2 May 2014

F.C. Osborn and the Fading Fascias

Fading shop fascia for F.C.Osborn Bookseller

This beautiful shop fascia was recently revealed on Dalston Lane, Hackney, London, as part of renovations to the shop by a new tenant. (Thanks Bryce for tipping me off!). The following photos show some of the detail of this sign for F.C.Osborn, Bookseller, who occupied the premises from the mid-1920s to at least 1950. Prior to 1928 it was home of Alf Plummer in the related trade of ‘Newsagent’. By 1967 Osborn was gone.

Fading shop fascia for F.C.Osborn Bookseller
The sign is actually painted directly onto stone or concrete. The wood effect is achieved through a decorative approach known as ‘graining’.
Fading shop fascia for F.C.Osborn Bookseller
Some simple script lettering and scrolling on an angle with drop shadows. This part of the sign has been cleaned since its initial discovery.
Fading shop fascia for F.C.Osborn Bookseller
These numbers have been cleaned and show an odd array of 3D effects. Perhaps the book the signwriter was working from didn’t have numbers in it?

I’ve previously covered similar ‘reveals‘, most recently the D.Appell sign on Stamford Hill that was uncovered by the strong winds back in February. That one is now buried again, under a sign for the current occupants, Roti Stop. This is often the nature of these ‘fading fascias’, being visible for just weeks, or even days, at a time. I have only recently started to capture them in earnest and have gathered a small collection already (see a handful below). I think that this will become my next publishing venture so if you have any you’d like to contribute then please email me with photos.

Painted shop fascia for R.Sullivan
This has been visible for a few years now and the owners opted to keep it in situ during recent renovations.
Painted shop fascia for R.Lewis
This has been visible for a couple of months but is likely to be covered again by a sign for the flower shop now trading on these premises.
Painted shop fascia for J.H.Pepperell
A rare example right in the centre of London with decorated Tuscan lettering used just for the initials.
Painted shop fascia for E.Mono
One that’s here to stay thanks to the current kebab shop owners opting to build their brand around the sign they found. The paper used to wrap the kebabs is printed with a replica of the script lettering found on the shopfront.
Carved and painted (perhaps gilded) shop front for C.W.Toop
This carved lettering looks a bit rough round the edges. That is because it was once covered by painted, and perhaps gilded, glass which would have finished the design and sharpened all the edges. Fate to be determined…

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