paints used back then and the protection from the weather offered up by the immediately adjacent building.

Here is one for Temperance Building Society, again with the vlue colour but this time with the bits showing that are missing from your discovery.

Some varied historical notes can be found on the first of these two photos on Flickr.

Marmoset said...

Thanks for your comments, Sam. At c80 years old it's in pretty good condition but, as you say, the RACS building next door would have sheltered it. Still, it's an awful long time to go unseen by nearly everyone.

The words ''..... HILL EC4'' are intriguing. I can only think of Ludgate Hill in EC4.

CarolineLD said...

I also wonder whether sometimes companies were just sold dodgy sites. On some signs you can see references to Boro, an agency which boasted of thousands, so perhaps some of them were cheap and not as visible as the advertiser might expect.

Sebastien Ardouin said...

You can find more about that sign and what is written on it at:

Anonymous said...

It is definately an advertisement for the Temperance Society. The building next to it was more than likely built later. The paint work has probabily been shelted from the weather.