Here is one of my favourite old London street signs. It manages to be stern and yet discreet. In case you’re wondering, it means DO NOT URINATE AGAINST THIS WALL. This particular example is at the south end of Great Guildford Street in Southwark, and it’s repeated on an adjacent wall in Doyce Street. It must have been an especially smelly corner. So many pubs, so many men caught short as they staggered home.
The signs survive but the pubs are gone. The Yorkshire Grey, the Bears, a brown one and a white, the Salmon, the Catherine Wheel, the Rose and Ram, the Hat and Feathers, the Three Compasses and the Two Brewers, to name but a few. All demolished. I’m not much of a pub person, though both my grandmothers were barmaids, but there is still something poignant about a neighbourhood that has so comprehensively disappeared. In its place there are just enormous building sites erecting more unaffordable flats and more shiny offices that no-one will ever work in because we now have Zoom.
Now, back to playing God with Dan Talbot and his entourage.