We've got a new favourite Instagram account, and it's full of delicious London geekiness.
Run by Alistair Hall, @londonstreetnameplates documents London's unusual (yep, you guessed it) street nameplates. Alistair said:
I’m documenting all different types of street nameplate. The ones from the old Metropolitan Boroughs are all rather wonderful, as are the ones from the postal districts that no longer exist. The older the sign, the rarer it is, so I’m trying to focus on those, but I’m also collecting examples of recent signs.
Alistair's ultimate plan is to publish a book about the signs. He's been using various libraries and archives to research as he goes along, and the Instagram account is a way of chronicling the research for the book.
Some of the signs featured on the account are very familiar:
Others are highly unusual (no sign? No problem - just carve the street name into the kerb):
And while many of them are archaically quaint, some are new additions to London's streets:
Westminster had some trouble with its apostrophes. This post shows how they fixed that in one instance. Interestingly, even though Westminster have copyrighted their nameplate design, many of their recent signs are set in the wrong typeface – they should be set in a bespoke alphabet designed for them by the design studio Design Research Unit in 1967, but a lot of their recent signs use Helvetica Condensed Bold. This is the sort of stuff that keeps graphic designers awake at night.
We won't lie — Alistair knows a lot more about London's street signs than we do. He's still learning though — he searches for the unusual signs online (Flickr, he tells us, has been invaluable), before doing a reccy on Google Street View to check the sign is still in situ. Only then does he go out and about with his camera, snapping away at the immortalised monikers.
If you've got photos of any unusual London street nameplates that Alistair hasn't collected yet, be a lamb and pop them over to him on email@example.com — he'll be very grateful.