Tuesday 22 May 2012

Ghost signs (73): railway catering

This sign was photographed from a train leaving Waterloo Station. Looking for more information about it, I was interested to contrast the view from the rails with that obtained by Faded London at ground level on Lower Marsh. 

The sign is almost wholly visible from the train carriage, despite the intrusion of newer buildings. From the street, it is somewhat more obscured - but does have the advantage of sharper focus without motion blur! Nonetheless, I have been able to decipher most of the wording:

The Pioneer Catering Co Ltd
Luncheons & Dinners
? Prices

Opened in 1895, the Dover Castle was recorded by architectural photographers Bedford Lemere in 1896. Their images show rather elegant premises with a richly decorated Grill Room and panelled Billiard Room. Mirrors and lights gleam against dark walls throughout. 

Our ghost sign dates from at least several decades later. The mention of a catering company might suggest that this pub also offered outside catering, but in fact Pioneer were a pub-owning company who purchased the late-Victorian premises and modernised them in the 1920s. They still owned the Dover Castle in the 1940s, but some time after the 1950s it closed, and the building has fallen on rather hard times since then, after a spell as a language school. As for the company, they were wound up in 1968; there is surprisingly little information about them online, given that in the 1940s they owned many London pubs including the Half Moon in Holloway Road, the Britannia in Cable Street, the Bunch of Grapes on the Strand, the Duke of Gloucester on Oxford Street, and the nearby Anchor & Hope in The Cut. 


Sam Roberts (Ghostsigns) said...

I've never noticed that one but I do always spot the Streets cafe one on the way in, a relatively modern effort but very eye catching.

Sebastien Ardouin said...

This was one of several pubs across London built by Treadwell & Martin, who had a reputation for lavish interiors. The pictures taken shortly after it opened confirm this!
To avoid the motion blur, you just need to be stuck outside Waterloo. That happened to me not so long ago. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera. The picture I used for the <A href="http://paintedsignsandmosaics.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/old-dover-castle-waterloo.html>post</a> I wrote a couple of years ago was also taken from Lower Marsh Lane.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Thanks for this post and the link to the images of the building. Treadwell and Martin were interesting architects, who were typically of their time in their ability to mix up the styles, combining Baroque, Dutch renaissance, Art Nouveau - all sorts. There is a lovely distillery in Fetter Lane by them.

Market researcher. said...

I am currently researching the history, development and decline of the market in this area and have written an article on this building and as Sebastien says the interior was a lavish affair, I have put links to the original photographs on my blog.

There has been a public house called the Old Dover Castle since certainly 1869 as the Post Office Directory of that year shows an S Pond as the Landlord.

The building now standing is from the late 1890's.


dakotaboo said...

Great post. I was here at the weekend at street level but only managed an awkward photo of this because of the nearby, newer building. Thanks to this post I can now read the sign. I wonder if one of the missing words could be "Ales" just before "Stout". I can't actually see any lettering there, but "Fine Ales and Stout" was probably a common phrase at the time.