London Street Nameplates
All across this magnificent city of ours you can find a remarkable archive of lettering. A unique collection of styles and forms that stretches back to the 18th century. They hide in plain sight, these little labels – we use their information daily, but perhaps we fail to really notice them. And they aren’t just visual anchors, telling us where we are, but are temporal anchors too, telling us where we’ve come from.
For the past year, we’ve been gradually documenting these street signs, picking out the ones that are most significant, the most beautiful, the most curious. From enamel plates to incised lettering, from the simplest cast iron signs to the most ornamental architectural plaques. We’ve been ambling from borough to borough building up a visual record of this shaded corner of our collective history.
We’ve also the been digging and delving in various archives, libraries and collections, attempting to piece together the stories behind these generally unassuming treasures.
As a way of documenting our ongoing research, we’ve set up an Instagram feed at London Street Nameplates, each picture featuring a little bit of our research. Have a wander.
In the meantime though, here are a few favourites.
And if you happen to have any knowledge to share about these wonderful signs (or know someone who else who might), do drop us a line.