Sunday, 13 March 2016

Ship shape

One would guess that the pub is named after HMS Royal Albert, which was launched from Woolwich Dockyard in 1854 – the same year that the Crystal Palace was relocated from Hyde Park to nearby Sydenham Hill. Associations with the Prince Consort were doubtless a good thing in the area at the time.


This particular sign takes as its visual inspiration* an engraving by J.W. Carmichael called Homeward Bound, which appeared in the London Illustrated News in 1857. It’s a nice illustration, but it can’t be the ship in question because it appears to have only two gun decks, whereas the Royal Albert had three. This, it would seem, was known to the anonymous sign painter, who accordingly introduced a third gun deck into his picture. If only all signs could be researched so thoroughly…

* Note: not merely copied/nicked – and yes Greene King, I’m looking at you.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Stand in the corner!

Despite its name – and the impression that might have been given by its previous signboard (see below) – this has always been a pub and has no association with the once-famous Lyons Corner Houses of London. It is so named simply because it is on a street corner. The present building stands on the site of a pub called the Butchers Arms, dating from around 1869, which was rebuilt and renamed sometime in the 1920s.

Although completely unrelated (close inspection reveals that it’s not even a corner house, just a Lyons tea shop), the image on the previous sign had some charm.

Then in late 2014 it fell foul of Greene King’s widespread ‘brand refresh’ and was replaced with this:

It didn’t take my Camra colleagues long to find the source: Gill’s Corner House, Dublin 356, by Irish artist Chris Mc Morrow. Yes, another ‘lifted from the Internet’ special from Bury St Edmund’s finest. Now it’s not unknown for pubs to have a picture of themselves on the signboard – but to have a picture of a completely different pub in a different country is a little odd, I’d say. Maybe they were hoping no one would recognise it. Ha!

Anyway. Note how the Guinness branding in the original has been blacked out in the sign: well, we can’t be seen to acknowledge the existence of any other breweries, can we, Greene King?

I’m sure all the appropriate formalities surrounding boring stuff like permission and copyright and fees and consent for the marring of original artwork were meticulously observed...