29 Jan 2014
History Repeating: A Stunning Reveal on Bethnal Green Road
While creating this beautiful new signage for Casa Blue, Ash Bishop of The Brilliant Sign Co. alerted me to an astonishing discovery inside the premises of this newly converted bar. It is a fragment of some Victorian painted lettering, which Ash proposes dates from the 1880s or possibly 1890s. Check it out below or, even better, go and pay it a visit. It’s been kept by the owners, at least for the time being.
It is some coincidence that the new signage has echoes of this older text, despite being designed before its rediscovery. Here are some details of each, the old old and the new.
There is something of history repeated in this lettering juxtaposition, but that isn’t where the story ends. It turns out that the address of building which houses the older letters was for many years a pub: The Flower Pot at 120 Bethnal Green Road from at least 1800 until the early 1920s.
By the late 1920s it was a ladies outfitters in the name of Nathan Haltrecht & Sons, not unexpected given the area’s clothing trade history. In 2006 it was still a clothing outlet, then under the guise of Samjad.
With Casa Blue operating as a bar, and adding this building to their original premises at 228 Brick Lane, the site has now come full circle and returned to its usage of over 200 years previous.
I’ve been trying to work out what the full text would have said, the remaining letters are clearly ‘ES’ and ‘S’. It could be some brand or other of alcoholic beverage. Another possibility, and consistent with the visible letters, would be a more generic slogan such as ‘Beers, Wines & Spirits’ which were common in Victorian bars. However, it seems unusual to have Spirits in the biggest text. If you have any suggestions then please add these to the comments.
Thanks Ash for informing me of this amazing discovery. Here are a handful more photos of the old and the new to indulge in.